Quantum's Own Salty Dawg, Andrew Waters

Andrew Waters has done it all on the water — from a charter captain to sailing instructor, operations manager, and marine surveyor, all while competing in various regattas around the globe. Today, Waters is a part of the Quantum Sails team in Annapolis, Maryland. "I had been a customer of Quantum for many years, and I've always liked the vibe from the people associated with the group," he says. "My customers can expect honest dedication in helping them find the best Quantum product for their needs, as well as the service they deserve as they navigate their own sailing adventure." As Salty Dawg's official and very own Quantum contact, Waters will be an excellent resource for cruisers as they set sail this season. Learn a little more about him in our conversation below:

Quantum: What is your earliest sailing memory?

AW: When I was 7 years old, I had a friend who grew up in Kuwait. His family were all sailors and members of a beach resort where they had access to a few boats, including a 420. My friend and I took this out and capsized it pretty quickly. We got it back upright and had a lot of fun. I came back home and told my dad all about it. It turned out that, unbeknownst to me, he was a sailor in the past and had done most of his sailing in the North Sea! My first experience sailing ended up getting my dad back into it. He purchased a Hunter 19, called Petunia, and sailing became something we did as a family. Eventually, we would even race as a family after obtaining a larger boat, a UFO-34 called Red Viking. That was how I learned to sail. By the time I was a teenager, I was running the bow. 

Quantum: What is your background in sailing?

AW: I moved to South Africa for University and worked with a local sailing school. I found that I spent more time at that job than I did studying. By the time I was 21, I had made the decision to focus on sailing. I became a senior instructor during my time at the school and gained a Yacht Master Ocean Instructor certificate. I began crossing and cruising all over the Indian Ocean, teaching and making trips to Madagascar, Mozambique, and various other places. 

From South Africa, I was asked to deliver a 45-foot catamaran out to the Caribbean, where I was asked to operate it as a private charter boat. This was the start of a 20-year chapter as a professional captain of a private boat. This led to being a partner in one of the largest charter companies in the British Virgin Islands. During this, I continued racing various boats and even served a stint as a qualified Marine Surveyor. 

Quantum: What is your role at Quantum?

AW: In 2016, I joined Quantum as a Sail and Service Consultant in Annapolis, Maryland. I built up a portfolio and clientele both nationally and internationally. It has been a wonderful experience to be on the sailmaking side of sailing with Quantum. Throughout my career, I have done a lot of cruising, racing, and deliveries across oceans. My lifetime of sailing experience has given me abundant knowledge to provide to Quantum customers. I can understand the unique needs of an interested buyer and steer them toward the right Quantum sail for their specific purpose. 

Quantum: What is something you wish cruisers would ask you more often?

AW: My answer to this is less a specific question, and more a frame of mind for cruisers to keep. When I speak to potential customers, I always try to help people find the right questions to give the right advice. Cruisers need to know and communicate their specific goals and the type of sailing they plan to do with a Quantum sail to succeed. Are they cruising or racing? Where are they located? Is it blue water or more coastal? What is the general length of each trip they take? 

Additionally, I always want to communicate to the sailor that the initial purchase of the sail is not the only expense to consider when determining a budget. I love it when a buyer asks, "What sails could I purchase that would provide me the best value for what I want to do with my boat?" At the end of the day, the sails are the boat's engine, and you need to be able to rely on them. If you are a weekend sailor who does not venture far offshore, you do not need the highest-end and best-performing sails. On the other hand, a blue water sailor logging many miles with little opportunity for professional maintenance should consider working that into their budget. Having a budget is fine! It is just better to invest in the right sail for you than to end up in a jam with high maintenance bills down the line. 

Quantum: What is a key sail to have in your inventory as a cruiser?

AW: Every boat has an inventory of a mainsail and a headsail of some description. Beyond your chosen main and headsail combination, a sail that is easy to operate, lightweight, and has good reaching and downwind capabilities is the next key sail for a cruiser to have. A Code 0 is a forward-reaching sail that is quite big and full in its shape. You could use this as a pseudo-downwind sail and a performance enhancer for reaching and downwind. Another option is an Asymmetric Spinnaker, which really enhances the downwind performance.

Quantum: What is one or two key thing(s) (other than a sail) you always have onboard your cruising boat?

AW: A really good coffee maker! Having a nice cup of coffee at two in the morning can boost morale. From a gear perspective, Starlink is a game changer in terms of connecting with the world while on a particularly long trip that takes you beyond cellular service. I did a Trans-Atlantic race on a boat outfitted with Starlink, where I was able to do my job with Quantum selling sails in the middle of the Atlantic. Having up-to-date weather forecasts available is also a great benefit to safety.

Quantum: What is your dream cruising destination?

AW: I have been extremely fortunate to sail in many beautiful places. A few honorable mentions would be the Mediterranean, which I would love to explore more, and the West Coast of Scotland, where I have fond memories of cruising with my family as a young boy. But I think some of my fondest memories are from my time cruising in the Indian Ocean, visiting many remote and pristine places, including Madagascar, the Seychelles, the Comoros Islands, and more. Some incredibly special places in that part of the world are still very uncommercialized.

Feeling inspired? Join a Salty Dawg Rally this season, or touch base with Andrew Waters for his expertise. 


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