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Take Your Rating Optimization to the Next Level

Your rating is key to your race strategy, whether you are an experienced distance racer or about to tackle your first season in a handicap fleet. Many factors go into your boat’s rating, and with the help of Quantum experts, you can optimize yours to put you in the most competitive position before you even cross the starting line.

Quantum has a vast worldwide network of sailors, designers, and engineers who can help you navigate getting a new rating certificate or evaluate current ones. Along with reviewing your existing sail plan and boat, they will work with you to understand your type of sailing, goals, and budget to help optimize new sail purchases or current sail inventories–no matter who made them–using a range of advanced software, rich data, and their wealth of experience. 

We can start with simple optimizations by bringing your sails to one of our lofts with certified sail measurers on staff to remeasure your sails and update your certificate for the coming season. Sails typically shrink over time, and getting the correct adjustments can help improve ratings.

Suppose your aim for the season is a particular regatta or offshore race. In that case, our team members can utilize their vast knowledge and data analytics to help optimize your boat, current sail inventory, or new sail purchases. Whether you’re looking for expertise across the board or only a few elements of your racing optimization, our team can customize support to your program or budget. Here are a few factors to take into account:

LOOK BEYOND THE SAILS

While your sail inventory is a key factor in racing and ratings, there are more pieces of the puzzle to consider.  Quantum Barcelona’s Carlos Rodríguez has more than 25 years of experience in racing optimization, first with IMS certificates and, most recently, ORC. Rodríguez evaluates the above factors within divisions, rating rules, and considering the competition. His advice: look at rig setup, tune, and dimensions, displacement, crew weight, RMC, if you sail in certain conditions frequently, and the type of racing you’re doing (distance, near-shore, around the buoys, etc.)

“It is mostly about optimizing the full configuration and rating for specific races or conditions or strengths of the boat, and the bottom line is to give the team a sounding board, actionable counsel, and confidence,” adds Anson Mulder, a Sail and Design Consultant for Quantum. 

LEAN INTO TECHNOLOGY

Quantum expert and Grand Prix sail designer Mario Trindade advises customers to utilize as much technology as available when adjusting for rating optimization — and there is a lot. Trindade and our team are well-versed in the ORC VPP tool for projects, drawing on data and tests to create models with different solutions unique to each class, boat, and customer. “This ensures I’m updated on the technological changes and trends of the rules year by year and can pass this on to the rest of the Quantum team,” he says. 

Joan Subirats at our Annapolis Loft, along with the rest of our team globally, leverages our iQ technology to validate the geometries of new sail designs and recuts and evaluate the thrust and forces generated. Evaluating sail shape, fiber mapping, aerodynamics, lamination, and more through computerized 3D modeling allows for optimization even before our sailmakers get to work. 

BALANCE RISK VS. REWARD

When making any changes, it's vital to review the ideal setup for a given event or class and balance the give and take. Looking at historical models and other data, there are opportunities to evaluate alternatives to minimize risk or maximize reward.

“I have a couple of pretty straightforward spreadsheets that show the predicted differences in raw boat speed and the differences in rating,” says Mulder. “From there, we look at best and worst-case scenarios, like how much time is lost if the sail never gets flown — worst-case scenario — or how much corrected time is gained if the sail is used for a large portion of the race.”  

LEVERAGE THE DATA

Beyond modeling, teams and our experts have abundant data available to inform decision-making when optimizing for a particular rating certification. “We can create great-looking crossover charts and “heat map” crossover charts showing the proposed sail inventory overlaid on top of the hot spots generated by the historical study,” says Mulder. “For example, the A2 bubble is a hot spot on Transpac.”

Leveraging these charts, plus historical data for the design, the conditions, or the route, there are essentially unlimited opportunities to run trials for everything from mainsail headboard size to changes in the fore and aft flotation. “We can complement this with a 10-year/200-route historical study to quantify how often the optimization will likely be successful or how often the proposed sail will likely be used,” says Mulder. 

DON’T UNDERESTIMATE SMALL CHANGES

As mentioned before, sails shrink over time, and if your rating doesn’t accurately reflect your sail measurements, you could be leaving time on the race course. Even if you’re not making major changes to your program, reviewing your certificate each season can make a difference. 

Additionally, there are often small adjustments to your inventory that the team can discuss with you. You may not need all new sails, but adding the right sail might be just the ticket to the podium. Technology has come a long way in the past decade, and some of your specialty sails that may not be used as often, like a code zero, may be in good physical shape but in desperate need of a design update. Similarly, Quantum distance-racing customers have been having success with our new tight-reaching staysail designs. With some rules allowing more staysails to be carried, a sail like this could be a great addition to your arsenal. 

With newer rating systems like ORC becoming more prevalent, do yourself a favor by staying on top of your racing schedule so you won’t be caught without a certificate or in a pinch. And remember, you should have your rating reviewed every January or whenever you update your sail inventory. 

Quantum's global team stands ready to assess existing rating certificates and offer insights to enhance new sail acquisitions or current sail inventories. Whether you seek comprehensive expertise or targeted support for specific aspects of your racing optimization, our team can tailor our services to accommodate your program or budget. Reach out to your local loft or Quantum expert to get started.

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