There is no doubt about it, the Quant 23 is the dinghy that has been the most talked about in recent months..Indeed, the design marks a turning point: now that foil-equipped flying boats are a reality, a new challenge has opened up, and it is not about achieving the highest speed.
The future is called “easy flying”: until now, hulls designed to sail lifted out of the water have required great athleticism and more than ready reflexes to prevent scuffing and gagging. Think of the Moths, the GC32 and Flying Phantom catamarans, or the more recent Gunboat G4, the 40-foot cat described by the shipyard as “cruising” but which ultimately demonstrated all its limitations in ease of handling with a spectacular capsize at Les Voiles De St. Barth. They are not boats for everyone, the extreme physicality being a limitation to their wide dissemination. Now, with Quant 23, the story changes.
FOILS ON A HUMAN SCALE
Through a collaboration with the Dynamic Stability System (DSS)., the Swiss, after the Quant 28 and 30, two “sport boats” that already took advantage of the DSS system, embarked on the creation (which actually took place in Cowes, at Paul Jennings’ Projects by Design shipyard) of the first full foiling boat equipped with a ballasted drift blade, easy to handle and therefore “open to everyone.” The look is anything but futuristic (a big difference from, for example, the Quant 30, which features a decidedly sportier-looking hull), somewhere between an old American scow and a Fireball, with very pronounced edges and a humped bow.
It’s all about stability and simplicity, then: the width of the hull (1.90 m) and the very low freeboard mean that the crew can go out to the straps as on a very normal dinghy, without having to resort to wings or terraces. The bow is self-bearing. The price, for now, is still that of a “prototype,” certainly not cheap: we are talking about 60-65 thousand euros excluding VAT, without sails.
QUANT 23 FLIES LIKE THIS
Designer Hugh Welbourn, in collaboration with Gordon Kay, has spent ten years studying and developing the DSS, the system that uses two retractable appendages placed laterally in the middle of the hull and whose function is to increase the stability of the boat and thus its speed. The latest versions of the DSS not only serve to increase righting moment, but also generate a vertical upward hydrodynamic force (lift) that, in combination with a “T” foil rudder blade (like those on Moths or AC45s), allows the Quant 23 to sail lifted out of the water.
The goal was not to create the fastest foiler in the world, but an easy-to-handle hull capable of holding itself stably in the air. The boat does 90% of the work. Part of the secret lies in the inherent stability of the new DSS foils, which is greater than that provided by the “traditional” inverted-T configuration. When sailing, you will not have to intervene on the foils: you can at most vary their inclination by 5°.
According to Welbourn, with the section, proportions and length of the foil the boat “takes off” faster rather than achieving a higher final speed (this would require smaller foils with a less powerful section). At 10 knots, upwind, the 23-footer already soars, eventually reaching 25 knots. A real spectacle.