Today my journey into the wonderful world of sailboats has taken me into the most important of subjectswhen it comes to catching the perfect wind – sails. I’m meeting with Juan Jose Merayo at the lovely cafe in Club de Mar. Work is going on all around us, which is wonderful to see in these tricky times, as he finds a small window in his increasingly busy schedule to meet me. It means the marine business is aliveand well, in fact, it seems to be thriving.
Juan actually confirms this as he tells me how they have been absolutely flat out, before, during, and after the initial COVID period. In fact, they only shut down for the two-week economic lockdown, as it was mandated and it also gave them time to take stock. But as soon as they were able to open up the team of seven were straight back at the coal face, fulfilling client’s orders, repairing damaged sails, and carefully storing away over 500 boats’ much loved and used sails and lines.
Juan is a wonderful character and clearly a very astute businessman. Originally from Buenos Aires, he has been in the sailmaking business since 1974. Towards the end of the conversation, he asks me how old I think he is. Needless to say I was completely and utterly wrong, in the best of ways. As for his actual age, he told me, but if I print it I could be in all sorts of trouble. I’m an honest believer that age is but a number and this is never truer than in Juan. Sails, yachting and everything to do with the sea is in his blood. It’s his passion and his lifeline and I think he would, and does, run rings around younger sailors out there at the moment. One of the first things he told me was that you cannot be a sailmaker without being a sailor. It’s imperative that you know how the wind (or sometimes lack of) reacts with the different materials of the sails in order to create the best possible sail for the boat in mind. To keep the Captain and Boss happy.
Quantum sails clearly feel the same way about the size of boats as I do age. They are able to design, maintain, store and repair sails and ropes for any sized boat. The key message, regardless of size, Juan explains is that sails need regular attention, whether it’s restitching the UV genoa cover that has been cooked by the sun, repairing the mainsail batten pocket chafe, or correcting an unfortunate encounter with a fixed object. In fact, they can look after anything sail related that is in need of improvement.
Quantum Palma’s experienced sailmakers identify common sail problems on a daily basis before they turn into expensive and inconvenient disasters. Like with most things on a boat, they recommend regular inspection at least once a year. They then evaluate each job by examining the extent of the damage, the anticipated lifespan of the sail, and the future plans of the sailor, in order to make the most appropriate service recommendations and estimates before proceeding.
Quantum Palma also produces highly customised sails for cruise, racing and superyacht sailors who demand the best. They design and build ”in house” any type or size of high quality sail. And the advantage of them being in Palma is that, from measuring to fitting the sail, the whole work is overseen by the same sailmakers.
Juan is keen to point out that in recent years the sailmaking industry has seen bigger and bigger yachts push technology to the limits in order to create superyachts that sail as responsively and rapidly as their smaller race-bred cousins. Sailmaking has taken giant leaps in order to create sails that power this new generation of super racer-cruisers in a way that satisfies owners looking for peak performance.
Quantum Fusion’s M® membrane sails provide a more stable foil profile, resulting in better light wind performance and acceleration, with improved shape retention as the wind increases. Fusion M® sails are made using the most technically advanced design, lamination and shaping methods in the industry. Known as iQ Technology®, their integrated and proprietary processes result in sail shapes that are fast, efficient and infinitely repeatable, a feat no other sailmaker can match. Obviously the larger the sail, the heavier it gets, so a primary consideration for super yachts is the sailcloth.
A Fusion M® sail is approximately 15-20 percent lighter than an equivalent conventional panel sail, with greatly improved stretch resistance and shape retention. Headboards and fittings have undergone some serious rethinking as well, with newly available shapes and materials offering improved strength, lightness and durability. Quantum have clearly been thinking ahead and future-proofing!
It’s at this point that we move onto the Loft. The place where the magic happens. The place that Juan calls home and would work in until the end of his days, of which there are clearly many more to be lived. The 1,200 sqm. loft is fully equipped, with massive XL sewing machines, experienced sailmakers, and a large sail washing and storage facility. Also on site is Quantum’s sail design software, a plotter cutter, and an “in house” production team ready to service your every need. They also offer pick-up and delivery to big boats and all types of yachts in all of the ports of Mallorca and Ibiza.
To back up Juan’s mantra that you cannot be a sailmaker unless you are a race sailor he tells me about the seemingly crazy race that he has competed in at least eight times, the Buenos to Rio de Janeiro race. One that even Ted Turner, sailor extraordinaire, thought was a tad on the mental front. Apparently going down is easy, but up is a different story. Only coming to boats at aged 12, his grandson is now avidly enjoying his grandfather’s passion, and his Optimist, as often as possible. Juan laments the fact that Spanish yacht clubs don’t have quite the same community as those found around the world, however, he is as an avid sailing enthusiast as ever, having raced with our very own Editor Simon back in 2003.
Unfortunately the current period means that none of us know when the next race will be, but if I know only one thing, it’s that Juan and his family of sailmakers will be chomping at the bit to get involved on either a personal or professional basis.
Quantum Sails is passionate about creating, designing, maintaining and repairing sails. So if you are looking for a one-stop sail shop with a personal family feel then look no further!
By Victoria Pearce
Son Fosquet 10, Polígono Son Noguera, 07620 Llucmajor , Mallorca.