Next Month Larry Leonard will be writing the ever popular “Ask Ullman” column here at SA. Send in your questions for the long time sailing great and sailmaking authority – anything about sails, sail trim and design, materials, boat handling, tactics, industry news, you name it. Leave no stone unturned. In most cases, we’re probably all interested – Send ‘em to the Editor here.
It is confirmed that Larry Leonard, founder of Quantum Sails, will be joining Ullman Sails International under the title Manager of New Business and Product Development. From the sound of that title Larry will be doing big things, as he always has. Larry, the America’s Cup sailor who helped grow Quantum from nothing to be one of the largest sailmakers in the world, can undoubtedly bring a lot to the table for the already powerful team at Ullman Sails.
With the added firepower for the quickly growing Ullman Sails group we’re excited to see what comes next. Larry sat down and answered a few questions about the industry and what’s to come. The Ullman Sails group recently met in Cape Town for an international group meeting.
Q: What are some of the trends your group sees in the sailing industry in 2015?
A: Most customers are extremely focused on cost. The result is lower participation in sailing events and a shift into one-design sailing. A good example is the growth of the J/70 class. Many sailors are
downsizing in an effort to control costs. On the other end of the spectrum however, we’re seeing a huge growth in the number of boats over 70ft.
Q: Your title includes “Product Development”, what’s next for Ullman Sails in terms of new products and technology?
A: We’re looking at ways to combine different fibers and construction techniques to get more durability at a lower cost. It has been great to discuss ideas with Dave (Ullman), Jannie (Reuvers) and others to see how we can create something new. The group is very proactive about staying on top of the latest technology, from working with cloth manufacturers to their launch of the Phantom Series back in
Q: What is it critical for a sailmaker to do in today’s economy to succeed?
A: To be successful, a loft must do everything possible to control their costs. Sails must be fairly priced and durable. Sail service must be emphasized, helping to create value while extending the performance life of a sail.