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Sep 2005

Article selected from our quarterly magazine dedicated to the largest and most luxurious boats with information, interviews, technical articles, images and yachting news



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Article by
Fabio Petrone




Even though often very favourably referred to in sailing circles as one of the major world producers of stabilising systems for super yachts, Quantum is actually quite a young company. Quantum Marine Engineering was founded towards the end of the 1990s by John Allen, an Englishman who had emigrated to Florida. It was a small operation when compared with other leading producers of stabilisers for large boats. However, it very quickly caught the attention of both shipyards specialising in pleasure craft and owners, thanks to the effectiveness of its products and to after-sales service which proved to be exceptionally prompt and thorough.

Its commercial successes soon made it a leader in this market but Quantum - later renamed Quantum Stabilizers Inc. - has remained a relatively small group of managers and technical experts, including Theo Koop and engineers Peter Florence and Byron Stauffer, who are considered among the most qualified in the field of stabilisers, Hans Oomes, who designs and develops the electronic management for the stabilising systems, designer Lambert Dimmissen, and Mike Perkins, the company's dealer, very much involved in the world of super-yacht captains. These men developed the now famous "Zero Speed", the system which makes it possible to stabilise a boat not only when it is sailing but also when at anchor, and which very quickly became the undisputed best-seller in the range. Thanks to the kinetics of its specially shaped and sized fins, this apparatus, driven by a complex, instantaneously controlled hydraulic system provided with the necessary power by a sophisticated hardware/software package, effectively counteracts the acceleration generated by wave motion on the hull. As a result, roll is drastically reduced. In practice, the same appendices which, during navigation, exploit the lift created by the boat's speed, stabilise the boat when anchored. They autonomously satisfy the absence of the speed factor by means of varying vertical movements comparable to those of a moving wing. A very effective dampening action is thereby achieved. The key aspect of this system, however, is not so much the dynamic action of the fins but rather the way the system is controlled. In order for the movement of the fins to be most effective, it must not only be perfectly regulated with respect to range and power but must occur at a specific moment, synchronous with, and opposed to, wave motion. Otherwise, not only would there be a risk of the system not functioning effectively but, as can well be imagined, undesirable collateral effects could be generated which could even emphasise the roll the system is intended to counteract.

The Quantum catalogue also offers the system known as "OnAnchor", available to customers who have in the past have installed various Vosper apparatuses on their boats. "OnAnchor", thanks to the use of an advanced electronic-control system for the stabilisers ("Quantum Controls ARC") is able to upgrade the Vosper equipment, bringing it up to a level of effectiveness completely comparable to that of the "Zero Speed" system.

Using the latest technology and benefiting from specific and innovative know-how when it comes to stabilising systems, Quantum occupies a very strong market position but, as we mentioned earlier on, its great success also depends on the way it has organised its support and after-sales services. Given that very many, probably most, superyachts launched in recent years are equipped with Quantum systems and that many older boats are being refitted with these systems, the American company has developed efficient and extensive support service for all of these large boats. Not only do Quantum's own technical experts provide prompt support but the company has selected strategically located partners in particular geographic areas outside of the USA and has authorised them to provide customer support. Clearly, the partners chosen must have an efficient organisation, appropriate logistics and specialised personnel and, ideally, dry-dock facilities for large super yachts. Prompt response is also a key factor. As far as the Mediterranean area is concerned, Alfa Yacht Yard, based in Liguria near the Genoa Airport, is Quantum's representative. It has recently expanded its operations, acquiring a shipyard in the port of Varazze. The facilities there include two large sheds allocated to both its technical assistance and refits of large boats, which are manoeuvred with a 320-ton travel lift.

For further information, contact Alfa Yacht Yard: Via Cibrario 1, 16145 Genova Sestri Ponente - Tel.: +39 010 6511384 - Fax: +39 010 6512780 - e-mail: