[Source: Quantum Racing] America’s Cup winner and world champion helmsman Ed Baird has joined the Quantum Racing team as helmsman for the 2011 season. Baird assumes the position following the decision by Terry Hutchinson, helmsman since 2008, to compete in the 34th America’s Cup.
Ed Reynolds, President of Quantum Sail Design Group and Managing Director for Quantum Racing, says Baird’s expertise as both a sailor and coach make him a great fit for the team, which clinched the TP52 World Champion- ship title earlier this month. “Ed is an 11-time world champion, has sailed with many of the guys on our team and is very much committed to our program, which is as much about product development as it is winning races. Ed’s accomplishments both on and off the water are impressive and his analytical approach to sailing is a real asset. We’re very excited to bring him on board and will value his expertise as we work to put a new boat, rig and sails on the water.”
Reynolds adds, “We wish Terry all the best as he prepares for the America’s Cup. He’s done an excellent job for us and we’re grateful for his sailing leadership and contributions to our test team program. This is not unexpected, as we’ve been aware of Terry’s aspirations to one day join an AC campaign. We’ve had a great run with Terry at the helm and fully expect his participation in the America’s Cup to be just as successful.”
Baird joins Quantum Racing with an appreciation for its accomplishments and purpose. “Terry Hutchinson has done a great job with this team. He’s had a lot to do with the personnel and process of developing the equipment and the product. I see my role as continuing to lead the team at a high level. The team has an impressive history from which to move forward. Our focus is on continuing to look for ways to improve and advancing the process of making fast sails and putting them together with fast boats, fast rigs and great people. I’ll be in the middle of all this and I’m excited about the opportunity.”
Baird has racing experience in nearly every type of boat including TP52s when they were a new class. Baird was the winning helmsman of America’s Cup 32 aboard Alinghi, the 2007 ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year, and was part of the 1995 America’s Cup winning team, Team New Zealand. Baird has raced in the Whitbread Round-the-World Race, is a three-time Match Racing World Champion and the only American ever to reach #1 on the ISAF World Match Racing rankings. Baird also has extensive Grand Prix and Olympic racing experience and numerous World, International and North American one-design championships to his credit.
In the coming months, Baird will be involved in the process to put a new boat on the water for the 2011 Audi MedCup Circuit. “We have plenty to plan and organize, and before you know it the boat will be built and ready for launch!”
Quantum Racing serves as a test platform to evaluate and validate Quantum’s iQ® Technology process for sail development and the company’s Fusion M® sails. It is winner of the 2010 and 2008 TP52 World Championships and runner-up in the 2010 Audi MedCup Circuit.