This weekend I traveled down to Saarbrücken to go and meet the Gun Sails team for the annual meeting, but most importantly to have a little get together with everyone involved behind the scenes, from the the early days all the way up to now. The party was simply awesome, when you think of Gun Sails existing for 30 years now then you understand how unique the concept of direct sales where back then and the complications it brought with them that all where overcome.
There was no internet, web sites or even any sign of it. Yet they did it, you could order via Fax, Mail or Telephone and the package would be shipped out to you at a price only possible with their direct selling system. With a great benefit for the customer looking for the best price vs quality product, as the brand was ordering factory direct and selling directly to the end consumer.
What surprised me the most was what I learned during the 30th anniversary is that Gun Sails was not only pushing the limits on the way there where selling the product. They where more so pushing the limits on the water and is a company found on new idea’s and ideals.
They where not just producing and selling sails, they where also pushing innovation and trying things that even today are still far out of the box, advancements that some of the speed enthusiast between can only dream of.
One of the things that caught my attention was the sail that has a part Solid wing leading edge, attached to a soft wing (normal sail) in the back. Much like what is being used now on the America’s cup boats. Obviously on the Americas Cup it’s applied with all advancements we have seen in materials, engineering and analyses that have been developed over the last 30 years. But the principle and concept remain the same just like the goal, optimum performance. The cool thing about being at this meeting is that I got to meet and talk to the guy who build the laminated pieces to be able to bring this idea to life and later-on to the water. The cool thing for me was to see that Gun Sails did a lot of testing and manufacturing in Holland using Dutch riders.
Later on Gun Sails became known for various speed records and speed world tittles, in the day with Roddy Lewis, Jochen Kraut and many others who had plenty of success with Gun Sails during their speed runs.
So all in all an eye opener for me, how Gun Sails was not just found to give you the best product for the best price, but actually was found on a set of ideals to create something new, to bring innovation and to push the limits.