Wednesday, August 8, 2012

The 7.8m Decision

In the last post I mentioned that Jeremy was deciding what to replace his 7.5m Gaastra GTX with.  Jeremy is a good sailor who enjoys going fast but is not interested in "balls-to-the-wall" dicing.  He wants his equipment to deliver fun rather than terror.  I on the other hand feel that a bit of terror now and again teaches you to handle overpowered conditions and makes you a better sailor.  Two of our power sailors, Andy and Harry, live in what for me, is the terror zone.  They have developed the skill and power to be able to handle these conditions which is why they are almost impossible to keep up with.

The above comments demonstrate some typical differences between a sample of windsurfers and these differences need to be considered when deciding upon a sail.  Before you run out and buy something, you need to decide exactly what you expect from the equipment.  If you expect ease of use and the ability to cruise in flat 7.5m conditions you will need one type of sail.  If you want to tear the water up with your 7.5 in overpowered conditions you are going to need something different.  Thankfully most of the good sail brands supply sails to meet all of our respective requirements.  My approach is to define 4 categories:

  • Cammed performance
  • Cammed soft
  • Camless performance
  • Camless soft  

You will first decide whether you want a cammed or a camless sail.  Then decide whether you want something comfortable and fun or whether you need something a bit harder which will get you away from the start a bit quicker and allow you to plane quicker out of the gybes.  Remember, the harder the sail, the harder it is going to work your body.  A harder sail is harder to sail.

The type of sail you will need if you are keen to maximize speed is the Gaastra Phantom 7.8m, the North Ram 7.8m and Severne's Overdrive 7.5m.  These are all great sails and if rigged properly and married with the right board/fin combo, will enable you to frighten sailors on pure race sails.  They will all allow you to sail well into heavy wind and remain in control.  They are all a little too heavy for my liking but if you are strong and athletic then this will not be an issue for you.  

If you are set on cams but need a softer experience, you should be considering Severne's 7.5m Turbo, North's 7.8m SType and Ezzy's Lion 7.5m.  These are all much softer but are still fast, light and a joy to use.

The camless performance sails to consider will include Gaastra's Savage 7.8, Severne's NCX 7.5, Pryde's Hellcat 7.7, and the Sailworks Retro 7.5.  These can all smoke when rigged properly and will keep up with the hardest of race sails on most sailing angles.

Camless soft sails to consider will be Gaastra's Matrix 7.5, Severne's Gator 7.5, North's XType 7.8, Ezzy's Cheetah 7.5 and the Loft Oxygen 7.4m.  All of these sails will be really nice to use and you will find that when you push them into strong winds, you will almost certainly go faster than you ever thought possible on a big sail.  They are also light, easy to rig, not particularly mast specific and as an extra bonus, are easy to store in a rigged but de-tensioned state.  Most of these sails will switch easily from a slalom to a freeride board (from your 71 Manta to your 115 Rocket Limited for instance).

Jeremy chose the Matrix 7.5m - a perfect solution for his particular requirements.

In closing, I note that Gaastra has put its 2013 wave sails on its website.  Nice looking sails, great graphics!

Talk to you soon        


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