Thursday, May 4, 2017

PWA and Some Thoughts on High Performance Sails



I was waiting for the PWA racing to start in Korea today but the wind has fallen on its ass.  Looking ahead on WindGuru, the rest of the event doesn’t look that great either but they will certainly get some racing in.
Today sees a light on-shore wind which would be perfect for foils.  They really need to bring this discipline into the mix and run the races at the slalom venues.  If they did this, light days would cease being a complete waste of everyone’s time. 
Anyway – I’m really looking forward to watching some of the young slalom guys come through this season. We already have Matteo and Pierre at the front (both 27 years of age) and I think guys like Jordy Vonk, Tristan Algret and Basti Kordel are going to start walking over some of the old guard.
Everyone seems to have ramped up their training over the winter so we could be in for some upsets.

Current High Performance Sails

Here are some thoughts on performance sails.  I exclude pure race models because unless you are an actual racer, these machines are simply too intense for most of us (difficult rotation, titanic downhaul tensions, merciless stresses on body and soul of the rider, heavy weights, finicky rigging …etc).  I also acknowledge that there may be excellent sails not included on this list.  Having said this, if I were in the market for a high performance sail right now, these are the models at the top of my list.

The first 4 sails in the group are what I would rate as more performance oriented:

Avanti Tempest

This sail replaces the old Condor and they have really applied their minds to creating a great  mix  of lightness, speed and easy control.

Just look at the set of the thing. Very cool.

A 7.0m Tempest weighs 5.0kg and rigs on a 430 SDM mast.

Severne Overdrive

This sail, like most of Severne’s stuff, is a fantastic piece of kit – light, fast and highly recommended in most reviews.

A 7.0 m Overdrive weighs 4.9kg and rigs on a 430 SDM or RDM mast (very nice).


Sailworks NX

This machine has been around forever and has been steadily tweaked and improved over its lifetime. A good racer with proper board and fin can win on an NX against any sail on the market. The sail has 7 battens and 4 cams making it slightly old-school but bear in mind – old school can sometimes kick ass.  Big time!  Believe me!

A 7.0 NX weighs 5.2kg and sets on a 430 RDM mast.

Ka Koncept

The Ka has also been around for a long time and like the NX, its winning attributes have been tweaked and refined over time. I owned a Koncept 6.6m in the past and it remains one of the fastest, easiest, nicest sails ever.

KA does not furnish weights on their site. A 7.0m Koncept rigs on a 430 SDM or RDM mast.

The next 2 sails are all slightly more free-ride oriented so maybe not quite as fast as the above models, but a whole lot more fun:

North S-Type

This sail actually sits on the cusp of both camps. You can rig it with 3 cams for more performance or with 2 for more fun. I have heard people say that the S-Type is just too free-ride to consider for serious slalom blasting but I don’t agree. If you have a chance, take one for a spin. You (and the people sailing with you) may be surprised by the high speeds you are able to access so easily.

A 7.3m S-Type weighs 5.2kg and rigs on a 460 SDM mast.

Simmer 2XC

This is probably a wild card having only 6 battens/2cams but I am convinced that rigged on a light, high carbon RDM mast and light carbon boom it is going to deliver massive amounts of speed and enjoyment. Don’t be frightened to downhaul this beast!

A 7.1m 2XC rigs on a 430 RDM mast.

Other performance sails worthy of consideration include Ezzy’s Lion, Sailloft Hamburg’s Mission, RRD’s Firewing and even Severne’s Turbo_GT.

OK that’s all for now. I will speak to you once we have had some racing in Korea.


  1. I've always been a fan of Severna Sails, and have no doubt that the new Overdrive is a sublime sail.

    But what in particular attracted my attention is the North S-Type SL. As far as I can see a 460 mast can be used the 6.6, 7.2, 7.8 and 8.2. This flexibility renders the SL an economically luring proposition for at least, for these sizes since many brands which I have reviewed tend to allow for only one size of sail for a 460, sometimes two.

    The less masts I have to buy, the more money I save for other components...Not to mention the carrying load would also be reduced, even if slightly. :)

    1. Hi Mert

      You are absolutely right. More and more I find myself looking for versatile equipment (able to multi-task) and our sails need to come to the party.

      If you only need to buy one mast then you are able to buy from the top of the range and still save money.

      Your comment regarding easier loading and storage is really valid too.
      We each need to be buying a few well chosen items (fins, booms, sails, masts and boards) which work well together to meet all of our needs. Bargain