2013 ALL-ROUND 4.7 WAVESAILS
It’s the cornerstone of nearly every wavesailor’s quiver and nearly every wave and freestyle sailor’s favourite size sail. With the strong equinox winds fast approaching it’s time to delve into our findings on the latest offerings on the market for 4.7 all-round wavesails!
Report by Dan Newman Pics by Julia Toms
(This review originally appeared in the October 2012 issue of Windsurf Magazine. Print and digital subscriptions for readers worldwide are available HERE.)
Last time we had a range of specifically ‘compact’, four-batten (4.2 – 4.5) sails on test – sails often designed specifically for multi-finned boards. Now we focus more on more all-round performers capable of powering all manner of fin combinations and outlines.
The sails in this category are typically five-battened and also more conventional in shape, with a medium to high aspect outline, but there are also some four-batten sails that also offer good versatile performance in the mix as well.
The lines are blurring in this respect right now with several more compact 5-batten sails available as well as some higher aspect 4-battens – plus you’ll even notice a 3-batten, (yes, three) in this category below – read on!
The term all-rounder implies a sail capable of delivering in everything from on-shore waves to bump & jump and cross-shore down the line setups. They also need the wind range to cope with a variety of wind strengths.
These are the sails you can take anywhere and be confident using whatever the conditions and whatever’s under your feet. The market landscape is changing however so don’t be surprised if soon the only differences in sail use we see are between softer, pure down-the-line sails and wider use all-round sails – regardless of aspect ratio (relation of luff length to boom width) or batten count.
We’ve got our hands on eleven brand-new, fresh-from-the-loft, 2013 sails. In this test we have the Gaastra Manic, Goya Guru, Naish Chopper, NeilPryde Combat, North Volt, Point7 Swag, RRD Four, Severne Blade, Simmer Icon, Tushingham Rock and Vandal Enemy.
All of the sails were rigged on the highest quality masts each manufacturer produces and we also followed the recommended size/flex for all rigs. All of the masts used on this test were RDM’s (Reduce Diameter Masts).
When choosing the mast to go with your sail, purely in terms of performance, and often durability too, it’s always best to follow the manufacturer’s recommendations and pick the highest carbon content available.
Sure, this is the more expensive option, but you should look at it as part of the purchase price of your new sail – which if you want to get the very best from it, is the only way forward.
Sail testing always starts as soon as we unpack the bags. We check out the build quality and materials, as well as the measurements for accuracy. Then it’s down to rigging, how easy they are to setup before hitting the water to see what each model can deliver in the widest range of conditions and wind speeds possible and what sort of tuning range they offer.
With a broad range of rider weights, abilities and also styles to help compare each model, our awesome team consisted of ex-PWA super star Jamie Hawkins, local Devon ripper Dan Lobato, Western Oz/Tenerife local wave rider Justin Stuart and, of course, myself.
The testing was all carried out in Tenerife, from our base at the OTC (Official Test Centre) located in El Medano. From here you get easy access to three great wave sailing spots and a wide variety of conditions, from bump & jump to wave riding.
Through the summer months the wind in the Canaries is highly reliable and you can expect around 20-30 knots every day. On our trip we scored some awesome conditions, with decent waves and plenty of wind.
The wind for the duration of this test was just relentless for the first half of the trip, blowing around forty knots flat-out for five days straight. As a result some of the action pictures featured in this test are of the smaller version of that particular sail.
Every single sail we used performed admirably, but in terms of helping you choose the right one for you, each product’s behaviour was very different from the next, with a range of specific individual handling characteristics. Read on to find out how each model fared and will best suit your style and requirements! DN
READ THE REVIEWS: