GA SAILS PHANTOM 7.8 2020 TEST REVIEW
The Phantom is as potent as any in this multi-cam class, yet with its shallow draft and clever shaping, makes the most of its size and efficiency over an impressive natural range.
With a new outline, panel layout and cross batten concept, the Phantom has had a big overhaul for the 2020 season, aligning it more closely with its stablemate and race-winner, the Vapor. Available solely in the same blue colourway, it looks similar too and possesses details such as an enlarged luff sleeve and two clew pulleys (specifically for adjustable outhauls), indicative of its performance intent. Rigged for test on a 100 SDM, it sets with relatively little luff curve, the cams easy to pop on with the zippered pockets open. Once rigged, the Phantom’s set is clean and attractive, its draft locked forward yet remaining relatively shallow, and its integrated tube-battens above the boom comparatively flat at rest. There is also a little bit of horizontal movement in the x-ply/Dacron luff sleeve low down, and the raised angle of the Phantom’s battens is very apparent, said to improve airflow efficiency. Employing 4mil x-ply in the foot and clew panels, the rest of the sail’s main panels use the brand’s so-called C-film – a monofilm with UV resistive qualities for reduced degradation and colour fade. Business like in appearance and price, will the latest Phantom iteration live up to its bidding?
“Enjoy our ultimate freerace machine, based on the concept and characteristics of the Vapor in a more simple package, while racing your friends and setting new individual speed records.”
With a relatively shallow profile, the Phantom is light and easy in the hands initially, the centre of effort located further back in the draft around the rider. As the wind fills, we were impressed with the amount of power it delivers – surprising for the amount of skin tension and twist in its panels. It is also very pumpable and accelerates quickly in the hands, delivering its power efficiently to the board. There is plenty of useable feedback through the back hand, providing the extra gear and ammunition to punch the board from the water. Once going, the Phantom is well mannered and easy to lock into a purposeful stance, feeling slippery and efficient through the air, and encouraging the rider to look for that next gust in the quest for more speed. It has an unassuming character – never asking anything of the rider, yet continuing to deliver the goods in a subtle and understated way. You only really notice just how fast you’re going, for example, when you compare your speed with your peers. As the wind increases, the natural range of the Phantom is highlighted, retaining its manners and asking for little re-tuning or attention as it keeps performing on the water. Carrying its performance through all points of sail, it has a very calming nature, giving the rider the confidence to keep pushing even when the conditions become severe. In transition, the Phantom retains its serene quality and feel, moving around the rider and enabling them to enter the turn in confidence, whilst the cams rotate easily between tacks.
Luff: 488 cm
Boom: 212 cm
Ideal mast: Gaastra 460 SDM
Available sizes: 5.6, 6.4, 7.1, 7.8, 8.5, 9.4.
Other sails in this test:
THE LINE UP