GUNSAILS VECTOR 8.6 2021 TEST REVIEW
A fully fledged cammed performer, the Vector is easy to rig, set and use and thrives on being put through its paces on a freerace or slalom thoroughbred.
The Vector remains current in the Gunsails lineup for the 2021 season, taking many of the development hallmarks from the brand’s world cup sail – the GS-R, but presenting them in a more accessible 3-cam freerace package. On paper, it is an impressive engine, and represents plenty of bang for your buck – 7 tubed battens; an extended 3D profiled mast sleeve with x-ply and Kevlar stretch control panels incorporated, and various other niceties more commonly seen on the ‘top of the range’ sails, such as a neoprene boom cut-out closure, to reduce water intake when the sail is resting in the water. Rigged on a Select 100 mast, it is surprisingly straightforward to rig, the roller cams slipping onto the mast without much persuasion – just open the pockets, pull on some downhaul tension by hand, and push the cams on with your hands inside the luff sleeve and a strategically placed knee! The brand’s now familiar F.R.E.D. tuning marker is located deep into the upper panel, clearly demonstrating the Vector likes a good amount of tension to be applied. Luff curve and skin tension are high, the main panels low down exhibiting a good amount of depth to their profile, whilst the leech falls away progressively right down to batten six, just above the clew. Tension the tack strap and the Vector is ready, asking to be taken out on the water.
“The Vector is the sporty freeracer for slalom beginners and ambitious sailors who like to compete in speed duels. Despite its enhanced performance, it is still easy to handle. The GS-R’s little brother embodies slalom feeling with the comfort of a freerace sail.”
Feeling its size initially, the Vector is full bodied and generates a good deal of bottom end power from the off. The centre of effort is low and forward in the draft, meaning the power isn’t obviously useable, but a few pumps and the power punches the board forward and clear of the water easily. Once planing, this pull position pins the board down and feels incredibly comfortable, particularly in gusty winds, transferring any extra energy directly to the board, and by-passing the rider. It’s as if the Vector has a built-in management system, refraining from disturbing the rider with such trivial details such as power and control. Instead, the board just accelerates naturally underfoot, which can’t help but bring a smile to the rider’s face. As the wind increases the Vector remains well mannered and balanced, fast on all points of sail and happiest partnering a freerace or slalom platform that has the minerals to keep up with it. The twist profile in the upper panels and leech is excellent; there’s not a hint of flutter and neither did we experience any real control issues on the one setting, the Vector displaying a stunning natural range. If any refinement was required, we simply dropped to the lower clew eyelet and headed back out, the extra boom rake and leech twist playing its part in assisting top-end control. In transition, there is no disguising the Vector’s size or its forced structure, but enter with speed and conviction and it will reward during the exit, the cams being a little sticky mid-transition, but rotating fully once pressure builds on the new tack. Well mannered and user-friendly for a three-cam performer, the Vector is certainly a lot of sail for its advertised market price, making it exceptional value for money.
Luff: 503 cm
Boom: 230/223 cm
Ideal Mast: Gunsails 490 cm SDM
Available Sizes: 5.0, 5.6, 6.3, 7.1, 7.8, 8.6, 9.2, 9.6.
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