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RRD COMPACT FIRE 6.8 2021 TEST REVIEW

25/08/2021
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RRD COMPACT FIRE 6.8 2021 TEST REVIEW

THE VERDICT

Like all the sails we’ve tried of RRD’s unique Compact Series, the Compact Fire’s performance is mightily impressive. This 6.8m is one of the largest in the series, and whilst it’s hard to overlook the compromised bottom-end power on the softer mast, its speed and handling once powered more than justified its name and association with the superb RRD Fire lineage.

OVERVIEW

The Compact Fire is designed to take the performance legacy of its conventional namesake and package it into RRD’s unique Compact Series format. This 6.8m is the largest size available in the range, with each of the four sails compatible with the Freeride rig packs. It was tested here using the HD rig pack (retailing at €979.00), which contains a C80 mast, aluminium boom and extension, or you could opt for the premium Pro pack (€1949.00) with its C100 mast, full carbon boom and extension. The Pro pack also comes complete in a roller bag for easier transportation. Dressed in a similar black-white-orange livery to last year’s anniversary Compact sails, the level of detailing has improved again for this, the brand’s 26th season. There’s a new quick release batten tensioner to speed up the rigging and de-rigging process, as well as a Kevlar reinforced anti-stretch seam incorporated into the batten pocket construction, to help hold the sail’s form. There are a couple of stretch control tendons radiating across the window panel from the clew, said to improve stability and a couple of inset clew options to assist tuning and control, which can be utilised on the fly during a session. Rigging the Compact Fire is a little more time consuming initially, yet this is only partly due to the five lower battens requiring fitting together. More time is spent constructing the five sections of the mast, and we actually recommend taping each section together to ensure they remain locked together during rigging. Downhauling the Compact Fire is easy, the trimming guide in the upper panel helping to provide guidance on the amount of tension required, the leech falling away progressively whilst the three lower battens retain rotation around the mast. It is a good-looking sail, setting cleanly and displaying x-ply in the head, foot and clew panels and monofilm in the main panels. And after a session, it’s nice to see the sail bag has been refined so that it can be extended to house the rolled sail with all battens still fully assembled – nice touch.

BRAND CLAIM

“Our top performance freeride sail, available as a Compact Series sail. All the winning performance of the original Fire, but can be folded into a backpack with 2 other sails, to make a dream portable quiver. The future of performance portability.”

PERFORMANCE

With easily the smallest dimensions and stats in the group, it came as no surprise that the Compact Fire also felt as such on the water. More than this though, when rigged with the four-piece mast and extender of the Compact rig pack, the luff curve imposed and softness of the mast are two major attributes that fight against it in the early planing / bottom-end grunt stakes. It’s just not where the Compact Fire’s main virtues lie. We did re-rig it on a standard 430 RDM and there was undoubtedly a change in the directness and the range of use, improving the early planing (perhaps at the expense of some top end), but then not using the rig pack sort of defeats the purpose of the sail in the first place? Nevertheless, when the gusts strengthen and the Fire engages, there’s little to stop it! It accelerates smoothly in the hands and delivers its energy efficiently to the board, settling into a comfortable committed stance. The leech twists beautifully, keeping the centre of effort locked low and forward in the draft and helping to pin the board, swelling the rider’s confidence to keep driving. There is a softness and ease to the Compact Fire’s manner (we suspect due to the multi-piece mast) that masks over its impressive performance when fully powered; you don’t really realise how fast you’re going until you compare your speed with others. And in transition it feels compact and manageable, powering once again on the new tack from a low position, so as to not upset the rider’s stance.

www.robertoriccidesigns.com

RRD COMPACT FIRE 6.8 2021 TEST REVIEW

 

SPECS

Size: 6.8m

Luff: 458 cm

Boom: 199/204 cm

Battens: 6

Ideal Mast: RRD 370 + 60 cm Comp / 430 cm RDM

Available Sizes: 5.0, 5.7, 6.3, 6.8.

PRICE: €905.00

 


OTHER SAILS IN THIS TEST:

 

DUOTONE E_PACE 7.3

GA SAILS MATRIX 7.2

GOYA NEXUS PRO 6.9

GUNSAILS ZOOM 7.2

LOFTSAILS OXYGEN 7.0

NEIL PRYDE SPEEDSTER 7.2

POINT-7 AC-X 7.0

SEVERNE NCX 7.0

SIMMER ENDURO 7.1M

 


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