RRD COMPACT VOGUE 4.6M
2020 TEST REVIEW
A sail concept with real capital, not least its performance. Far from a party piece or novelty gimmick to be scoffed at, the RRDCompact Vogue proves that genuine practicality need not come at the expense of true performance. We are mightily impressed.
The compact sail concept of a rig in a backpack has been in the RRD lineup for several seasons now, visualised and developed by the UK’s own John Skye and championed by Roberto Ricci himself. Addressing the paralysis that transportation and storage issues enforce upon our sport is commendable. They are big hurdles for windsurfing to overcome and at face value, the compact rig package is a very viable solution. The elephant in the room however is whether their innovative design ultimately compromises performance; so where better to check than compare them in a conventional sail test. The ‘Compact’ idea has blossomed into a whole sail range in the RRD lineup, from the Vogue wave sail on test here, to the foiling specific ‘Compact Freefoil’ tested earlier in the year and the performance freeride ‘Compact Fire’, to be tested next month. There is also a ‘Compact X-tra’ freeride option, a youth specific ‘Compact Grom’ sail and a windsup option too – the ‘Compact SUP Sail’. We had the opportunity to test both the 5.3 and 4.6 Compact Vogues here, both setting on the Compact Wave rig pack in Pro construction. In essence the Pro pack comes with a 100% carbon mast, carbon boom and carbon extension, whereas the more affordable HD pack comprises of an aluminium boom and extension, and 80% carbon mast. RRD do advise though that, “The Compact Vogue also works well on standard masts and booms, meaning a customer does not need to go ‘all in’ straight away with rigs and sails.”
The Compact Vogue Y25 takes everything you love about the Vogue, our flagship wave sail, and makes it compact. Control and incredible handling, but in a sail that fits in a backpack. Equally suited to the adventurous ones searching new spots as to the enthusiast who lacks space. No performance compromises, just convenience.
Rigging the Compact Vogue takes a little more time than rigging a conventional sail. Once unrolled and unfolded, the batten sections are easily connected and tensioned thanks to the new RRD batten head cap, securing each in place with the rubber velcro strap. The four sections of the 340 mast are then fed up the luff sleeve, with the 60 cm extender making up the extra length required in addition to the extension. We used some insulating tape to make sure all sections remained firmly connected whilst sheathing. Applying the downhaul, it becomes apparent that there’s a lot of luff curve in the Compact Vogue’s leading edge, creating the skin tension and forcing a moderate amount of shape low down in the sail’s draft, both lower battens retaining rotation around the mast. On the water, the 4.6 generates a moderate amount of bottom end power for its quoted size, using the higher clew eyelet to extend the boom length and its leverage. Interestingly, the 5.3 actually felt big for its quoted size and as such generated a good amount of bottom end grunt. Neutral at rest, there’s a crease in the luff panel around the boom cut-out, which combined with the movement in the luff sleeve, allows the sail to adopt a deeper profile as pressure builds. Balanced and forgiving, the pull is light and measured, the centre of effort locked relatively low and forward in the draft. It has an excellent natural range on one setting, retaining its manners well, a shift to the inner clew eyelet providing extra control should the wind increase. Used around a wave break we have to say, we forgot entirely that the sail was a folding compact version, its performance more than satisfying even the most demanding riders. Providing the drive through the bottom turn, it goes light and neutral as it is eased out, making it easy to manoeuvre and free up the board underneath. The more we used RRD’s Compact sails, the more we became real advocates for them. Performance aside, the one niggle we have is with the joints in the boom arm, which whilst necessary, are a little clunky, meaning you can feel some movement on the water. We wouldn’t be surprised if the next generation in compact rig design addresses this. And whilst the 4.6 has a more natural high-end wind range, it fits beautifully into a fantastic compact quiver, when complimented with its 5.3 sibling.
Luff: 407 cm
Boom: 160 or 165 cm
Ideal Mast: RRD Compact Wave Rig (340 cm + 60 cm)
Available Sizes: 3.5, 4.0, 4.6, 5.3.
Price: £743 | PRO RIG PACK £1601 | HD RIG PACK £756
Other boards in this test:
THE LINE UP