SEVERNE GATOR 5.7M
2020 TEST REVIEW
Carefree sailing at its best, the Gator pulls through lulls and accelerates in gusts, whilst maintaining its featherlight handling at all times. It demonstrates just how hassle free a freeride sail can truly be.
The Gator remains in the Severne lineup for 2020 as their freeride crossover option, progressing through 14 sizes from a wave / high-wind bump-and-jump sail to a low-cut foot and more powerful freeride engine. By scrutinising the geometry of each size, as well as the number and style of battens used, the emphasis for the Gator is on maintaining a “light, throw about feel” consistently throughout the sizes. For the new season it sees x-ply used throughout its panels, from the brand’s lightweight eM3 scrim in the upper panels to the more durable (and recently upgraded) eM4 in the foot panel. There are a couple of Spiderfibre tendons extending from the clew, intended to distribute loadings and enhance stability; double-stitch seams used around the window’s perimeter, coupled with a seamless head and foot panel, all intended to maximise the sail’s longevity. And one thing you can be sure of is that Severne has considered any weight saving that can be made, this Gator being no exception. Tipping the scales at 3.32 kg, it is impressively light for a sail of this size.
“Freeride windsurfing is all about blasting around at speed and being able to change direction at will. With that in mind we’ve designed the Gator to get you up and planing earlier, and when the wind picks up, keep you in control longer.”
Rigged on a RDM Red mast, the first point worthy of note is how easy it is to downhaul the Gator. With the three-roller tack pulley oriented to mitigate friction, the amount of luff curve in the sail’s leading edge is one of the lowest in the group, meaning the tension can be applied by hand without any use of a tool. The set is very clean, with plenty of shape and profile locked forward in the draft, the two lower battens retaining good rotation whilst the leech opens progressively along its length. On the water the ease and practicality of the Gator continues. It is incredibly light and compact in nature at rest, yet generates a good amount of bottom end pull, the movement in the luff sleeve and tangible flex in the mast helping to inject life and energy into the board during marginal winds. A few pumps and you’re away, the sail settling into a comfortable, balanced position whilst providing soft, useable power directly to the rider. The centre of effort is so far forward in the draft that there really is no pressure or effort experienced through the back hand. It makes the Gator a delight to use for long periods, requiring little input or concentration to keep at bay. Accelerating in gusts, the drive comes from low down, encouraging a more locked in stance as it pins the board down. Similarly, during lulls it also seems to pull well, not suffering from the draft shrinkage or power decay of some of its peers. The other true asset of the Gator is noticed in manoeuvres and transitions. At 174 cm, this 5.7 has easily the shortest boom length in this test group, with the obvious benefit of feeling compact and manageable during any change of course. Quick in rotation, the battens rotate freely and power comes back on smoothly as the sail is pulled in on the new side. And as the wind increases, the Gator has an excellent tuning range to compliment its already impressive natural range, the draft remaining locked forward as more tension is applied. With its controlled handling and accessible power, the Gator remains one of the most user-friendly freeride sails on the market.
Luff: 435 cm
Boom: 174 cm
Ideal Mast: Severne 430 cm RDM/SDM
Available Sizes: 3.7, 4.0, 4.2, 4.5, 4.7, 5.0, 5.3, 5.5, 5.7, 6.0, 6.5, 7.0, 7.5, 8.0.
Other sails in this test:
THE LINE UP