SEVERNE GATOR 6.0 2021 TEST REVIEW
The Gator simply makes freeride windsurfing a hassle-free and fun experience! It offers class-leading light handling, and a flattering performance that can accessed effortlessly, as if sailing on autopilot.
The Gator is Severne’s ‘Progressive Freeride’ stalwart – a wide ranging programme of fourteen sail sizes, from 3.7m to 8.0m, whose role migrates from freemove (3.7-7.0) to freeride in the larger sizes (7.5 and 8.0). Produced in x-ply throughout, it makes good use of the brand’s conviction and drive to make the lightest handling sails on the market, using eM3 (lightweight x-ply – head panels) and eM4 (denser high load x-ply – foot, clew and luff panels), in key areas. Double stitch seams around the window; Spiderfibre radial tendons from the clew, and integrated batten pockets all add to the structure and integrity of the Gator’s form. And as with year’s past, the necessity of the conventional detailing is once again scrutinised, for any marginal gain and weight saving. Some are adopted, such as seamless head and foot panelling, whilst some are omitted, including the head abrasion pad still seen on most other sails. Rigged here on an RDM Blue 430 cm, the Gator is easy to downhaul thanks to the orientation of the 3&4 roller in the tack, and whilst there are no trimming guides in the upper panels, the set is quite intuitive, the sail exhibiting plenty of tuning range. Compatible with both RDM and SDM, the luff sleeve is tighter in the Gator than most in the test group, with both bottom battens maintaining rotation around the mast and some positive shaping to the sail’s profile, placed forward in the draft.
“The Gator is an all-round freeride / freewave / blasting sail. Gets you going fast, and maximizes stoke.”
Over the years, the Gator has proved that ease of use doesn’t come at the expense of performance, and this 2021 incarnation is no exception. Light and balanced in the hands, it powers smoothly as a gust hits and generates crisp focussed power that is efficiently transferred to the board. The centre of effort is locked high and forward, from where it generates useful feedback, yet maintains a light airy nature rather than pinning the board to the deck. There’s a real sense of calmness and harmony to the delivery – powering positively through both hands without ever feeling forceful or asking too much of the rider.
Nevertheless, when drag racing its peers the Gator was a match for all here, particularly when partnered with a fast freeride or freerace platform. It encourages the rider to hunt for the gusts and rely on the sail’s efficiency to translate the extra power into more speed, without requiring much intervention on their part. In transition the Gator’s light handling and forward focussed power again come into their own, charging into the corners at speed and rotating smoothly, the energy returning quickly as it is pulled in on the new tack. Whilst comfortable for use in all conditions, it has a definite freemove / freeride sailing bias, its neutral feedback through the back hand finding particular favour with the lighter or more timid rider. Those with an assertive riding style, that crave additional feedback and an extra gear through the back hand would be well placed to look at the NCX, which is due to be tested in the 7.0m no-cam freerace category, later on in our test schedule.
SEVERNE GATOR 6.0 2021 TEST REVIEW
Luff: 446 cm
Boom: 179 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