GAASTRA SAVAGE 7.8 2013 TEST REVIEW
Aspiring racers or recreational sailors making the transition from softer, more manoeuvre-oriented sails to more powerful rigs.
Pair it with a compact board to really reap the benefits of the wind range. Experiment with the outhaul to fully stabilise the draft.
Gaastra bill the Savage as a more accessible and user-friendly sail than their twin-cam cam Cosmic, 3-cam Phantom or race-winning Vapour. The idea is to offer the speed potential of the cammed range but with all the user-friendliness of the Matrix freeride line.
Outline: Short and compact, (lowest aspect on test) with a dropped clew and 7-batten frame. There’s also a ‘dropped tack’ that helps the gap-closing angle, which, along with the fairly high cut foot, lets the sail generate lift when required as well as perform with the trademark downward drive that compacts put into the board.
Build Quality: Gaastra’s colourful UV-resistant C-film and radial panel layout makes for a light and strong build that’s functional and helps the aesthetics. There’s other strong detail with a minimalist but strong clew construction, moulded EVA mast protector and tube batten for stability and maintaining profile.
Rigging and Tuning: None of these rotationals are hard to rig but double check your extensions and booms can cope with the tuning range as sometimes there can be variances between quoted measurements that differ from the sailmakers’ own.
Low End & Acceleration: ELots of low-end grunt but the delivery is smoother than some with a genuine feeling of having ‘gears’. The lack of raw power in light wind is deceptive as this 7.8 was most definitely amongst the first to plane on 140L boards around the 12-knot mark.
Top End: The high range control is easier to manage than others and the Savage can definitely compete with cambered sails in a range of conditions. Of the throatier group in this test the Savage definitely required the least input and concentration to make the most of disturbed water and rolling windswell.
Gybing & Manoeuvres: We did find with the deep draft near the clew that the pull shifted around a little bit which, without getting over and dominating it, might make it less forgiving for novice gybers.
Handling: The pull is from low and central/forward and the Centre of Effort stays nice and stable in the hands. The solid feel give the Matrix a similar impression to riding a multi-cammed sail.
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