GA SAILS HYBRID 5.6M TEST REVIEW
The Hybrid’s brief has been refined further still for 2018, absorbing the crossover role of the Cross, whilst GA have reintroduced the Pilot as their entry level freeride rig. The idea is that through its eleven sizes, the Hybrid’s intended use transitions to account for the conditions it is likely to encounter, from power wave sail in 3.7-4.7m right up to performance freeride in 6.7-8.2m. In this size, the Hybrid is a direct replacement for the Cross – a “classic 5-batten bump-and-jump” design, incorporating x-ply in its window and foot panels for extra durability. Rigged here on a GA RDM75, it sets with relatively little luff curve, the lower batten resting next to the mast whilst the main batten above the boom protrudes beyond the leading edge. There’s a progressive amount of twist along the leech of the sail, the step in the trailing edge below the main batten helping to reduce the boom length required.
“The ultimate convertible range, the Hybrid is rich in design features. For 2018, we took this design concept to a new level. We have created a completely integrated high performance sail with each size changing in design for the appropriate wind conditions. One range that will finally cover all conditions from wave to freeride without losing any performance.”
The first thing you notice about the Hybrid when you use it on the water is just how light it is in the hands. It feels super agile and easy, poised for when a gust arrives. As soon as it does, the Hybrid responds quickly, the play in the luff sleeve and large Dacron luff panel enabling the sail’s leading edge to swell considerably and adopt a much more useful profile. The reduced luff curve in the Hybrid also means that pumping is much more effective, with response and a connected feeling to the mast. The result is plenty of measured, accessible power, delivered smoothly and steadily to the board. The centre of effort is forward and around shoulder height, encouraging the rider into a relaxed, easy stance over the board. The other added bonus of the movement in the leading edge can really be felt in transition, the Hybrid going wonderfully neutral in the hands as it is sheeted out, the battens pushing back round the mast to aid stability. Performance wise, it wouldn’t feel out of place in any environment, from flat water to the occasional voyage into a wave-riding arena, albeit a large Manic with its durability upgrade would be the natural choice if wave riding is the preference. As the wind builds, the stability of the Hybrid does suffer, making it time to come back in for a retune. More tension helps to settle any centre of effort creep, the leech opening up more and encouraging it to twist off in the gusts. More manoeuvre and cruising oriented than outright straight-line blasting, it is a great sail for the weekend sailor, offering hassle free sailing and the ability to mix it up in varying conditions.
Supremely light and offering easy accessible power, the Hybrid provides uncomplicated manoeuvre-oriented fun and at £499.00 represents excellent value for money.
Other sails in this test: