GA SAILS HYBRID 6.2M 2017 TEST REVIEW
The Hybrid is an all-new sail design for 2017, replacing the Pilot and becoming more all-round in application in the process. The reason is that GA have also got rid of the Savage in their line-up for 2017, so the Matrix has become more performance oriented. That means that between the new Matrix and the Hybrid, these 2017 sails aim to fulfil the role of three predecessors. Available in both standard (as tested here) and full x-ply HD construction, it is available in eight sizes, from 3.7m to 7.4m, and as with all sails in the 2017 GA range it is recommended for use with constant curve masts. With the addition of the brand’s ‘posi-leech system’ and dynamic boom cutout (in effect, a large step in the leech outline at the main batten above the boom), the Hybrid is said to have a reduced head area yet more shape to its profile high up, improving both power and agility. Well finished with all the attention to detail you would expect from the GA loft (such as abrasion pads in vulnerable areas and a full moulded tack fairing), it was tested here on a Gaastra 75% RDM mast.
“The Hybrid is the go to sail for anyone looking to get their first rig or expand their first quiver. The forgiving luff makes it compatible with both SDM and RDM masts of various carbon contents without impacting performance. It’s a simple sail that lets you focus on what’s really important: water time!”
Rigging with a moderate amount of luff curve, the Hybrid sets flat at rest, the leech loose down to the main batten above the boom, whilst the batten itself retains the slightest rotation around the mast. It translates to a light and neutral feeling at idle, feeling smaller than its quoted size in the hands. As pressure builds the Hybrid nonetheless develops a reasonable amount of bottom end drive, the Dacron luff panel breathing and enabling the sail to adopt a deeper profile. The centre of effort is forwards, yet relatively high in the draft, encouraging the rider into an upright and relaxed stance. The high cut foot and moderate to high clew eyelet position furthers this feeling, and bolsters the Hybrid’s ease and practicality in manoeuvres, returning to its light and passive form as it is rotated mid-transition. This is also apparent as the wind picks up and increasingly violent gusts begin to hit the sail. With its stability assured, the hesitant rider can take comfort in the fact that they can adopt a more defensive stance over the board and ease the backhand out, the sail remaining easy and forgiving in the hands. Whilst not as efficient as some in the group, it remains balanced and comfortable across an impressive wind range, with equal capacity for blasting and manoeuvring and comfortable whatever the sea state.
With a light and playful nature, the Hybrid strikes a fantastic balance between power, handling and practicality, and with standard GA-Sail build it represents excellent value.
Other sails in this test: