GA SAILS HYBRID 6.4M 2019 TEST REVIEW
This is the Hybrid’s second season in the GA range, classed as their ‘ultimate all-rounder’. Comprising of eleven sizes from 3.7m to 8.2m, the concept is to provide a complete line of sails that are perfectly suited for all conditions. Transitioning from power wave sails in the smaller sizes, through to a ‘classic 5-batten bump and jump’ option in the mid-sizes and onto a 6-batten freeride profile in the largest sizes, the Hybrid morphs and evolves to meet the demands of its likely use. For 2019, the Hybrid has adopted the brand’s new ‘parallel batten concept’, raising the angle of the battens to make airflow across the sail more efficient. There are tubed battens used in pockets three and four, for profile stability and improved performance, whilst this 6.4m and its smaller siblings are dubbed the HD versions, seeing x-ply used in their window panel. Specified for exclusive use on an RDM mast (according to the information printed on the sail), it was rigged here on a 90% GA 430 cm and sets with plenty of rotation retained in the bottom two battens. There’s a subtle profile to the draft below the boom, yet remains very flat above the boom whilst at rest, the leech falling away progressively to batten four. We tested the Hybrid 5.6m in the crossover sail test earlier in the year and were impressed with its plug and play freeride ease. And with such an affordable price tag, GA thought it the ideal contender for inclusion in this test too. Let’s see how it fairs…
“One sail can get you out on the water at all spots! The Hybrid guarantees performance and fun no matter what the conditions are.”
With such a flat neutral set at idle, it came as no surprise that the Hybrid feels very light and easy in the hands from the off. Whilst possessing more luff curve than many here, it has a broad Dacron luff panel, which largely determines the sail’s character and delivery style. It is just so easy and forgiving, the power and acceleration coming on progressively rather than instantaneously, as the movement in the luff sleeve combines with the stretch in the luff panel. The result is a soft, welcoming style, the pull coming from a low position focussed around the rider. And like its smaller sibling, it offers real plug and play ease – simply rig it quickly, get on the water and the sail will do the rest. With such a settled and comfortable nature, the Hybrid requires little attention or energy input, leaving the rider to concentrate on everything else. And with such a low rider-focussed centre of effort, it charges the Hybrid with real versatility in the stance it can adopt, from upright and relaxed / cruising, to locked in and blasting. In transition the Hybrid reverts to being flat and passive as it is eased out, aiding rotation before the power can be restored progressively once pulled back in. In prolonged lulls this flux in profile depth is noticeable, reducing the pull the sail provides to get through as efficiently as possible. And yet, it is a small price to pay for the upside of comfort and manners. In strong overpowering winds, the Hybrid’s power does predictably shift rearwards slightly, given the degree of movement available. Nevertheless, its top end is certainly no embarrassment – being more than enough for the progressing rider.
A user-friendly all-rounder, with a forgiving uncomplicated nature; just rig the Hybrid and go, to enjoy hassle-free fun! Its handling in particular should inspire the exploration of new transitions.
Other sails in this test: