Gaastra Cross 6.0m 2014 Test Review Report
Gaastra have re-worked the Cross range for this season and thrown quite a lot of expensive materials and tech into the re-worked profile. Sizes 6.0 and larger are both RDM and SDM compatible. The Cross fits alongside the Pilot (entry-level) and their wave sail collection in the Gaastra range.
‘The Cross has been redesigned from scratch. With a new luff curve and more shape we realised more power in the low end and we made it lighter and more user friendly. With one less batten in the sizes below the 6,4, the Cross is the perfect multipurpose sail, it combines the maneuverability of a wave sail with the stability and speed of a freeride sail. Its skeleton is combined with normal and tube battens giving an incredible amount of control in the gusts and at higher speed making it the perfect bump & jump sail with tons of speed and turn ability.’ (Sic.)
As promised by Gaastra, as soon as we’d completed our first runs it was the low-end – and notably the acceleration – that struck us most. That and the added softness that the one less batten and the new material spec provide. The big boys usually like the more ‘locked’ and solid sail profiles for these types of all-terrain, ‘scrambler’ types of sail, but were loving the way the Cross filled early and seemed spongy without sapping any of the usable power away. We sailed this size between 14 and 30 knots, mainly over chop and flat water and thought the newer, softer feel dealt with harder gusts very well indeed, although we’re not 100% convinced that it’s as fast as some of the more rigid foils on offer. Head to head the speed seemed pretty good still too and generally the ride is quite forgiving and lenient to the odd misplaced harness line or sketchy rig control in rougher water. However the real joy with this sail is in the manoeuvrability. It’s super light and flicky in transition and, in terms of gybing and carving, has a lovely backhand element to it – rather like a powerful wave sail – that allows awesome control over turns. Ideal for all shapes and sizes, we think this 6.0 would pair perfectly with a larger FSW board for coastal sailors dealing with strong currents and moderate breeze or inland sailors looking for early planing, acceleration and control for dealing with erratic gusts and holes in the wind.
Soft and forgiving, but with heaps of low-end power and acceleration, the Gaastra Cross is a superbly manoevrable and versatile sail with a rich mix of freeride and wave-sailing characteristics.
Other sails in this test: