GAASTRA POISON 5.4M 2014 TEST REVIEW
Although we’d agree the Poison’s an attractive choice for big boys and onshore conditions, but actually it’s got a lot of potential for down-the-line use and smaller riders – plus it’d be a superb engine for wider-bodied boards for sailors of all sizes.
Keep it on pretty much neutral outhaul in almost all wind conditions and tune more with the downhaul to suit the day.
“The new Poison has been completely redesigned with a fuller profile and a new luff curve. The 2014 Poison is more powerful but with the NEW Dacron luff panel, we improved neutrality and smoothness, which makes it a superior wave sail in all conditions. The Poison shines in onshore and gusty conditions. Heavier sailors will appreciate the fuller seams that can be tuned for more or less power.”
Outline: Fairly low aspect ratio. Slight curve in foot. Reasonable amount of roach.
Build Quality: Good feel of build quality but not particularly light. Moulded fixed head. Top section largely scrim with x-ply on leech. Wide Dacron luff panel. Narrow batten pockets, all on starboard side. (Rod battens.) Silicon bumper one side and tensioner head stand proud on other. 2 leech battens with thin wide glass battens. Leading edge luff protection internal taped seam. Moulded luff sleever. Large film window, boom markings printed inside luff cut-out. Silicon clew protection each side. Double radial single cringle clew. Foot bumper clew to tack. More silicon tack radial seam protection. Anti-chafe foot panel. X-ply foot panels. EVA moulded tack fairing with handle, uphaul ring. Metal loop-go pulley. Gaastra say the Poison is “compatible with other masts that are equal in length and IMCS”.
At first the Poison looks like a tall, old-fashioned sail when first rolled out, but it’s playing an optical trick and looks much squarer rigged-up – plus the luff/boom numbers equate to what’s actually a very compact outline. Hitting the water it feels alive and quite springy, but with heaps of drive and excellent low-end that suits wider boards, lighter air and larger riders. That spring’s ‘good spring’ as well – not energy sapping or inefficient power delivery. Even in higher wind, testers of all sizes preferred it with less outhaul – the cloth pretty much touching the boom quite a fair distance from the clew towards the harness lines. It’s a sail with a true wavy feel, although it’s nice in straight line blasting mode unlike some purely riding-focused sails. On the wave it’s quite a neutral turner, with a little backhand pressure, but not major amounts – and neither does it particularly specialise in either drawn-out or tighter turns. All-in-all the Poison offers good balance for use in a wide range of environments.
Yes, the Poison’s a grunty, early-planing powerhouse, but it’s not a violent brute at all. There’s a nice level of spring – without wasting power – and all the torque is actually pretty easy and pleasant to control. A truly versatile offering.
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