GUNSAILS RAPID 7.2M 2019 TEST REVIEW
The Rapid is Gunsails’ no-cam freerace offering, sitting between their comfort-focussed freeriding Stream and twin-cam Sunray. It boasts seven tubed battens in its structure and a slalom-biased geometry, targeted squarely at uncompromised performance. Available solely in the racing/lime green livery seen here, it utilises a so called ‘cross batten concept’ where the second lowest batten crosses the boom, intended to provide maximum stability and aerodynamic efficiency. Rigged on a Select 100 SDM, it took some tension to downhaul fully, using the F.R.E.D. (Fast Rigging, Easy Doing) indicator in the upper panel for reference. As such, it has a moderate luff curve, the three lowest battens retaining good rotation around the mast whilst the leech falls away progressive along its length. Shape is fixed forward in the draft, with Dacron present in the lower luff panel, transitioning to x-ply further up the sail. There’s then a second x-ply luff panel and very little movement in the luff sleeve. With two distinct clew eyelet positions and plenty of detailing, including alternating battens, double stitched seams and beading along most of the length of the two bottom batten pockets, the Rapid is certainly a well put together sail.
“Our Freerace icon Rapid comes with a competitive slalom outline together with camberless freeride lightness. No other model combines uncompromising performance and top speed with the handling of a no-cam sail.”
Making use of the Rapid’s outer clew eyelet in marginal winds initially, it was noticeable just how much larger the sail feels compared to some of its peers, the higher eyelet still inset from the sail’s trailing edge. As such, the Rapid generates plenty of useable power through the backhand when a gust hits, the pre-shape and profile of the sail expanding lowdown and forward, thanks to the growth permitted in the lower Dacron luff panel. Accelerating smoothly, it settles quickly into a locked in stance, the low and forward centre of effort really helping to pin the board down and keep it accelerating through gusts. Neutral and balanced, it covers distance in real comfort, the ease and forgiveness provided initially by the lower Dacron panel being complemented with the direct handling bestowed by the secondary x-ply luff panel once the full depth and elastic limit of the profile has been reached. In transition the Rapid has the manners and rotational ease to be manageable, albeit its size is unmistakeable, taking more time than most to rotate onto the new tack. Instead, the Rapid is most at home being used for covering distance on master blaster sessions, where its balance and performance really demonstrate its value for money. As the wind increases, a shift to the lower inside clew eyelet really is transformative, the increased boom rake helping the rider to lock the sail even more confidently into place. A match for sails costing more than £200.00 dearer than it, the Rapid is the best contender we have tried from the Gunsails loft this year, offering freerace performance across a wind range than even the most demanding sailor would struggle to pick holes in.
Supplying useable power and effective tuning through its two clew eyelets, the Rapid has both the performance and range to make many stand up and take note, particularly when its price tag is considered.
Other sails in this test: