LOFT SAILS SKYSCAPE 7.6M 2019 TEST REVIEW
Windfoil dedication. Soft and effective pumping for low winds, and once up on the foil a light and easy feeling. The Skyscape has evolved for 2019: new profiles improve performance over the Skyscape 2018 model. A 5 batten, 3 cam design, the Skyscape is especially reactive to pumping while the cams provide foil stability.
The Skyscape is in its second year of existence, with Loftsails being an early adopter of the foiling phenomenon and getting right to work in producing foil specific sails. Compatible on either SDM or RDM masts, it was tested on a Team Edition SDM and was straightforward to rig, the wide luff sleeve providing the room to secure the three Tekcam2 inducers easily onto the mast. There’s a rigging guide in the form of a diamond in the upper panel, inferring that the sail sets with plenty of luff curve and progressive looseness down the leech. Build quality is up to the usual standard of Loftsails, with Kevlar strips and metallic cam interfaces (MCIs) incorporated for stability and structural longevity; the IYU250 luff tube material for wear resistance and a large Dacron head panel for rolling ease. There’s also a strong sense of the Skyscape’s performance focus, with features such as the neoprene boom cut-out closure and integrated battens with x-ply pockets (for symmetry between tacks), lifted
directly from the brand’s race programme.
Taking the Skyscape to the water, it is interesting just how physically light it feels for its quoted size. Setting the sail according to the diamond marker, the structure of the sail is very locked in thanks to the three cams, with little movement or breathability to its deep, pronounced profile. To get going early you really need to stuff the board deep downwind, where the depth of the draft can compliment good pumping technique, to accelerate the board and get water flowing over the foil’s wings. We did try reducing the amount of downhaul tension slightly to re-connect the mid-leech and promote some softness to the sail’s form, yet it still remains relatively firm for pumping. Once going the Skyscape settles into a locked in yet upright stance, with plenty of area in the foot of the sail, its short boom and long luff giving it a reasonably high aspect appearance. It accelerates quickly in the hands, feeling very comfortable and balanced – great for covering large distances with ease. As the wind increased the stability remained, helped by reapplying the extra tension through the downhaul and opting for the lower clew eyelet. Ultimately, the Skyscape really seemed to favour a locked in and assertive riding style, without feeling too demanding on rider ability. It’s a sort of freerace foiling sail – a hybrid of freeride ease and lightweight handling, coupled with speed and blasting performance. In transition the sail provides all the speed and drive to enter forcefully, its deep profile keeping the sail well forward throughout the turn. It takes some effort to break the structure and encourage the battens to rotate, yet the cams follow willingly and snap back into place. With masses of range available, if windfoil blasting is your specialty there are few sails to rival the Skyscape.
Other sails in this test: