LOFTSAILS PURELIP 5.7M 2019 TEST REVIEW
The Purelip is Loftsails long-standing 5-batten wave sail, refined for the 2019 season with a longer luff and slightly shorter boom length. More than this, the luff curve and vertical shaping in the sail is said to have been adjusted; 2mil x-ply is now used in the upper panels for lightness … and the batten tapers have been re-engineered, pushing the profile a little further forward in the draft.
At 452 cm it is the tallest on test here, rigged on a 430 cm Team Edition RDM, although still compatible on SDM masts. And despite requiring a lot of downhaul, as indicated by the diamond trim mark in the top panel, threading the rope and applying the tension is easy, thanks to the extended Velcro opening along the side of the tack fairing. The Purelip sets with plenty of luff curve, with moderate shape low and forward in the draft, and progressive looseness along the length of the leech. X-ply of varying weights are used through the panels, and there are plenty of features to ensure the sail withstands the harshest environments. These include triple reinforcements in the vulnerable areas of the luff, leech and foot, the brand’s long established IYU250 luff sleeve material, and a double Dacron head panel for ease of rolling and longevity. Available in either blue or green colour schemes for 2019, the Purelip conforms to the brand’s well-established integrated panel concept for structural strength, overlapping the panel layups as they radiate from the clew. This is also combined with Loftsails unique ‘Standing Battens’, which possess a box-shape cross-section for strength and stability.
“Tarifa’s famous nuclear winds and 18 years developing curves produced the Purelip design concept … easy animation for hard core conditions!”
In marginal winds, the tension in the Purelip can be reduced to tighten the leech and provide that extra bit of spring and response from the mast. There is a fair bit of movement in the luff sleeve, which, combined with the additional leverage in the luff length, helps to provide a useful amount of bottom-end feedback. The Purelip feels large yet balanced in the hands, the drive soft and progressive rather than direct or punchy. It doesn’t necessarily pull and drive through lulls as others do, relying more upon its efficiency and glide to keep going and reach the next gust. The two eyelets certainly help to adjust the nature of the sail’s feedback according to the conditions, the higher eyelet helping to eek every bit of pull and response available in light airs. But it is when you enter powered or overpowered conditions that you really gain an understanding of where the Purelip’s strengths lie. Re-tuned with more tension, its efficiency is increasingly apparent, accelerating in the hands as the gust hits and feeling lighter and more electric in the process. It’s as if the sail has an extra gear, coming into its own and feeling most at home when the conditions are challenging most around it. Using the low clew eyelet, its handling is so supremely balanced and the speed comes so easily that it gives the Purelip a real all-round character, equally happy blasting back and forth as it is being thrown into manoeuvres. The forward position of the draft makes the sail’s power useful in transition, before going neutral as it is eased out. And whilst the longer boom of the Purelip makes it slower than some to rotate, the speed it naturally carries into transition makes it easy to control upon exit.
Fast and efficient with supreme stability and handling, the Purelip is in its element in powered or overpowered conditions and has incredible versatility in its application.
Other sails in this test: