NAISH BOXER 5.8M 2015 TEST REVIEW
Classed as Naish’s Compact Wave/Freestyle sail range, the Boxer has been around for some years now and has rightly gathered a strong following. The concept is to reduce swing weight, lower the aspect ratio and promote handling for new-school manoeuvre-oriented riding styles. Using Naish’s unique loop-and-go system which offers both traditional 6:1 and 4:1 ‘loop and go’ rigging, be prepared to apply the pressure as the Boxer 5.8 has a good amount of luff curve, tensioning the mast more than any other sail here.
“The versatile Boxer is a compact 4-batten sail for riders who want to mix wave riding and freestyle sailing in a wide range of conditions. It is designed with a low aspect ratio and short boom, delivering solid power while excelling at both new school wave riding and flatwater freestyle due to its compact dimensions. It also features Naish’s Fusion Construction, which integrates a hybrid of high quality, lightweight and durable materials into a single system.”
Using the Boxer straight after a more conventional sail on test, you realise just how much sail area of the Boxer is located above the boom. Despite this, its set is familiar and reassuring, with a lovely clean profile in the sail’s draft and smooth, easy rotation in the bottom two battens. In marginal winds the Boxer generates plenty of useable power that can be transferred easily to the board to pump it loose off the water. With the centre of effort quite high and back, the feedback in the hands is obvious and response is crisp – it’s as if the sail is willing you to use it. And this is where the Boxer took us a bit by surprise. Because there is so much sail area above the boom, when you lean into a transition (be it a gybe or bottom turn) and sheet in with your backhand to dump the power, you kill the constant drive of much of the sail. What you are then left with through the critical part of the turn is a much smaller feeling sail that is effortless to reposition, before you sheet-out and expose the upper panels to the wind once more. It is a very novel sensation, and with a bit of getting used to, could be very useful indeed. The downside to having all this area above the boom is that the Boxer does begin to hinge a bit in severe winds. The extreme luff curve tension in the leading edge does its part to annul much of the backwards creep, but by becoming backhanded, the Boxer does lose some of its appeal and manoeuvre prowess. The advice would be to change down earlier and make the most of the smaller Boxer’s bottom end power.
The Boxer continues to charm, with bags of useable bottom end power and a unique way to dump unwanted energy during the most intricate transition. A potent weapon for the manoeuvre maestro.
Other sails in this test: