NEIL PRYDE HORNET 7.7M TEST REVIEW
Said to be the “sail choice for sailors looking for extremely early planing”, the Hornet is Neil Pryde’s performance twin-cam, sitting between the Hellcat and RS: Racing LT1 in their range. With many features inspired by the brand’s extraordinary racing programme, the Hornet has performance pedigree running through its veins, yet still aims to retain a light handling nature and the rigging practicality of a recreational sail. Tested here on Pryde’s premium FLX100 mast, it was straightforward to rig, the zipped cam-pockets in the narrow luff sleeve providing enough movement to pop the cams on easily. Setting with a moderate to deep profile, the shape is locked a little further back in the draft than others on test here, more focused around the rider. It exhibits lots of leech looseness down to the fourth batten, before becoming tight, and whilst offering two clew eyelet options, the new integrated compact clew design actually restricted us from using the lower of the two.
“Now featuring seven battens and EVO-inspired clew construction, the Hornet really steps up in performance, especially in top-end speed and control. The super compact Integracam design allows us to combine power and stability of a camber-induced profile with the narrow sleeve size of a no-cam sail.”
On the water the Hornet offered a fantastic blend of performance and precise handling that made it easily accessible to a wide range of users. As its dimensions would suggest, it feels quite big in the hands initially, providing solid yet useable feedback from the off. It is also very easy to pump, the extensive twist in the upper leech allowing the sail to fall away, break and breathe as the tight mid-leech and responsive mast provides the snap on the return. Crisp and positive in the hands, the Hornet accelerates quickly, feeling slippery and efficient through the air. It adopts quite a locked in and committed stance, the centre of effort around shoulder height and focussed around the rider, feeling perfectly balanced in the hands. You don’t really realise the performance on tap with the Hornet until you start drag racing your friends. Only then do you notice that its constant drive is being translated to yet more acceleration, pulling the board to greater top speeds. In transition, the Hornet feels balanced and manageable throughout, the cams rotating effortlessly on to the new tack as the sail settles quickly into its locked in position once more. For those that are looking for the top end stability and performance of a cammed sail, without the impracticality of a wide luff sleeve, you can’t go much better than the Hornet.
With a high-end price to match the high-end performance available, the Hornet is a real work of art, providing power, efficiency and precision over a mammoth wind range.
Other sails in this test: