NEIL PRYDE V8 7.7M TEST REVIEW
The V8 remains in the Neil Pryde lineup, available solely in the green-yellow colourway for 2018 in an otherwise unaltered package. A twin-cam freerace offering, it benefits from the practicalities of a narrower luff sleeve, yet has been designed alongside the brand’s reputed full race programme to provide “true race sail performance”. Using a couple of their compact Integra cams, Pryde have managed to create a deep profile in the V8, which is locked low and really far forward in the draft, whilst the cams rotate smoothly in transition. It also sees the use of the brand’s new integrated batten pocket system – a construction process adopted by most lofts today – to ensure symmetry and consistency between tacks. Rigged on a top quality TPX100 mast, the V8 possesses slightly less luff curve than many in the group, the leech falling away cleanly and progressively along its length. It has a decidedly high aspect appearance – tall in luff yet short in boom length compared to most. There are two stepped clew eyelets available, each with very defined parameters according to the rigging guide and both reinforced with internally laminated Kevlar strips to evenly distribute the loads. With new visual trimming guides in the upper panel, the V8 is easy to set and doesn’t require the loading or tension of others in the group, dispensing with features such as a tack strap. So how would it fair against them on the water? Time to find out.
“I merged the advantages of wide, race inspired luff sleeve design and a deep powerful profile with soft rotation, easy rigging and light weight made possible by the Integra-Cam. The result is an incredible acceleration from the get-go, excellent middle wind range top speed and upper-end camber-supported profile stability.” Robert Stroj
With its short boom / high aspect and twin-cam / narrow luff-sleeve configuration, it is no surprise that the V8 feels small and manageable in the hands from the off. On minimum set, using the higher clew eyelet, it is still capable of generating a good deal of bottom end drive through the reduced luff curve helping the sail to feel alive and breathable as you pump it. Pull assertively through the arms and it flexes away beautifully before snapping back and punching the board forwards. Accelerating smoothly it rocks back and settles into a balanced and comfortable stance, feeling crisp and positive as it continues to accelerate in gusts. It really is a pleasure to use, generating the power you’d expect of a sail of this size, yet with the light handling and response of a much smaller sail. This becomes even more apparent in transitions, the V8 providing the balanced power to enter confidently, before being incredibly easy to move and reposition mid-turn, the cams snapping firmly round into place as soon as pressure is applied on the new tack. Put this into the context of a race scenario and the Pryde could be your secret weapon round the corners, providing the ability to pick your path before bestowing instant response and pumpable power at exit to leave your competition behind. As the wind increases, the V8 can be re-tuned with a couple of centimetres extra downhaul, which combined with the lower clew eyelet makes a big difference to the sail’s performance. Visibly extending the amount of twist in the leech, it feels fast and efficient in powered conditions, pinning the board down whilst retaining a crispness to its nature that belies its size. It may not have the slippery feel or top-end gear of some in this group, but its speed is certainly no embarrassment and given its handling and ease, it is a small price to pay.
The V8 demonstrates clearer than ever that twin-cams undoubtedly have their place in the market, marrying sublime handling with near race programme performance.
Other sails in this test:
TEST OVERVIEW PAGE