Neilpryde Hornet 7.7m 2014 Test Review Report
The Hornet has quite a streamlined luff tube and just 6 battens and 2 cams. (Their no-cam freerace model has 7 battens for reference.) The Hornet sits alongside the RS:Slalom (tested in May 2014 issue), the wide-sleeved H2 Racing twin cam freerace, the Hellcat no-cam freerace and of course the PWA-winning RS:Racing EVOVI slalom sail in their go-fast, flat-water range.
‘Hornet is the sail of choice for sailors looking for easy planing, user-friendly handling and great performance. Six battens support the sail and two IntegraCams hold the profile in place and ensure high stability levels in gusts or when overpowered. The IntegraCams de-load during the rotation of the sail in tacks and gybes making them feel as though they’ve been removed from the sail. The result is cam-free handling in manoeuvres combined with cam-sail straight-line performance and low-end power. Hornet features the revolutionary Forceline Frame construction for dynamic load and shape control and even more durability.’
This 7.7 is noticeably light with a nice, tight sleeve that’s easy to rig and eliminates unwanted water penetration after a fall. Although this trip mainly tested the extreme top-end of most of the gear, in the rare lighter air sessions we were impressed by the early-planing performance that was particularly pleasing to the heavier testers. There’s plenty of power on tap and a pretty wide tuning band too. We’d recommend using an adjustable outhaul, even a basic one, on most sails, but this sail really does like to be deeper at the bottom-end and trimmed flatter for heavier going – but remember we were sailing in around 30 knots of wind on hellish rough sea for most of the trip. The cam rotation action is notably smooth and slippery – it’s super easy to kill the power/backhand entering turns – and the general throwaboutability very good. Pryde say this size can work on both 460 and 490 masts but we strongly recommend only dealing with a 460, even if you’re a heavyweight, as the 490 over stiffens the reflex in our opinion. In general the draft is nice and locked and, even past what is a reasonable upper wind range for a sail of this size, the profile stayed steady and very well behaved indeed. Although pretty pacy deep off the wind, the Hornet’s seems more set up to prefer straight-line reaching and promotes a nice upright stance to, literally, keep you on your toes and agile and ready to deal with messy water or to prepare for gybes. If you’re interested in some racing then we’d suggest maybe trying their 7-batten twin-cam – the H2 racing – or even the no-cam Hellcat, which we proved to be capable of a massive wind range and blistering top speed both off and across the wind.
An excellent across-the-wind blasting sail with smooth and unintimidating cam action and impressive wind range. The early-planing power will appeal to heavyweights and the tuning band can cope with wide range of wind strengths. Good match for performance freeride boards and as a step-up pick for intermediates.
Other sails in this test: