SAILLOFT BIONIC 5.3M 2016 TEST REVIEW
The Bionic sits in the Sailloft range between the Curve and Quad as their five batten freestyle-wave sail. It uses a unique Kevlar fibre laminate that the brand is calling ‘Bionic fiber laminate’ in the lower panels around the window and graphic, to reduce any movement in the draft and stabilise the power of the sail. Interestingly, there is also a small patch on the starboard side, just under the head of the sail, we presume to help distribute the loading there as well. Another noticeable feature is the use of x-ply in the narrow batten pockets above the boom, said to “transmit tension more effectively”. Rigged on a Sailloft RDM mast, the Bionic sets with the bottom two battens sitting right next to the leading edge of the mast. There is a good deal of shape low and forward in the draft of the sail, with moderate looseness radiating progressively down the leech from the top panel.
“The best of two worlds! In the new Bionic we merged the concept of the Curve with the philosophy of the Quad. It combines the power of our wave classic with the perfect on/off performance of our popular wave-freestyle sail.”
Set with minimal tension, the Bionic has a deep profile that delivers constant balanced feedback. The power delivery is soft and smooth rather than crisp or direct, the drive building as the sail gains momentum. There is no real movement in the draft, not breathing or stretching as the wind fills, so it prefers power to gather organically rather than the rider trying to force the issue through pumping. The centre of effort is locked low and forward in the sail, pinning the board down nicely and offering a safe, dependable power source, particularly welcome in confused conditions. As the wind increased the structure remained secure in the bottom batten of the sail, yet the mid-leech tended to blow out, pulling the centre of effort up and back, thereby making the sail become backhanded. A retune with more downhaul tension helped to settle this decay, the shape low down only reducing slightly as a result, whilst it firmed the profile up and allowed the leech to open more effectively. It is quite a passive sail in the hands – balanced and controllable, with an easy, soft nature that allows the rider to concentrate on their own performance. As such, it is equally at home on flat water as it is in a wave environment, offering secure, dependable power over a wide tuneable range.
The Bionic boasts a unique laminate cloth, locking shape low into the sail to provide a stable, dependable power source over a wide tuneable range.
Other sails in this test: