SAILLOFT QUAD 4.6M 2017 TEST REVIEW
The Quad is Sailloft’s manoeurve-oriented 4-batten sail offering “breath-taking control” for use in both freestyle and wave sailing. Developed in response to input from their international riders, the Quad has reportedly had its outline, batten profile and even mast sleeve size refined over time. Constructed in x-ply throughout most of its panels, it is designed with durability in mind and has some neat little features, such as a Velcro cover on the head of the bottom batten to protect both board and feet. The luff sleeve is made of a stiff polyester material, said by Sailloft to be more durable than the standard material, and more interestingly, less absorbent of water. According to the sail’s literature, the 4.6m can be used with both a 370cm and a 400cm mast, depending on rider weight. According to Sailloft, those weighing 70kg or less should opt for the short mast, whilst riders of 90kg or more should plump for the 400cm. Most of the test team fall directly between these weight parameters … so we tried the Quad rigged on both…
“The four-batten-concept and the new 4mill xply makes the QUAD our lightest sail. Planing power, together with top-end handling abilities helps you train and fine tune your new-school freestyle moves. In the waves it will offer you a strong drive in the bottom turn, outstanding handling during jumps and unbeatable control in the cut-back.”
Rigged on the 400cm mast, the Quad sets with a deep profile locked forward in its two lower battens, the leech twisting off well in its head panel. This translates to a good amount of bottom end power, despite the sail possessing the shortest boom length in the group. It does feel small and compact in the hands, the centre of effort positioned well forward in the draft, making the feedback light and manageable through the backhand. No doubt ideal for the freestyle connoisseur, offering the utopia of precise light handling for the latest intricate stunts, it also makes the Quad very useful around a wave break. In marginal winds, it may not have the power or response through the backhand of some others in the group here, to help drive the board through the bottom turn. Yet when comfortably powered, this lack of backhand feedback becomes less noticeable, leaving the rider to marvel at the Quad’s ease and neutrality mid-transition as they readjust, ready for the cutback. As the conditions build and the sea state becomes more severe, you really begin to trust the Quad, its stability and handling remaining dependable at all times. It can be retuned with more tension to extend its range, but actually possessed a good natural range on one set, in its own right. We did try the Quad on a 370cm mast, and whilst still perfectly useable, it did seem a little too soft for us, the marginal gains in ease of handling, being out weighed by the loss in bottom end drive. For us the 400cm mast was the right option, providing more depth and structure to the sail’s profile, generating the power to compliment its excellent handling.
The Quad combines forward focussed power with supreme backhand neutrality, making it a dream foil for the manoeuvre-focussed rider.
Other sails in this test: