SEVERNE GATOR 5.7M TEST REVIEW
The Gator remains in the Severne lineup as their manoeuvre oriented sail for the “aggressive freeride rider”. Its brief retains the concept that Severne refer to as ‘progressive geometry’ meaning that each of the fourteen sizes in the Gator programme is designed for the conditions and environment it is likely to encounter. From waves and high-wind bump-and-jump for the smaller sizes, through to coastal blasting and onto marginal wind cruising for the largest, the focus has been to maintain a similar ‘light throw-around feel’ throughout the range. Using x-ply exclusively, the Gator now sees the addition of eM3 scrim used in its upper panels, (similar to that seen in the Blade and Freek), reducing physical weight as well as swing weight in manoeuvres, whilst also improving resilience to UV damage. There are some Spiderfibre tendons extending out from the clew to distribute forces and reduce the need for extra weight patching, and like last year’s sails, the seams in the head and foot panels have been hidden to reduce the risk of failure. It was rigged for test on a Blue RDM mast and displays a low to moderate amount of luff curve, the lower two battens sitting level with the mast’s leading edge. There is certainly evidence of some shape and profile to the front of the draft, yet it is relatively subtle at rest, whereas the leech displays an even looseness along its whole length.
“ The Gator sail range covers every type of windsurfing conditions from around the globe. From light wind freeriding to high-wind blasting. The core principles are durability, manoeuvrability and a consistent feel across all sizes.”
Using the 2018 Gator for the first time, it has the same familiar super light and easy feel in the hands. Different from what we recall of past Gators however is a directness to the power delivery, feeling crisper and more positive in the hands as the pressure builds. Pumping comes easy, the sail feeling alive and responsive as you drive power into the board. It quickly settles into a comfortable relaxed stance, the extra material in the luff sleeve enabling the draft to swell into a deeper profile. The centre of effort is high and forwards as before, but the Dacron luff panel has been replaced with x-ply, possibly going some way to explaining the sail’s more precise nature. It feels alert and instinctive – more immediate in the gusts and effective through the lulls, helping to glide through them until the power returns. In transition the Gator remains one of the standout sails in this category, going so light and neutral as it is eased out that it is effortless to reposition. An increase in wind strength can be countered by an increase in tension, allowing the leech to twist off and keep the centre of effort forward and driving. In extreme conditions, the Gator’s high stance does demand it be pinned down, the rider having to default to a more locked in and committed riding style, at which stage a change down may well be the more natural path for most.
With its now legendary handling credentials and a more alert and immediate power delivery, performance comes easy with the new Gator, making it a top choice for the progressing or ambitious freeride sailor.
Other sails in this test: