SIMMER ICON 5.0M 2018 TEST REVIEW
The longstanding Icon remains in Simmer’s extensive wave sail range, filling the important position of their 5-battened worldwide wave sail. Said to be “the most versatile sail ever designed”, it comes in three different colour options and is also produced in an ultra durable ‘X’ construction, using X-ply and Q-ply material throughout. With its monofilm window, this standard Icon is described as light in weight and focussed on generating the power and speed to be useful on the wave, with a lower aspect ratio outline and more shape low and forwards in the profile. Possessing integrated batten pockets, Simmer’s reputed Kevlar stretch control system, and carefully aligned seams to distribute loadings, the Icon looks like it is built to last years of service and was tested here on a Simmer RDM10 mast.
“ The 2018 Icon has been optimized to deliver more drive and enhanced manoeuvrability, inspired by the latest mast curves and outlines we developed from the Blacktip and Apex.”
Dowhauling the Icon to display progressive looseness along the leech, it has lots of shape low and forward in the draft, the battens just touching the mast at rest. There is also a good deal of ‘excess’ material in the luff sleeve, which helps the sail to breathe into a much deeper shape the moment wind fills the sail on the water. Power comes on progressively thanks to a combination of this movement, and that provided by the lower Dacron luff panel. It feels solid and balanced in the hands, the power delivery soft initially until the leading panels reach their full elastic limit and the influence of the x-ply in the second and upper luff panels is felt. It’s as is if the sail comes to life and provides a much more direct and instant response. In the most marginal winds, this movement can make the sail feel a little subdued in lulls, as the profile contracts to a shallower profile. Yet use the Icon in comfortably powered to overpowered conditions, and you really learn to appreciate the virtues of the design style. Using less outhaul the sail provides masses of forward grunt, helping to push the board onto the plane and pin it down to the surface of the water. It is a great exponent for coastal bump and jump blasting, the stability and dependability of the Icon never in doubt, even in the most violent conditions. Crank on the outhaul and the effect of the luff sleeve is reduced, allowing the feel of the no-stretch x-ply luff panels to come into play sooner. It feels tauter and more responsive in the hands, more alive and positive, encouraging the rider to dominate the next wave or ramp. In transition, the balanced forward-driving power is there to commit forcefully the turn, before the draft reduces and power backs off as it is eased out, making the Icon easy to reposition. When other sails in the group are trying to extend their light wind performance, the Icon remains true to its roots, providing power and dependability when the chips are really down.
The Icon proves that five batten sails still very much have a place, coming to life as the wind turns on. If you tend to sail in variable winds and opt to sail powered to combat the fluctuations, the dependability of the Icon can’t be bettered.
Other sails in this test: