SIMMER ICON 5.6M 2019 TEST REVIEW
The Icon needs no real introduction, being Simmer’s all-time best selling sail and deservedly gathering quite a following over the years. A five-battened wave sail designed to “work in all types of conditions”, it is available for 2019 in two colourways as standard, or in a third full x-ply ‘Legacy’ layup for increased durability. Benefitting from the brand’s recent ‘vertical shaping’ methods, the Icon has hybrid luff panels with x-ply and Dacron used in the lower section and just x-ply in the upper. The seams themselves are then oriented in the direction of loading, helping to distribute the forces effectively and improve durability. This 5.6m is set on a 400cm RDM mast (the only one in this test group) and displays plenty of shape low and forward in its draft at rest, its two lower battens retaining good rotation around the mast. Use of the shorter mast signifies a real plus for reducing quiver cost … time will tell whether it’s an innovation followed by others. It is a certainly a bright attractive looking sail in this blue-yellow scheme and possesses all the usual attention to detail you’d expect of a product from the Simmer loft, such as the Kevlar Stretch Control System tendons, integrated battens and a large moulded tack fairing, which extends up the lower luff sleeve.
“The 2019 Icon features more curve in the top 25%, but with a breaking point for the twist lower down in the sail. This allows the sail body and mast to generate more energy which effectively creates a more dynamic sail body.”
Set full for light airs, the pull from the Icon’s draft is undoubtedly there in the hands, yet its bottom end drive isn’t as direct or as easily transferrable to the board as with some of the higher-aspect sails in the group. This is likely to be due, in part, to the softer 400cm mast, combined with the sail’s low centre of effort position, naturally pinning the board down. As the wind increases and pressure builds, the Icon’s profile depth expands significantly, thanks to the low Dacron luff panel, whilst x-ply used throughout the rest of the leading edge provides real crispness to the sail’s response. Accelerating quickly to an impressive speed, it locks into a very comfortable stance, pulling through every gust and gliding efficiently through lulls. It just feels so beautifully poised and balanced in both hands, the power delivery supremely smooth and dependable – a quality that is somewhat disguised in light airs, but fully appreciated when powered. Even in brutal gusts the Icon behaves impeccably, venting any turbulent energy and transforming the extra power into speed. It provides the impetus and confidence to charge around your sailing area; whether it be a wave break or flat water, its speed and composure make it a fantastic ally for bump and jump antics, hitting ramps and boosting airs. In transition, the Icon’s ability to pin a board down and settle it is a real asset in confused seas, giving the rider the courage to enter full-blooded carving manoeuvres. Carrying its speed into the corner, it becomes light and neutral as it is eased out and the battens push back round the mast, making its repositioning straightforward. Best suited for those that like to sail with a committed riding style, rather than marginally powered and on their toes, the Icon will deliver every time in powered conditions. It makes an excellent all-rounder, with the right blend of speed, balanced handling and dependable stability to fit any job description.
The Icon does its name justice once again, providing the handling, balance, speed and efficiency to compliment the most forceful and expressive carving styles. When the wind and conditions turn on, so does the Icon.
Other sails in this test: