SIMMER STYLE BLACKTIP 4.7M 2017 TEST REVIEW
The Blacktip is Simmer’s compact four batten wave sail, which, like the rest of the 2017 Simmer sail line-up, has been refined to become lighter this year, particularly in the head of the sail, thereby reducing swing weight. Designed for use on a 370cm RDM mast, it benefits from two Kevlar stretch control tendons that emanate from the sail’s single clew eyelet to the two upper battens. The eyelet itself has been moved lower in the Blacktip’s outline, to improve control in response to the rider’s naturally more upright stance when using multi-fin boards. Using x-ply and scrim to frame the sail’s monofilm window, Simmer are keen to point out that all seams and panels are aligned specifically to help distribute the forces in the sail, keeping weight down without sacrificing durability. With its stepped leech at each batten intersection, the Blacktip is very well finished, and whilst available in a total of three different colour ways, the team agreed that it was an attractive looking sail on the water, with its distinctive yellow head panels.
“The 2017 Blacktip presents the best overall combination of drive and manoeuvrability in our wave sail range. Blacktip is the most popular choice for the modern progressive wave riding style when you have multiple factors at play like apparent wind, gusty power bands, competitive crowds, and the need to get planing quickly to get out of trouble.”
Easy to rig and set, the Blacktip retains good rotation and depth to its profile low down, as the leech remains relatively tight in the sail’s two upper panels. In marginal to comfortably powered winds this translates to an excellent amount of bottom end drive, the sail feeling light and active, providing direct feedback through both hands. The centre of effort is low and centred around the rider, the Dacron in the lower section of the luff panel providing some movement and breathability, dampening the ride over confused sea states. And whilst its increments are comparable to most in the group, the step in the sail’s outline at each batten means the foot is cut higher, which, combined with the lower rake to the boom angle means the sail feels compact and easy. Even in the most volatile conditions, the Blacktip can be re-tuned with more tension in both downhaul and outhaul to retain its structure and lock its stability in place. As such, it is happy in any coastal environment and fulfilling any role, from the float and ride manoeuvre-oriented foil for the most dedicated cross-offshore thrill seeker, to the dependable powerhouse for the high wind bump and jump weekend warrior. On the wave the Blacktip really helped to inspire, with its positive low down drive into the corner, before becoming light and neutral as it was eased out, the twist in the leech providing the release at the wave’s summit. The power is so focussed around the rider, providing a truly connected and user-friendly sensation, the sail doing all that was asked of it without the slightest protest.
With real standout qualities and looks, the Blacktip has genuine lightness and feel to its power delivery, combined with a massive tuneable range. Liked by all who used it, it can fulfil any coastal sailing role.
Other sails in this test: