SIMMER STYLE BLACKTIP 5.0M 2019 TEST REVIEW
The Blacktip is Simmer’s four batten wave sail, sitting neatly between the Icon and Tricera in their lineup. Available in two different colourways as standard construction, it is also produced as the Blacktip Legacy – a heavy-duty option with x-ply and PVC employed in the main window, plus an extra Kevlar stretch control tendon for additional strength and stability. Rigged on a new SX10 RDM mast, the Blacktip displays plenty of shape forwards in its draft, the leech falling away progressively behind the outermost tendon, whilst the two lower battens retain the slightest connection with the mast. Simmer have had great success with their so-called “vertical shaping” methods, spreading the skin tension more evenly up the luff to increase the size of the sail’s ‘sweet spot’ and improve handling balance. Still a relatively new concept, it has been incorporated in the Blacktip this season, along with more luff curve in the head and extended twist along the length of the leech. In doing so, the idea is that the lower section of the mast and main panels of the sail are afforded more freedom to breathe and generate power, increasing the sail’s range and usefulness. Craftmanship, material choice and detailing all add up to make the Blacktip a classy looking sail, setting very cleanly without a crease or wrinkle throughout its panels.
“Blacktip features ultra-light and direct handling, while also providing an extremely wide wind range. The compact outline offers a lot of front-end drive to generate speed in turns, the 4 batten profile extends the threshold of environments that one can venture out in.”
Using the Blacktip in various wind strengths and at several locations, we have to say one of its most impressive attributes is its extraordinary wind range on just one setting. Just rig it and go, it provides stunning plug and play ease, performing admirably without having to spend time constantly fine-tuning it. Light, compact and easy in the hands at rest, there’s depth to the profile to generate constant feedback and enough tension in the panels so that it’s not soft or soggy. As a gust hits, the movement in the lower Dacron luff panel enables the rider to pump and force energy into the board, the elastic limit in the luff sleeve and panels making the delivery direct and purposeful. Settling into a comfortable stance, the Blacktip can adapt to your riding style, be it ambitious and energetic, preferring to load and charge … or more relaxed and passive with an upright posture. Whatever your inclination, it feels incredibly compact and dependable at all times; there’s real balance to its handling, accelerating positively in gusts without a suggestion of getting ‘backhanded’. A great ally for coastal blasting, its clean practical nature can also embolden a novice rider’s resolve for riding waves, whilst finding favour with the more experienced, whom will love the useable power it provides for tight bottom turns. It doesn’t go as neutral or feather-light as some, yet the stability and ease of the Blacktip makes it easy for the rider to adjust their body position, before using the power available to their advantage.
With masses of natural range, the Blacktip marries balance and power with just the right amount of direct response to make it both rewarding and exciting to sail, giving it a wide user appeal, from novice to pro.
Other sails in this test: