I am somewhat puzzled by the various lines of sails that are made. It
is generally claimed that the modern slalom sails with loose leech are
good at spilling wind in gusts, and therefore (according to my
interpretation) capable of being good in a fairly large wind range.
Handling is also claimed to be easier due to this. Slalom sails can thus be
said to ''take all wind you can hold''. Likewise, Race sails have the same
claims but are usually bigger, and for Gaastra, size seems to be the only
difference between Slalom and Race, or are there any other differences?
Speed sails, on the other hand, are claimed to be extremely stable in
foil shape. Leech is not so loose and they don't seeem to twist as much as a slalom sail. Also, the booms are usually shorter than on Slalom. According
to ART, their speed sails are not as easy to handle as their slalom sails.
Speed sails can thus be said to ''take all wind there is''.
However, I have just borrowed for several hours a Gaastra '90 speed
foil 5.7m2 (4 cambers, 8 battens no monofilm) and used it for both
underpowered and severely overpowered conditions (from 4 to about 15 m/s
in the gusts). I have never before felt a sail that was so totally free of
foil deformation and absence of overpower feelings, except in the very
worst gusts where it started to push me down in that typical overpowered
way, whereas a normal sail would just slam me down ruthlessly. What
limited control was the board rather than the sail.
Now the questions: Why are slalom sails claimed to be better in gust
handling? Why are slalom sails claimed to be better in manouver handling?
To me, the speed foil seemed to be superior in its absence of overpower
feeling, and the short boom (1.75 m) seems to make it rather OK for
handling - the part the sail that is under the boom seems to be fairly the
same for speed and slalom sails, as opposed to wave sails that are cut
My suspicion is that perhaps, the speed foil, at least Gaastra '90,
simply is a better more accurately designed and manufactured sail. I plan
to buy one. What is your opinion? Perhaps Slalom designs are more 'trendy' and vogue sensitive. Perhaps loose leech is out of vogue tomorrow and slalom sails of tomorrow start look like yesterdays speed sails?
To complicate things even more: Gaastra have a speed/slalom sail? I
simply do not understand that combination, and what their catalog say
about it is to me totally unintelligable/contradictory. Especiallly the
'91 design of it looks very strange in the catalog - it doesn't even have
internal cambers and is still claimed to be speed/slalom??
Best Regards/ Harald
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Ellemtel Utvecklings AB
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