For as long as I can remember, wave sails have generally been held in shape by five battens. There were a few exceptions to this rule – the Naish Boxer and NeilPryde Core spring to mind – but these sails were always perceived as fairly niche products and were never really able to entice the mainstream.
We have to admit that we struggled with this sail. We only had limited time on it, so perhaps we’re missing something, but it felt like the power was very high up in the sail and a bit unsettled. Despite rigging it a number of different ways, quite honestly we just didn’t find anything that really clicked. It is however very light in weight, manoeuvrable, and looks stunning on the water in its black and orange colour scheme.
That was until Kauli Seadi won a world title using a Naish Boxer, and then promptly swapped sponsors to NeilPryde and was rewarded with his own 4-batten signature sail, The Fly.
Most of the major sail brands have now followed suit and produced their own version of the 4-batten wave sail, and if what I hear is true, we’ll be seeing a few more coming along for the ride this year.
But really, what are they all about? Are they honestly a useful improvement / alternative to the 5-batten sail, or are they simply the result of a lot of marketing hype coupled with the very specific needs of a few elite sailors who like to wear shorts over their wetsuits? It was time to get our Clones out of hibernation and into action…
Now, before I go any further, we need to make a little confession: unfortunately the wind during this test just did not play ball and we were gifted with just two days of suitable conditions to ‘test’ these sails in.
I’m really not a big fan of making test results up, so this test is a little different to our norm. But actually, I think that perhaps by default rather than design, it’s very well suited to this group of sails.
To clarify, I have to question what, exactly, is the point in me wasting 10 pages tearing apart the intricate differences between each brands sail when most people dont even know if they want one. What we (and most people) want to know at this stage is should we even be considering a 4-batten sail, and if so, why?!? So thats the question this test tries to answer. In our two days on the water we were able to have a go on all six of the available sails and get some first impressions. Well talk about these later on, but for now there can be no better source of information on these novel new sails than the designers themselves. So let’s hand over to them to clear a few things up for us…