The Poison is Gaastra’s all-round powerhouse sail for getting the most out of gusty conditions, be it flat or wavy. Sitting alongside the softer feeling Manic and Compact IQ, the Poison is the most powerful sail in the Gaastra wave range, and with its higher clew position and tighter leech it is aimed at heavier riders.
ON THE BEACH
It’s been two years since we last tested a Poison, and since then we’ve seen a change of designer from Dan Kaesler to Peter Munzlinger.
For 2012 reinforcement and construction have been among the top priorities, with the Poison getting a whole new construction in the lower part of the sail and just minor refinements throughout to tweak the performance.
The Poison sports one of the shorter luffs at 423cm while retaining a fairly ‘average’ boom length. At 3.91kg the sail isn’t overly heavy, but it is on the heavier side of this group.
While offering a degree of tuning and versatility to suit different preferences / conditions, we did find that the Gaastra seemed to work best with just one set through the majority of its wind range. Like other sails within this group it seems to work best with less downhaul. It’s a very powerful sail, and while the temptation is there to increase the downhaul once powered up / overpowered, it doesn’t really work that well. It’s best to keep the settings and simply change down when the power gets too much.
Sizes: 4.0, 4.2, 4.5, 4.7, 5.0, 5.4, 5.8, 6.2
Tested on: Gaa stra 100% RD M 400cm
Size tested: 5.4m
ON THE WATER
The Gaastra is a powerful sail. The pull point is slightly (and intentionally) back-handed, but with a very controlled back-hand power. At the top end it remains perfectly controlled and very stable – it’s just that there’s a lot of power to deal with. Nevertheless, for such a powerful sail it’s surprising how light it remains in the hands and how manoeuvrable it feels.
On the wave the Poison has plenty of power when you need it, but is well balanced, light and able to depower surprisingly well when required.
The downside to this is in very light winds, where the absolute bottom end power (to get you moving and onto the plane) isn’t quite as good as some. The Poison almost feels quite forward pulling and flat until the sail powers up a bit, and then the power arrives on the back hand. From that point onwards there’s plenty of power on tap – it just needs the sail to fill to turn it on. Of course this characteristic is what makes it remain manoeuvrable and easy to depower on the wave and through manoeuvres. It also makes it good for moves such as forwards, where despite having a backhanded sail you can actually get the power further forward when needed (by depowering the sail).
Despite having plenty of power, once filled out the Poison actually has quite a soft and forgiving power delivery, ensuring that you won’t be pulled off your feet every time a gust hits or you sheet in. The foil itself is a little firmer than most, while we would generally describe the sail as being quite ‘grunty’ with a slightly rearward pull position.
The Gaastra Poison is a super-nice power wave sail with a fairly unique trait of being quite a forward pulling sail when it isn’t loaded, and a more rearward pulling sail (and very stable) once loaded up. The advantage of this is that you have all the power and reassurance associated with a more back-handed pull position, but much better manoeuvrability and ability to depower when required. The downside is not quite as much power and drive until the sail fills out properly. Overall the Poison was one of the most manoeuvre orientated of the real power wave sails.