2012 sees the Eclipse into its third evolution. It’s marketed as the ‘worldwide’ power sail designed for all-round wavesailing, and sits in the Goya range next to the Guru (a more waveriding orientated sail) and Banzai 4-batten concept sail.
ON THE BEACH
The Eclipse has been on a serious weight saving mission over the past two years. Last year they shaved off 0.35kg, and for 2012 it sheds a further 0.26kg, making it the third lightest sail in test and giving it an impressively light feel in the hands. Remarkably the build quality still looks extremely good, and at first glance you could be fooled into thinking it would weigh a lot more.
The aim for 2012 was to reduce weight and improve top end. Last year we loved the Eclipse (particularly in lighter winds), but did feel that it held its power a little too much. This year work has gone into addressing this by moving that power forward a bit.
The Eclipse includes a recommended trim system, which is great as a rough guide to get you started. From there you can tune a little either side for personal preference. We actually found the Eclipse worked best all-round with a bit less than recommended downhaul. On the beach, it almost looked like too little downhaul, but on the water it gave the sail a great wind range and a very smooth, light performance. The outhaul we found best set to minimum (neutral), which combined with this lower downhaul setting just seemed to work really nicely. The Goya offers two clew positions and we definitely preferred the upper option this year. As with other sails it seemed to lock the stability in place a little more, although shorter riders may find the boom angle works better in the bottom eyelet.
Both luff length (427cm) and boom length (175cm) are fairly moderate within this test group, with the Eclipse 5.3 working best on a 400cm RDM mast.
Sizes: 3.4, 3.7, 4.0, 4.2, 4.5, 4.7, 5.0, 5.3, 5.7, 6.2, 6.8
Tested on: Goya 90% RD M 400cm
Size tested: 5.3m
ON THE WATER
The most noticeable thing about the Goya is how light it feels in the hands this year – it really is quite a different sail (and for the better in our opinion).
It still has plenty of power at the bottom end (when set as described above), but it now has such a smooth, stable and light feel to it through the wind range (right to the top end). It’s quite a firm feeling foil, which definitely helps with this smoothness and control at the top end.
We really did find we got the best from this sail (even when well powered up) with less downhaul than recommended, very little outhaul (neutral) and using the top eyelet for the clew. It’s perhaps the lighter feel that lets you get away with this, as the sail is now a lot more manageable than it was last year.
The lighter weight also pays dividends when it comes to manoeuvres and waveriding. Last year the Eclipse felt quite locked-in and not so manoeuvrable in the hands – particularly when well powered up. This year, it’s a lot more agile and actually makes you want to try more things. As we found with the Pryde, the power is in the just the right place for waveriding, giving you plenty of drive and speed through the bottom turn, particularly when in the clew-first position in cross-on conditions.
Thanks to this power and stability it’s also great for jumping, although with that slightly firmer feel it’s perhaps not quite as forgiving as some on landing.
The pull position is very balanced, and we’d describe it as neutral (right between the hands), while the power delivery is slightly on the sharper / more responsive side of this test group.
Initially it doesn’t look like the Eclipse has changed much for 2012, but on the water there really is quite a big difference and an improvement that makes it one of the best all-rounders in this test. It’s a lot lighter in the hands this year, has plenty of power at the bottom end, a smooth, light and stable feel at the top end, and plenty of manoeuvrability on the wave and in transitions. There is also quite a bit of versatility in settings to suit different conditions and styles, but we believe the best all-round performance is delivered with less than recommended downhaul and neutral outhaul (using the top clew position).