“Simmer’s most versatile wave sail, with full draft and moderate boom length, Icon provides you with plenty of power to move and gives effortless handling, even in the most powered up conditions. For 2012 we have reduced the weight in the top third of the sail by using more 2mm Q-ply, and given it a more compact outline.”[Rollover a clone to see what he has to say…]
Over the past few years the Simmer Icon has become something of a benchmark sail within the all-round wave sail group, thanks to its great handling, versatility and wind range. In 2012 it remains in the Simmer range as the ‘all-rounder’ alongside the Iron ‘power wave’ (tested last month) and the 4-batten Blacktip.
For 2012 the Icon sees subtle tweaks rather than the leap in design that the 2011 model provided. These tweaks are aimed at reducing weight, improving twist and making it more compact in outline.
To this end we see the luff length shrink by 4cm this year, while the boom length increases by 1cm. After a big drop in overall weight last year, another 0.2kg has been lost, bringing the 2012 model down to a very respectable 3.42kg. Impressively, it still looks bullet-proof in construction and one of the best built of the group. Our only minor niggle concerns the Simmer logo printing, which seemed to be rubbing off very quickly indeed.
The Icon sets subtly differently to last year’s model. The battens sit slightly further around the side of the mast, and there looks to be a little more pre-set shape in the battens this year. Since last year the luff sleeve has been designed primarily around RDM masts, but will still be compatible with an SDM if necessary.
When it comes to tuning there remains a lot of versatility thanks to the extra pre-set shape in the battens – arguably even more than last year’s model. There’s a large range of adjustment on both the outhaul and downhaul, allowing the sail to be to set to suit conditions and your preference of feel. Be a little careful not to over-downhaul as this can really reduce the bottom end performance, and there really is no need as the top end is so good anyway.
Sizes: 3.4, 3.7, 4.0, 4.2, 4.5, 4.7, 5.0, 5.3, 5.6, 5.9, 6.2
Tested on: Simmer RD M10 400cm 100%
Size tested: 4.7m
Straight away it’s apparent that this sail is a little different to last year’s Icon. It feels lighter in the hands, slightly more forward pulling, and a little crisper and more stable than the 2011 model. Compared to the other sails in this test, the Icon sits pretty much right in the middle of the group for everything related to feel. Its overall wind range is (jointly) the best in this test, with its strength leaning ever-so-slightly more towards the top end of the wind range.
The extra shape in the battens (and at the front of the sail) do seem to have increased the ‘untuned range’ a bit this year, but for maximum performance right through the wind range it’s worth doing a bit of tuning.
The top end is exceptionally good – even better than last year’s (thanks to a bit more stability and lighter feel), and jointly the best in test. Last year it was important to pull on a little outhaul to gain stability at the top end, but this year the extra shape and fullness at the front make this less critical. It certainly feels a little lighter and more stable than last year’s model.
The untuned range is very good, but to get the best bottom end performance it’s best to release the downhaul a bit and add a centimetre or two of outhaul for a sharper, more direct, powerful feel. The great strength of the Icon has always been its versatility, and this year is definitely no exception. Whether it’s blasting fully powered in Pozo chop or frontside riding in marginal conditions on a modern quad-fin board, the Icon excels right through the range.
In cross-on conditions the Icon stands out for its light feel, stability, slightly forward pull point and massive wind range. In cross-shore conditions the light feel, ease of depowering and raw power to get out through the surf make it a formidable allround wave sail
A subtle but successful tweak on the 2011 model keeps the Icon right at the front of the ‘all-round’ wave sail group. This year it’s a little lighter, a little more stable, and consequently sees improvements to handling and at the top end of the wind scale. But the most impressive trait of the Icon is its versatility. Light wind or strong, cross-on or crossoff, heavy or lightweight rider, it really is hard to find fault with the Icon.