"It’s pretty clear it’s a good sail because everyone seems to like it!”
“Really light in the hands – one of those sails that just encourages you to try things”
“Fantastic top end – not just because it’s stable, but because it’s still fun and controllable even when overpowered”
“The Manic has changed quite a bit for 2011, implementing some of the benefits of the new IQ into the existing Manic design to give it a shorter luff (5-8cm) with some extra area in the head of the sail. This kept the soft feel and the good on and off power delivery, with the dacron panel in front. On most sails in the Manic range the boom gets a notch longer (0-4cm). Due to the movement of most top level sailors onto 4-batten designs, in the smaller sizes we wanted to achieve a similar feel, but combined with the control that the 5-batten designs offered. It’s a morph of the IQ and the 2010 Manic”– Daniel Richter, International Brand Manager. gaastra.com
Well, you heard it from the man himself above – quite a lot has changed this year on the Manic! The luff on this 4.7 is 7cm shorter than last year and the boom 3cm longer. The set is also slightly different, with this year’s Manic looking to set with a slightly looser leech than last year’s (probably a result of the extra head width). As with the 2010 sail, it sets on a 400cm mast.
There actually seems to be a bit more tuning flexibility in this year’s Manic than its predecessors. Less downhaul gives a bit more bottom end power and a gruntier feel, while more downhaul delivers a smoother top end and lighter feel.
Gaastra have opted to avoid the compact clew design that’s become fashionable recently, and have kept things nicely simple with just one clew eyelet. At 3.51kg the Manic sits pretty much in the middle of this group for weight, but bear in mind that this is the Manic HD (heavy duty X-ply construction), yet still feels one of the lightest sails in the hands once on the water. If you want the ultimate in light weight from Gaastra, then go for the standard monofilm Manic.
Last year the Manic was a really good sail. This year it appears to be even better. In an era where many sail brands are diversifying and going more and more extreme with different concepts, the Manic remains a great sail that simply gets on and does the job without having to be extreme to justify its existence.
The Manic maintains its reputation for light handling. It’s incredibly light, but also very manoeuvrable, making it one of those sails that encourages you to throw it around a bit. This is particularly so when waveriding, where the sail depowers very easily and allows you to really focus on riding the board.
The Manic scores highest in this test for top end performance. As with last year’s model, not only is it stable, but it also retains its magical way of almost disguising how windy it is when you reach the top end. It remains extremely smooth in your hands and still gives you a feeling that you can go for manoeuvres that you definitely wouldn’t try when this powered up on other sails. Bottom end power has always been the weakest point of the Manic, but this year’s model is a marked improvement. It’s still quite technique dependent at the bottom end (due to the light back hand pressure), but there’s more grunt in the sail than previous years’ Manics, and reducing the downhaul a little has quite a positive effect on the bottom end power.
Overall, this year’s Manic feels a little softer and slightly more powerful than last year’s model, while retaining its incredibly light handling, manoeuvrability and top end performance. With the added refinement and extra power, the 2011 Manic makes a fantastic all-round wave sail choice for all but the heaviest riders in the lightest of winds, and was quite rightly a standout sail within this test.
Right to reply...