Weight (kg): 3.52
Size (m): 4.5
Rec. Mast Length (cm): 370
Luff Length (cm): 389
Boom length (cm): 159
Price (£): 529
The Gaastra Manic had a bit of a personality transplant several years ago. Traditionally, the Manic sat alongside the Poison as the lighterweights sideshore wave sail, and a great job of this it did too. It had extremely light handling, with a very forward pull point making it one of the most fun, manouverable sails we had ever used. If there was a weakness to be found however, it was at the bottom end, where the sail lacked grunt, particularly for heavier and power hungry riders. So three years ago, with a change of designer, Gaastra set about re-engineering the Manic. We have to be honest and say that whilst the Manic improved it’s bottom end, we felt that it all but lost that light, forward pulling handling that made it so good previously. For 2015 however, there has been quite a change made to the Manic and we are pleased to report that the overall result is much improved.
Gaastra are clearly fans of shorter luff lengths at the moment with their IQ sporting the shortest luff of this test and the Manic the third shortest. Boom length is on the moderate to higher side of this group, whilst the weight was second heaviest of the group for this monofilm version. Gaastra also offer the Manic in an HD X-ply version.
When it comes to tuning, the Manic has some range of adjustment, but not a lot. If you don’t get enough downhaul on, the leech doesn’t release properly and the sail feels top heavy. Too much downhaul and it kills the sail. Get it right however and the Manic delivers a really good all-round performance.
On the water
In light winds (non-planing), the Manic feels very light in the hands. The battens sit flat with minimal pre-shape in the sail and the power feels a little more rearward than the majority of this group. This flatness is what helps make the sail feel so light in wobble and ride conditions. However, it also makes it a little less efficient to get planing. The sails with more pre-shape can start to generate power (and forward pull) as soon as you start to pump them. The Manic, with less pre-shape and more rearward pull position, doesn’t come alive until there is enough wind to fill it. However as soon as it is filled, the power arrives and it is then one of the quickest accelerating sails of the group.
Within it’s range, the Manic is a really nice all-round wave sail. That more rearward power delivery gives it plenty of power (and grunt) and makes it quite responsive in the hands. It was in fact one of the sharper power deliveries of the group. For wave riding, that lift on the backhand can be a real asset for squeezing more speed and drive in marginal conditions.
At the top-end, that more rearward pull position makes the sail a little less easy going than some of the others, but it still remains well mannered if you have enough horse power to keep it in check. It’s definitely one of the firmer sails, thanks in part to the 5 batten configuration, so keeps its stability well.
Overall, the Manic is quite unique in the market at the moment in that it offers superb all-round performance, from wobble and ride, right through to onshore jumping conditions, but with a slightly more backhanded, sharper and gruntier feel than its direct competitors. If you like to feel a bit of power in your hands, then the Manic is pretty much unrivalled as an all-rounder within this group.
Good drive out of the bottom turn in its wind range
Great, rounded wave sail for all conditions, especially if you prefer a bit more of a rearward pull.
When its windy, it makes you work a bit harder than some of the other sails because of the more rearward power point.
Who should buy this sail?
Someone looking for an all-round wave sail, for all conditions, but favours a gruntier, more powerful feel.
Sails were tested at the TWS centre in El-Medano, Tenerife.