“An instant best seller and multiple test winner. Simmer’s most versatile wave sail, with full draft and moderate boom length, provides you plenty of power to move and gives effortless handling, even in the most powered up conditions.”– simmerstyle.com
On the Beach
Comparing measurements with last year’s sail, it seems that the change in proportion is actually fairly minimal – 2cm off the luff and 2cm added to the boom.
What’s more noticeable is the reduction in weight – from 3.88kg last year to 3.6kg, and, most importantly, it appears to have been saved from the head area of the sail with the addition of the new Q-ply.
This Icon certainly looks to set a bit differently to last year’s as well. The battens sit slightly further around the side of the mast, and there looks to be a little more draft in the sail. The luff sleeve is now designed around RDM masts, but will still be compatible with an SDM if necessary.
When it comes to tuning there’s still a lot of versatility there. You have a big range of adjustment on both the outhaul and downhaul to suit the conditions and your preference of feel. As with last year’s Icon it’s important to apply a decent amount of tension to the lower two battens to lock the stability of the sail.
On the water
Straightaway it’s apparent that it’s a little different to last year’s Icon. It feels lighter in the hands, slightly more forward pulling, softer / springier in feel and perhaps a little less grunty.
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. Power delivery (soft / sharp), sail stiffness (flexible / firm), sail pull (light / grunty) and pull position (forward / back). Its range is on par with the best in this test, but it does need to be tuned a bit to get the best out of each end of the wind spectrum. Luckily, tuning flexibility is second to none.
The top end is very good, but to get the best from the Icon you need to make sure you have sufficient outhaul. A few centimetres of outhaul (a little more than last year) are required to stabilise the sail and flatten the profile. The softer feel (this year) does mean the sail doesn’t sit quite as settled as it did before at the top end, but the softer power delivery and lighter feel are the trade-ups.
The bottom end is best reached with minimal downhaul (almost visibly tight leech) and a couple of centimetres of outhaul. In this set the Icon feels a lot like last year’s sail, with its balanced power – but be ready to apply more tension to both downhaul and outhaul as the wind increases.
On the wave the Icon is really nice and has definite improvements over its predecessor. Firstly, the sail does feel noticeably lighter in the hands. This lightness, combined with the softer, more forward-pulling feel makes it a nicer waveriding sail. It depowers on the wave a little better than last year’s, and the added spring and flexibility gives the Icon a bit more scope for landing jumps and ease of use.
The top end is where we feel the price has been paid for these advantages. It’s still very good and one of the best in test, but just not quite as settled and stable as we remember last year’s Icon, which was outstanding for its stability at the top end.
Overall, the new Icon is lighter in the hands, softer in feel and nicer for riding than its predecessor. It sits pretty much in the middle of this group for all the ‘feel related characteristics’, and has wind range to match anything here. Tunability is second to none, allowing the Icon to be set for a wide range of conditions and personal preferences, and making it one of the most versatile allrounders on the market.