Now in its second year under the Atlas moniker, NeilPryde’s power wave sail is accompanied in the 2012 wave line-up by the Combat (all-round bulletproof wave) and Fly 2 (4-batten wave). This year the Atlas has had a few minor tweaks to include higher skin tension for faster response, and double seam technology for more durability.
ON THE BEACH
Last year Pryde launched some great looking sails with their new laminated colour schemes. This year they look even more striking, with bolder colours. The Atlas sports the typically intricate Pryde detailing, and is slightly heavier (0.2kg) than last year’s model, reflecting the extra build quality Pryde are putting into their 2012 wave sails. Last year it was third lightest sail of the group; this year it’s second heaviest, but realistically it doesn’t appear to have had any negative effect on performance.
Luff length is shortest in test (jointly with the Simmer Iron), while boom length is second longest at 177cm. The Atlas can be rigged on SDM or RDM masts – ours was rigged on an X9 100% carbon RDM. The Atlas sets with a relatively loose leech compared to other sails in this test (particularly in the head) and a decent amount of fullness when filled with wind. Beware that while the leech might look excessively loose on the beach it actually tightens up a lot on the water, so don’t be put off and loosen that downhaul!
There is some degree of tuning flexibility on both downhaul and outhaul settings. However, we thought that it generally worked best with quite a bit of downhaul and not too much outhaul, which gave plenty of power at the bottom end and twist at the top end. The sail didn’t seem to be so comfortable when trying to flatten it off at the top end (more downhaul and outhaul) – it seemed to work best with less outhaul. When it gets too windy just change down.
Sizes: 4.0, 4.2, 4.5, 4.7, 5.0, 5.4, 5.8, 6.2
Tested on: Pryde X9 100% RD M 400cm
Size tested: 5.4m
ON THE WATER
The Atlas is a really nice all-round power wave sail. Set with a decent amount of downhaul and not too much outhaul, it had great bottom end power, a nicely balanced pull position, and a slightly softer feel than most of the sails in this group.
For jumping it was really good, with loads of power (in a useful position) for speed and height and a softer feel, giving good margin for error in the landings. You can see why Philip Koster likes this sail so much for Pozo!
It’s certainly powerful and grunty, but impressively also quite light and manoeuvrable in the hands for a sail with this much power. It was also really nice for cross-on waveriding, where it held power well in the clew-first position, helping to keep speed up through the turns in less than ideal conditions.
Being critical, we did find the Atlas had a slight tendency when set with less downhaul to feel a bit soft and flexible around the middle of the sail in gusts and chop. It definitely seemed to work best with a bit more downhaul and less outhaul.
At the top end it was controlled, balanced and stable, but was ultimately limited by how much power you could handle. The Atlas didn’t seem to work so well when flattened off, which made it less easy to get rid of the power at the top end. It seemed more a case of changing down rather than flattening the sail off once the power became too much to handle.
The Atlas is a great power wave sail combining stacks of low end power with a relatively light and balanced feel. It was great for jumping and riding, particularly in cross-on conditions, and could even be used successfully as a high wind flat water sail if required. It had a softer feel than most in the hands, and particularly so if set with lower downhaul tension. The pull position is slightly rear of middle and the top end is limited simply by how much power you can handle. The Atlas was never short of power.