“If you want a cammed sail that is light and tight, the Swift is your answer. With two cams you get good top end stability and will be able to keep the sail locked and loaded through the lulls. An easy to use cam sail that’s a great step from an RAF rig towards a more race like rig.”
on the beach
The Swift has the second longest luff (470cm) and the second longest boom length (207cm) in this test. However, because this Gaastra isn't a follower of the compact clew fashion the boom measurement is actually a bit misleading, and in fact the Swift is one of the tallest and most narrow profile sails in test, despite the relatively long quoted boom length.
The foot is cut fairly high, giving the sail a manoeuvrable feel, and the Swift is the only sail in test not to sport a cross-batten at the boom – a virtual requirement of the cutaway clew sails.
When set, the Swift rigs with a slightly fuller profile than Gaastras we've previously used. The fact that the head of the sail is narrower probably contributes to the leech looking a little tighter than most, but it's actually quite a versatile sail and can be tuned to suit a range of different styles and conditions. It's worth noting, however, that the top end is extremely good, and to get the best all-round performance from the Swift we found it best to back off the downhaul. It's also important to get plenty of batten tension on the lower battens to help encourage 'feel' and drive from the sail. We found the Swift to work best with a fairly minimal amount of outhaul.
Range: 4.5, 5.0, 5.5, 6.0, 6.5, 7.0, 7.5, 8.0, 8.5, 9.0
Mast: Gaastra 75% 460cm SDM
Sail + Mast: 6.88kg
on the water
The Swift certainly feels like part of the Gaastra family. It has that fantastically light feeling in the hands, and despite having a longer boom and luff length than most the Swift feels very manageable and was one of the most manoeuvrable in the hands.
The rotation is extremely good. There is actually quite a lot of shape right at the front of the sail, which encourages the cambers to flip around in a purposeful way – and impressively they manage this without any unnecessary clunkiness.
The pull position in a straight line is very stable and gives the sail an extremely light, effortless and balanced feel in the hands. ‘Easy’ is probably the best word to describe the Swift. It achieves a very good level of performance, but it’s the ease at which it manages this that is most notable.
While top speed is reached without fuss, there’s still just enough life and a sharp enough power delivery for an advanced rider to squeeze an extra margin when required.
In the hands the Swift felt a little stiffer than some of the other sails, which was most noticeable when pumping. It did make the sail feel quite settled though, particularly at the top end where the Swift was the most capable sail of the group. Bottom end power was also very good.
The Gaastra was comfortable, easy and fast in a straight line, but also manoeuvrable and nimble around the corners. It was very good right through the wind range, but most notable for its light feel and very easygoing nature. It was actually very hard to find fault with it.