Mistral Screamer 116 (RD) :
The Screamer remains the same for 2009, boasting a rockerline adapted from the Mistral’s SL slalom range, along with vee in the nose and tail for an extra bit of user-friendliness when the going gets tough, and a slight bevel in the board’s mid-section to help grip through the carve. It’s clearly one of the largest boards on test here with a width of 68cm, exaggerated visually by the flat foredeck and rather rounded nose outline.
The board features a good number of footstrap options and excellent fittings, the deckpads possessing none of the hardness of the Mistral pads of the past. The middle size in a three-board line-up, the 116 is available in either this light carbon Red Dot (RD) version or standard epoxy version.
Age has not dulled this board’s performance; it remains a top contender in this category for making the most of marginal conditions. Comfortable with a 7.5m sail (an 8.0 at a push), it revels in every ounce of power provided to release and accelerate to a good top end speed. On flat water with a light breeze it simply excels and really endears itself to the experienced rider, accelerating in the gusts while requiring very little input to trim for an efficient feeling ride. Pointing exceptionally well, the dome in the tail of the board is just right, letting the rider wrap their feet round the rail and drive all the power the sail can muster through the tail of the board. Hit a lull and the board autopilots through it, cruising smoothly until you can put the hammer down again.
In choppy seas and large rolling swell the board definitely requires more technical input, particularly downwind. Across the wind and upwind it’s still an engaging and enjoyable board to sail. Off the wind however, as the wind and sea state increase, the shoulders can catch in troughs while the width and dome in the tail makes it a challenge to alter your path quickly and weave through the swell.
In the gybe the board cuts into the turn well and on flat water has a degree of versatility once the edge is in. In typical coastal sea states it requires a positive mentality from the rider; you have to govern the board but with a tempered style so that it doesn’t trip on the shoulder and buck you off.
+Early planing and light / marginal wind performance, particularly suited to lake sailing.
-Control and downwind ease in more challenging conditions.
The Screamer remains a fantastic prospect for making the most of light and marginal predominantly flat-water conditions, for cruising or recreational racing.