Nowadays consumers tend to have an innate sense that if something is complicated or difficult, it must be better than something that is simple.
Take food, for instance. Sat at a table waiting for your jus-drizzled ensemble of painstakingly designed food to arrive, you might believe that you’re at the absolute pinnacle of gastronomic delight. But really, can you honestly say that it gave more satisfaction than the fried egg sandwich they serve at the local cafe after a cold day’s windsurfing? Possibly not.
Empirically, simplicity is often the key to happiness. Keep things simple and they generally work well. Complicate them and even with the best intention and design in the world, more often than not they end up a disappointment. So what’s that got to do with freeride sails? Well, many people make the step to cambered sails because they want a new challenge. They want to go faster and be able to hold on to a bigger sail in stronger winds. Whilst rotational sails have many strengths and virtues over cambers, there’s no doubting that cambered sails offer a sense of glide, stability and speed that rotationals simply can’t match.
Once you’ve resolved to make the step to a cambered sail, you need to decide how far to go. Looking through most brands’ ranges, you’re likely to see a thoroughbred, wide luff-tubed race sail, which will have around five cams. One step down from this and most will offer some kind of ‘detuned’ version of this sail – still sporting that wide luff tube, but trimmed down on the camber inducers to around three. And then at the bottom rung of cambered ranges, most brands offer a narrower luff-tubed ‘entry-level’ cambered sail, most of which are twin-cam.
Whilst it’s easy to be seduced by the full-on race designs’ promise of ultimate top speed, stability and kudos, there are some serious warnings that need to be considered…
Read the full test on our sister site, Boardseeker.com