Olivier, you just got your brand new Bow 7.8 and 8.7 m². What is your first impression?
Fast delivery and well packaged as usual at GUNSAILS. I notice that the mast sleeve has been assembled to withstand rotation and curvature. There are no seams on the front of the mast sleeve and it is also reinforced.
The BOW is very easy to rig up, with much less luff tension than a GS-R slalom sail. You can't do any mistakes with just one eyelet on the clew. Because of the strong bend of the mast curve in the top, threading into the mast pocket is a bit tricky, but with the right technique also no problem.
How was the feeling on the water? In what wind conditions?
I just had a surf session where I could test the Bow 7.8 2019 and the GS-R 7.8 2018 in direct comparison. The board was a 135 litre slalom board. The wind was light to moderate. The planing is very good and even better if you actively help a bit, whether you pump or not. In light winds I definitely have more power and dynamics with the BOW, which leads to better planing and gliding.
On downwind: very simple, the rig feels very free in the hands compared to a pure race sail.
On upwind: a little less grip, but you get used to it! If you are familiar with camless sails, you won't be unsettled by the BOW either.
What do you think of the performance? What are the differences to a conventional racing sail?
The speed is very close to that of the GS-R sail, but it's mainly the feeling of the sail that is the difference! The Bow is playfully light in the hand and does not appear like a wall in front of you. It may look bigger, but with an easier handling. It's more efficient in low winds. The sail is perfect for short slalom runs and in gusty winds. It requires a little less effort in the medium wind range and the acceleration after the jibe is great, the cambers are not sensable. I am thrilled! For long drives you appreciate the BOW because of the autopilot characteristics you don't have to take care about the sail, you just concentrate on the board, it's a different philosophy when surfing.
Who do you think the BOW is designed for?
In my opinion the Bow is the perfect sail for everyone who wants to plan as early as possible without a huge sail! With the BOW you can choose a smaller size if the wind range is right, which still remains handy and lively despite its surface area. The Bow is ideal for all situations in the underpowered range, regardless of the course (whether Amwind or space sheet). The stronger the wind, the more the GS-R or Vector is in front, whereby I prefer the GS-R in gusty wind and the Vector to cope with choppy water.
The 4 cambers should not scare you off: When rigging they can easily be fixed to the mast and rotate smooth on the water. Finally, it is very easy to to handle, despite its technical appearance.