WINDSURF MAGAZIN UK 04-2019 / RAPID 7.2 2019
OVERVIEW: The Rapid is Gunsails’ no-cam freerace offering, sitting in between their comfort-focussed freeriding Stream and twin-cam Sunray. It boasts seven tubed battens in its structure and a slalom-biased geometry, targeted squarely at uncompromised performance. Available solely in the racing/lime green livery seen here, it utilises a so called ‘cross batten concept’ where the second lowest batten crosses the boom, intended to provide maximum stability and aerodynamic efficiency. Rigged on a Select 100 SDM, it took some tension to downhaul fully, using the F.R.E.D. (Fast Rigging, Easy Doing) indicator in the upper panel for reference. As such, it has a moderate luff curve, the three lowest battens retaining good rotation around the mast whilst the leech falls away progressive along its length. Shape is fixed forward in the draft, with Dacron present in the lower luff panel, transitioning to x-ply further up the sail. There’s then a second x-ply luff panel and very little movement in the luff sleeve. With two distinct clew eyelet positions and plenty of detailing, including alternating battens, double stitched seams and beading along the most of the length of the two bottom batten pockets, the Rapid is certainly a well put together sail.
PERFORMANCE: Making use of the Rapid’s outer clew eyelet in marginal winds initially, it was noticeable just how much larger the sail feels compared to some of its peers, the higher eyelet still inset from the sail’s trailing edge. As such, the Rapid generates plenty of useable power through the backhand when a gust hits, the pre-shape and profile of the sail expanding lowdown and forward, thanks to the growth permitted in the lower Dacron luff panel. Accelerating smoothly, it settles quickly into a locked in stance, the low and forward centre of effort really helping to pin the board down and keep it accelerating through gusts. Neutral and balanced, it covers distance in real comfort, the ease and forgiveness provided initially by the lower Dacron panel being complemented with the direct handling bestowed by the secondary x-ply luff panel once the full depth and elastic limit of the profile has been reached. In transition the Rapid has the manners and rotational ease to be manageable, albeit its size is unmistakeable, taking more time than most to rotate onto the new tack. Instead, the Rapid is most at home being used for covering distance on master blaster sessions, where its balance and performance really demonstrate its value for money. As the wind increases, a shift to the lower inside clew eyelet really is transformative, the increased boom rake helping the rider to lock the sail even more confidently into place. A match for sails costing more than £200.00 dearer than it, the Rapid is the best contender we have tried from the Gunsails loft this year, offering freerace performance across a wind range than even the most demanding sailor would struggle to pick holes in.
THE VERDICT: Supplying useable power and effective tuning through its two clew eyelets, the Rapid has both the performance and range to make many stand up and take note, particularly when its price tag is considered.
PLANCHEMAG SPECIAL TEST 2019 / RAPID 6.7 2019
Slalom without Camber
The loose leech of the Rapid opens down to the fork and is the biggest in the group, it has a forward oriented profile, a concave leech cut and for 2019 two clew eyelets offset by 7cm. All battens are tube battens to better support the front profile.
ON THE WATER: The Rapid is one of the most sporty sails, it pushes strongly forward in a small breeze and then accelerates very strongly, a real cannon shot. It produces good draft, stands quite naturally on the board and has a little more draft on the backhand in light winds than last year. The upper eyelet extends the boom. It reacts directly, is a little bit more spicy than the average, it approaches even more a camless slalom sail, which pleases experienced sailors looking for ultimate planing without cambers. With the two offset eyelets the range of use, especially in light winds, is extended, a return to performance compared to last year. This more consistent performance is also reflected in a slightly more tiring long distance performance. With the lower eyelet placed inwards, you gain pure planing performance and control in a well blown on/overpowered condition and have a very high top speed on half and downwind course, but also less constant pull when the wind is less strong. You don't have to work so much with the back hand, you stay in pure planing with a Loose Leech, which lets out the excess wind while you keep on pulling. The sail will also feel lighter. In the jibe it's not the lightest of the group, but the profile rotates well.
CONCLUSION: A true camless slalom sail for less than 500 EUR, the Rapid is expanding its range again this year with offset eyelets and maintains its planing qualities and stability at high speed. It is compatible with an RDM, which further improves handling.
+: Increased performance, trim range increased in 2019, response, long distance, stability
-: For lightweights not the lightest in the jibe