View Full Version : Please help in choosing a 9.5 sail - cam or no cam?

3rd June 2007, 07:34 PM
Hi all,

I am considering getting a bigger sail. My board is Starboard FT 148 and I have 490/55%/IMCS_29 mast which I would like to use with the new sail. My current sail is 7.5 Gaastra Matrix. I would also like the new sail to rig quickly (and with one person), too.

Now, the sail I was thinking about is Sailworks Retro 9.5 (no cam). I've read many great opinions about this sail, but on the other hand (and beacuse this brand is not popular where I live) my local buddies tell me that a no-cam sail will never outperform a cam sail of the same size. Is that true for Retro?

I've never really dealt with cambers, but my concern is they'll make rigging longer and that they make the sail heavier and harder to lift from the water. Is it really the case? Can you recommend a good and popular cam sail which would meet my criteria?

Any advice appreciated.


3rd June 2007, 09:30 PM
Whether a cammed sail will outperform a no cam, depends on what you want from it. Personally I think that you should go for a freerace sail (2-3 cams) in that size and for that board. Do not be afraid of the rigging/handling, thay are much "friendlier" than full-on race sails (very wide luff sleeves and 4-5 cams). You've got plenty of choice: North Daytona & Rtype, Pryde V8, Severne Overdrive, etc.


3rd June 2007, 09:58 PM
Hi Marek,

I don't think you would notice much difference in performance between a Retro and a cammed sail. But you would notice that the Retro is easier to rig and tune, and made of more durable materials. Anyway, you'll be able to switch to your 7.5 well before you are so overpowered on the Retro that cams would make a difference. So I would recommend the Retro or another camless x-ply sail.

If you do get a 2-cam sail, the Ezzy Infinity is nice because it has x-ply construction. I have the 8.5.

4th June 2007, 12:07 AM
Hi Marek,

You might want to consider the Hansen Sails FreeRace line too. I believe that they are the only brand offering a sail where you can go with 0/1/2 or 3 cams, so you can vary the amount of cam support you prefer, or go camless. Also, you can order monofilm or X-ply versions depending on your preference. In addition, you have 3 color variations to choose from (black, red or white). I currently have a black 7.1 on order right now. I can hardly wait to get it.


4th June 2007, 01:20 AM
Hi! I've got Gaastra GTX 10.5 2005, freerace 2 cams. Yesterday I was first time on the water with it. IT IS EASY TO RIG, REALLY! I have done it alone without any problems. Actiually I've got a feeling that it was easier than my NorthSails Superstart 5.0 2003! :)

It was not any hard to insert mast through cams, not any hard to do hand-by-hand fitting sail on the mast. Just one thing to remember, once you started to insert a mast into the sail do not put the sail on the ground until boom is attached, because battens with cambers are looking very towards ground and may be damaged under the sail's weight. Therefore before start rigging, collect everything you need near the sail (mast extension, boom, downhaul crank).

Smalladvice, get yourself a downhaul crank, don't put stress on your back and save energy for sailing. ;)

4th June 2007, 07:22 PM
Hi Marek,

Your 490 mast limits what sized sail you can use. Most brands will not rig larger than 8.5 on this size mast. A 9.0 Retro or V8 would fit on your 490 mast as long as the mast is compatible with the sail.

My thoughts on cams versus no cams free race sails. No cams are easier to rig. Cams are easier to water start because of the locked in shape. No cams are just as fast as cams as long as they stay in shape. Cams stay in shape better in stronger wind, this is most significant if you are well above average weight. No cams are easier in transitions.


4th June 2007, 07:48 PM
If you want to stick with the 490 mast, a 9.5 Retro rigs on a 490.

I have the 9.5 Retro, I use it with both my Formula Experience 160 and my HiFly Madd 162, great sail, very tunable. Easy to rig. I had a 9.8 Neil Pryde V8 first, good sail as well, but much more work to rig and tune, and it rigged on a 520.

Would a 2-cam 9.5+ provide a more locked in draft and more stability? Maybe a bit, but probably not too much. But it would probably also throw you up into a 520 mast.

Good luck with your decision...

4th June 2007, 10:16 PM
One of the responses proclaimed the 2005 Gastra GTX as easy to rig. I concur, but would also like to recommend the further evolution of that sail by Barry Spanier and the Team.

The Maui Sails MS2 8.5(3 cams) would rig on your 490 mast and provide some serious power out of the hole as well as stability at higher speeds. Compared to your Matrix(also a Spanier sail), you will think this sail is the cat's meow.

The only question you need to ask about any/all of the sails mentioned previously, as well as the MS2, is the compatablility of your mast bend characteristics to the specs for the sail. Sometimes the sail/mast match can mean a huge difference in feel and performance.

M2-cents worth.


5th June 2007, 01:26 AM
Anything bigger than 8 metres; especially for a big bloke ; needs cams.
Gaastra GTX is fantastic.Cant see how a no-cam could be any better; even rigging and handling.It never gets backhanded (Or by time it is doing you are on a 2 metre smaller rig (or should be)
Has a massive wind range and really is as easy as a no-cam to rig. (Its actually easier than my NP Sabers and Searches (with their tiny luff tubes)
Forget the no-cams except under 6.5 !B)

5th June 2007, 01:47 AM
As well as the sails mentioned above, the Tushingham Lightning 9.4 rigs on a 490 and cannot be faulted in it's tuning range. It is also very easy to rig. I can rig one as fast as a no cam sail.

6th June 2007, 08:28 AM
I would also add my vote to the GTX or mauisails MS-2 over a no cam sail.

6th June 2007, 03:30 PM

choise of sail type also depends on wind and water konditions.
Stabel side and onshore no cam is fine. When sailing in gusty unstabel offshore, a camed sail is better IMO. There you choose 1/2 ti 1 m2 bigger to keep speed and upwindability in the holes. so a camed freerace or race sail is better.

Dont forget the Severne Overdrive (3 cam), it is a very easy rigged sail, super tunable, light feeling. 4 roller downhaul system, I can easy overdownhaul my 8,5 with bare hands. Put in the mast, pop cams on, downhaul to specs., ready to go.
I would choose a new GTX or Owerdrive(works fine with 70% carbon masts).
The right mast and adj. outhaul is a must in these sizes, dont wast money and time on compromises.


6th June 2007, 05:11 PM
And how about North Sails DAYTONA 2007 10.0 ?? http://www.north-windsurf.com/sails/daytona

I just got a deal on this sail. It rigs on a 490/28-32 (with a NS carbon extender) which means that, like with Retro, I won't need a new mast and has cams, true, but NS's new HYPER.CAMS system promises easy rigging(?). Plus I like the brand and I wouldn't have to buy it in another country (support).
On the other hand it does not quite look like a beginner sail...

So what do you think? Should I go for NS Daytona or get Retro (for the same money)? How does these two compare?

Can't wait your opinions.


7th June 2007, 09:26 PM
Hey Guest
I haven't used a 10m Daytona, but I've used 9.0 a lot. Carbon xTender is maybe a nice try (with regard to quiver planning, spending less on masts, etc), but it doesn't work very well. That's not only my opinion, other sailors confirmed that Daytonas work much better on longer stiffer masts.
That said, I like Daytona very much, it's not a beginner's sail, but it handles better than a Warp and the cam rotation is the best I've ever seen.

8th June 2007, 06:25 PM
Go for:

Challenger Fluido 9.8 no cam sail that is made for 490 mast.


A great sail. I recommend it strongly!


12th June 2007, 11:58 AM
QUOTE: "Carbon xTender is maybe a nice try but it doesn't work very well."

Why ... I have a Platinum Xtender with a 460 mast and it is awesome. I cannot tell any difference at all. For what do you think that it doesnt work very well?

13th June 2007, 12:08 AM
Well something's wrong if can't tell absolutely no difference. Have you tested it side by side against longer mast? I have, I really gave it a try (Daytona 9.0). Maybe it's working better for lightweight sailors, I don't know. Many sailors confirmed what I've found, check the archives if you're interested (mark h, ola, roger, etc).

13th June 2007, 04:00 AM
I just spent an hour fixing one of the cambers and the batten in my 9.8 cam sail. While doing the repair I kept weighing the benefits of the cams. All my other sails are cam-less. But, I'm pretty sure when I replace this sail I'll get another cam model. I will test a 10.0 Retro before I make any final decisions, but I like the low end grunt I get with the cams... and the high wind stability.

I find it to be a tough decision for me. I know I would be happy with either.

13th June 2007, 06:13 AM

I got 2007 Daytona 10.0 the other day. I sailed it a couple of times (low wind + few stronger gusts).
What can I say...what a great sail. Great piece of technology, feels (and looks;-)) like a Formula racing car but was easy to handle.
Rigging is a joke, it rigs better than my Gaastra Matrix (no cam). Insert the mast (the pocket is wider, so it gets in easier) above the cams, dowhaul 70%, outhaul to the max (so the cams get in easier), open the cam pockets, push the battens down so the 3 cams get on the mast (they have rollers and get in very easily), finish/correct downhaul/outhaul and voila!
It pulls very strongly, but gently, sort of like you had your board pulled by someone with a rope, funny, soft feeling ;-). It doesn't get crazy with the gusts or wind direction changes - it just gently informs you that you need to adjust to the new conditions. I guess this is the effect of cams.
It rotates very firmly, too.
It is heavier and more difficult to carry or get off the water, but once it's up it feels light.
I can't wait to try it when the wind is stronger.
I use the carbon extender with my 490 and on the sails it says it's the "best" combination, whereas 520 is only "o.k."...why would North put it this way, not the other (520 "best"), if it wasn't the case?
The only thing I'm not sure is how to use "visual downhaul marks" that are on the sail (for outhaul it's obvious) - any thoughts?

So I guess I'm pretty much done with my sails for that board (FT 148). I'll keep 7.5 for these really strong days and try to use 10.0 in all other conditions.


13th June 2007, 07:27 AM
That's one of the options I've been thinking about... the Daytona and Warp are two I've been curious to test out. Thanks for the info.

How durable is the sail? Is it really all monofilm or is it made of something more durable than that?

The visual tuning marks are pretty simple... for light wind, set the downhaul so that the leach is loose to the mark closest to the leach. for high wind, set the downhaul so that the leach is loose to the mark closest to the mast. If there is only one mark, assume that the mark is ideal, use more downhaul for more wind or less downhaul for less wind. (did I answer your question???)

13th June 2007, 02:53 PM
Yes, you did. I realized that was the case right after posting (I got misleaded by two other marks near the downhaul - one short and one longer arrow - but they just mean: pull more for higher wind).

No, the sail is not all monofilm. The top three sections are made with non-transparent material (I think it is called x.ply, (kevlar reinforced?), but I am not sure). The rest is mono, so you can see everything.
Check: http://www.north-windsurf.com/technology/x-ply.en
It has other durability-enhancing features as well, check the link above.

The Warp you mentioned, and also Warp Formula look like more advanced race sails with more cams and higher mast requirements, so I figure they are way too advanced for me.

Have I already mentioned Daytona is a _beautiful_ sail? ;-)


13th June 2007, 06:13 PM
Guest wrote:
No, the sail is not all monofilm. The top three sections are made with non-transparent material (I think it is called x.ply, (kevlar reinforced?), but I am not sure). The rest is mono, so you can see everything.
Check: http://www.north-windsurf.com/technology/x-ply.en
It has other durability-enhancing features as well, check the link above.

The Warp you mentioned, and also Warp Formula look like more advanced race sails with more cams and higher mast requirements, so I figure they are way too advanced for me.

Have I already mentioned Daytona is a _beautiful_ sail? ;-)


Thanks for that. I knew the sail had x-ply in it, but I wasn't sure if they used it for any major panels. I was hoping they did though. All my non-cam sails are almost all x-ply and I like the durability they afford. Knowing the top is x-ply puts them higher on my list of options.

I'm not sure if I would actually get a Warp as they are more advanced, but it is something I am still considering.

I, too, like how the current North Sails are designed.

14th June 2007, 04:57 AM
I have the other North Sails sail of the "option": the R_type
While Warp has 4 cams, and Daytona 3, it has 2 camber inducers.
I got it in 7.8 and it works great: lots of low end power and it supports well gusts and lulls.
The VTS system works great, you just have to downhaul until you see the U profile reaching the target level; no problems with rigging..

14th June 2007, 07:27 AM
Hotsails do the 9.7 SpeedXP which goes on a 490. According to the designer, it pulls like an 11m+ formula sail.