Insights from the R&D team

The development of race equipment not only requires a boundary-pushing approach to product design, materials, and manufacturing, but also countless hours of testing, close team collaboration, and well planned logistics.

With the most complete race sail range offered by Severne to date, we caught up with head tester Gonzalo Costa Hoevel for a Q&A about this year’s race sail range, as well as, a peek into what to expect in the future.

Q. Let’s start with the basics. Could you give us some insights into the 2021 race sail program?

A. Yes, let me first break down the two sails which have seen major upgrades.

The Mach 4 design brief;

  • We wanted to have more power on the slalom range and at the same time, we wanted to make it perform better on the foil. So for the sailors that wanted to go on the same sail on fin or foil, they could do so on Mach 4. The outcome was a full-power slalom sail with updated geometry to significantly improve performance on the foil.

The HyperGlide 4 design brief;

  • A pure, foil specific slalom sail where top end speed and handling are priorities. The HyperGlide 4 has a huge range, works extremely well in the high end, has great acceleration out of the gybes and starts, and is extremely easy to handle.

Q. What happened to HyperGlide 3? It seems there was a jump from HyperGlide 2 to HyperGlide 4? What is the role of the HGO now?

A. Actually early to mid way into the 2019 season we started working on the HGO with the HyperGlide 2 as the base. By that time, the HyperGlide 2 was already a race-winning sail with multiple major titles to back it up.

We had the World Sailing trials in October for the iQFOiL equipment and we wanted to have an evolution of the HyperGlide 2 for that event, which ended up being called HGO (HyperGlide Olympics).

The HGO design needed to work for all the different formats of racing presented with the iQFOiL. So we focussed on a sail that would work not only on an upwind/downwind base but in slalom too. Also we wanted to make it extremely easy to handle for all of the new foilers, as well as, being suitable for marathon style racing. The first two sizes that were developed were 8.0 and 9.0.

After winning the tender in October 2019 and having a huge success we continued with the same design features and developed the 9.5 and 10 sizes.
Unfortunately, there was no racing in 2020 for the PWA, but there were Formula Foil Worlds where the HGO came 2nd, and of course, there was a lot of iQ racing.
For 2021 we decided to work on a pure foil slalom sail and after a lot of R&D, we managed to make an extremely easy sail not only for foil slalom but as well for foil speed – The HyperGlide 4.

Q. When should someone go for HGO and when should someone go for HyperGlide 4?
A. When you are all into foil slalom and foil speed the HyperGlide 4 is the one to take! As well we offer it in 6.0 and 7.0. When you want to go for course racing on top of slalom then the HGO is the suitable sail.

Q. Could you have a quiver with Mach 4 and HyperGlide 4 combined?
A. Yes you can, I would take 9.0 HG4, 8.0 HG4, 7.8 M4, 7.0 M4, 6.2 M4, 5.5 M4. If it is not 7.8 middle board, then you really want/need to be on foil to be competitive.

Q. Why does the HyperGlide 4 in sizes all the way down to 6.0?
A. There are a lot of foilers that want to stay on the foil no matter what the wind does. This is something we are seeing more and more. So we wanted to provide an easy, fast, extremely fun couple of sails (7.0 HG4 and 6.0 HG4) to cover that range. Both of these sails make foiling in 20+ knots a lot of fun.

Q. How do you see the role of foiling develop in slalom racing?
A. I think that foil slalom will continue its evolution and will be used in more and more wind.

2018 PWA foil world champion and head tester Gonzalo Costa Hoevel

Q. What is the R&D team working on at the moment?
A. This is pretty secret, but we are working on getting foil sails that feel as light and effortless as possible. We want to break speed boundaries and for that, we need easy and controllable sails to help you keep your trim in the air all the time. At the moment we are managing to get 9.0 sail size feel as easy as smaller sails but keeping the power. As for slalom, the progression is ongoing, and we will always be seeking to be at the forefront of technology to give our team the tools they need to reach their goals.

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