Jun 9, 2010
Hansen FreeRace HCL 7.1
On the water: The FreeRace is a 3-cam sail that follows a growing trend of camber-induced sails that can be rigged on a RDM. As expected from the sail with the most camber inducers and battens in the test, this is the stiffest and raciest sail of the bunch. The Hansen Control Leech (HCL) helps the sail progressively twist open in overpowering gusts and we were hard pressed to even find the sails maximum upper wind range. So long as we had the guts to keep sheeted-in, the FreeRace was willing go. But there’s more to this sail than just going fast. The relatively long boom length provides plenty of get-up-and-go for wide and slow to plane boards. Using a crank-tool to put serious tension on the sail lowers the draft to what we’d call mid-height for its size, which means that even in this setting it is still best on boards with some width in the tail and two rear straps. As expected with all these cams and battens providing stiffness, stability and speed, the FreeRace is a little more cumbersome in transitions.
Rigging: The FreeRace rigs up relatively easily for a three-cam sail. Simply slide the cams onto the mast as you thread it up the sleeve and use outhaul tension to help keep them on before downhauling fully. The only tricky part is the tack strap at the sail’s bottom, but this adjustment gives you another way to control the shape and tension in the sail to increase the wind range even farther.
Final word: The FreeRace is the fastest and most stable sail in the test.