GOYA BANZAI 2016 – Tested by Adrian Jones
PRICE – £579
BANZAI – 4.5m
Battens – 4
Luff – 397cm
Boom – 155cm
Rec. Mast – 370cm
Weight – 3.37kg’s
ON THE BEACH
For 2016 Goya have made a step change in the appearance of their sails. From relatively low-key colour combinations over the past years, we now have super-vibrant gold, green, blue and red colour options that look fabulous and definitely make the new 2016 sails some of the most distinctive on the water.
The Banzai is Goya’s all round wave sail and sail of choice of 2014 PWA World Champion Marcilio Browne. It is complimented in the range by the 3-batten fringe and the PVC windowed riding orientated sail, the Guru.
For most sailors, particularly those in Europe the Banzai would be the go-to sail of choice. The Banzai is offered in an incredible range of sizes from 3.15m (new for 2016) up to 6.3m and all sizes share the common theme of a 4 batten layout.
Looking at the dimensions, the Banzai has a relatively short boom and moderate luff length compared with other brands sails in this size. The weight however is impressive at just 3.37kg’s.
We love that Goya provide a visual rigging guide (a dot at the top of the sail) for setting the downhaul. So many guide measurements are inaccurate and rely on using the correct extension and boom, so by far the best way to get the sail set in the way it was intended is through a visual system such as the one on the Banzai. Only one dot is given, because the Banzai is designed to set with just one downhaul setting for all conditions. Tuning is then achieved on the outhaul instead.
We found the recommended downhaul setting to be absolutely ‘spot’ on although there is definitely a tiny bit of scope for tuning either side of it if you so wish. Goya are fairly unique in offering two eyelet positions for the outhaul. Normally we would be leaning towards the simplicity of just one, but the fact that the two positions do make such a difference to the feel and range of the Banzai, does give it a fair excuse for the added choice and complexity. The top eyelet gives a firmer, more powerful, more lifting feel, whereas the lower eyelet, locks things down a bit better and gives a softer more forward pulling feel. We used it in the bottom setting 90% of the time, but did find it an advantage to use the upper position in lighter onshore conditions.
ON THE WATER
The first thing you notice about the Banzai is how light it feels in the hands. Some sails weigh light on the scales, but then feel heavy on the water due to the pull position and general characteristics of the sail. The Banzai is both light on the scales and in the hands.
The lightness and shorter feeling boom give it a very manageable and maneuverable feel. Its one of those sails that really encourages to throw it around a bit and gives you the confidence to try maneuvers even when well powered up.
There is a very soft feel both to the power delivery and also the rigidity of the sail in general and this again, keeps things leaning towards the maneuverability and handling end of the spectrum.
The power position is fairly neutral (front hand to back hand), but perhaps slightly higher than on some of the more onshore orientated 5 batten sails. This slightly higher pull keeps the sail driving through the turns and gives you enough feedback in the hands to make the sail feel involved in the action.
At the very top end, whilst the lightness is a definite bonus, there is a point when the higher pull position and perhaps 4 batten design just can’t keep things in-check for as long as you might get on some of the 5 batten sails. Never-the-less, for a 4 batten sail, its got one of the best top ends we have ever experienced. So much so that a lot of the time you forget that you are on a 4 batten sail, until the time it matters when you are on the wave face and requiring that extra drive, softness and maneuverability. Impressive indeed.
At the bottom end, the power is also pretty good. But ultimately, that softness does have a downside and the Banzai isn’t quite as efficient and rewarding a sail to work onto the plane as some of the more springy and foiled alternatives.
In the air, the light feeling and stability are confidence inspiring and the softer, more flexible feeling gives more margin for error when landing.
We have to admit to being very impressed with the new 2016 Banzai. In fact, it is arguably the best all-round 4 batten we have ever sailed. It offers a near perfect blend between new-school drive and maneuverability and old school comfort and control. Many brands claim it, yet we seldom find it…However in this instance the Banzai genuinely delivers a fully all-round performance. From onshore mush to cross-offshore riding, it’s hard to say where the Banzai is most suited. It’s a genuine all-rounder, excelling in virtually all conditions. And it looks great as well!
One of the best ‘all-round’ performances available.
A great blend of new-school wave riding performance with old-school comfort and handling.
The soft feel gives you less to work with in lighter winds.
For those that already own the sail or perhaps may become future owners then be sure to check out this rigging guide with sail designer Jason Diffin, hosted on our sister site Boards Mag.