No myth! – Avanti Sails Icarus 5.5m foil specific sail test.

Review: Tez Plavenieks

Pics & vid: Oli Lane-Peirce

In Greek mythology Icarus, son of master craftsman Daedalus (who also created the Labyrinth), attempt to design a pair of wax/feather wings to escape the island of Crete. Unfortunately, having flown too close to the sun, the wings fail and Icarus falls from the sky. With Avanti Sails’ Icarus foil specific sail you won’t be getting that close to the Earth’s orange ball of fire, but you will be flying efficiently with a product much more technologically advanced than mere wax and feathers!

The Icarus 5.5m arrived in monofilm version. Avanti are known for their membrane constructed sails, although the brand has acknowledged membrane manufacturing isn’t as palatably priced as film.

For a 5.5m it’s extremely lightweight, even with three cams. Rigging is super easy without the faff you usually encounter with camber inducers. Personally, I’m not a fan of cams (in any type of sail). That said my experience during setting up of the 5.5m was hassle free and therefore a non-issue.

Having rigged with minimal down and outhaul the sail was ready to go for its first runs. Anyone with foiling experience will be aware you don’t need to set sails as you would for standard windsurfing. The Icarus is a light wind machine aimed at getting riders in flight quick smart.

First session featured a sublime 12-18 knots with fairly flat water. It took a matter of seconds to fly with plenty of power on tap. Remaining light in the hands, however, there’s ability to switch off from sail focus and concentrate on the real job in hand. Controllable in gusts the Icarus reacts with impeccable manners (smooth) whilst retaining enough juice through lulls to keep you at flight.

Round corners Avanti’s Icarus has a dependable, but not over the top, pull. Even with its cams a point arrived where the sail is neutral and allows a swift foot change. As it rotates the cams and battens pop to give shape to the new side of the sail. All this happens without bucking which can throw riders off balance and into the drink. To back this up further we tried a few old school sail flick flack tricks, but on foil. The Icarus certainly isn’t a foil style ‘engine’ but surprisingly (with rider concentration and practise) duck gybes, double ducks, sail 360s and so on are possible.


Having tested a number of windfoil specific sails in the past I assumed the Icarus would be similar. Not so. With a bottom end (for a 90kg rider) around 8 knots it’s a sail that has plenty of oomph for extreme light air riding but enough poise to cope with windier conditions than you’d think. Moves are as easy as you’re going to get with a cammed 5.5m with a little scope for getting creative if you so wish. All in, Avanti’s Icarus 5.5m is the best windfoil specific sail (with cams) we’ve tested to date.



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