Witchcraft Karma vs Slayer sails
This is not really a review of the sails, having a hand in designing the sails that would be a bit self serving, but with two ranges of wave sails people can often wonder which one they should buy and in this blog I will attempt to explain the differences.
Which range? Like with the Witchcraft boards you are best to look at the conditions each sail is aimed at. With a brand like Witchcraft this is easier to do this than with some of the big international brands who will design some of their products on Maui but the intended use is on a lake in Germany.
The Slayer is designed for the North Shore of Fuerteventura especially in the winter. That will mean nothing to you unless you have sailed there but it is easy to sum up the average conditions – big waves, rocky launches and moderate winds. So with that in mind, how does the Slayer meet those specific demands. Firstly The Slayer has optimized sizing which means in the small sizes the sails are designed for optimum control while the larger sizes get progressively more powerful. The 5.8 is getting quite specialised as its design brief is to get you onto the waves in the lightest winds. But once on the wave it still has to be able to go neutral at high speeds on big waves – The Slayer has the drive to keep your board secure during the bottom turn and then the short boom to help open the sail up in the top turn. The sails have large tuning ranges so that you can tune the sail to the way you want to ride. But there is no point having all the performance in the world if the sail is only going to last a couple of months so the slayers are made to take high pressure loads associated with large waves landing on them. So in summary the Slayer is optimized towards front side wave riding.
The Karma is designed more for the summer winds of the Canaries which tend to be stronger and often cross on rather than cross off. The Karma was made with spots like Pozo and El Medano in mind. In other words the Karma is designed for sailing when your main power source is the wind whether that is 10 or 50 kts. With the Karma you have an extra batten which adds a bit more structure to the sail with the aim being that the sail at one setting will cope with well powered up conditions when one minute you might be jumping and then a minute later you are riding clew first.
While this blog is about comparing the two sail ranges against each other I should say that compared to most other sail brands the Witchcraft sails are capable of getting you planing earlier. On the witchcraft website on the sail specifications it states what size sails the witchcraft sails are equivalent to. So a 5.2 slayer may well get you going at the same time as a 5.5 for other brands. Due to that optimized sizing the differences are biggest on the larger sails. Many people say “I don’t want a powerful sail for wave riding” but they are looking at it the wrong way. You can generally use a smaller Witchcraft sail than other brand sails.
Which sails to choose? Personal preference has a big influence in which range to go for, so maybe the best way to look at it is to consider the conditions you tend to sail in.
Ground swell home spot – If you are lucky enough to live on a Island stuck in the middle of the Atlantic be it Fuerteventura or Tiree and you have the opportunity to nearly always pick a cross shore break and your preference is riding over jumping then the Slayer is the logical choice but having said that the Karma is more than capable in all wave situations.
If like a lot of people you tend to sail in a wide variety of conditions from “cross off down the line” to “bump and jump” and you are happy to take any air time on offer then the choice of which range to go for is not clear cut. This situation would apply to my own sailing and I go for Karmas in the larger sizes and Slayers in the small sizes. So I have a 4.2 and 4.7 Slayer and then 5.3, 5.9 and 6.5 Karmas. I find this works well for me. I would be equally happy if my middle sail was a 5.2 Salyer. I also have a 3.7 and it is a Karma as I am looking for maximum control and range in that sail size.
If most of your sailing is blasting over chop, taking what air you can then the Karma will suit you the best as it tends to have a bit wider wind range without having to retune the sail.
The Witchcraft sails have also proved popular for wind foiling and both the Karma and Slayer ranges are equally good and indeed offer an easier flying experience than some of the dedicated foil sails!