SEVERNE OVERDRIVE M3 7.8 2020 TEST REVIEW
Lightness and life are the two words we would use to sum up the M3’s character – incredibly precise and balanced in the hands, it breathes bags of energy, performance and enjoyment into the board … and your session.
Emblazoned with the simple motif ‘Slalom’, the OverDrive has the additional title of ‘M3’ after its name to signify its close ties with the brand’s thoroughbred, the Mach 3, benefiting directly from advances in their race programme development. Last tested back in 2018, the OverDrive has become taller and wider, and this year sees the addition of a small 4.6m to its ranks. High in aspect, it has one of the longest luff lengths in the test group, yet easily the shortest boom at just 202 cm, giving it a definite tall appearance. Rigged for test here on an Apex Pro 460, this 7.8 m can also be set on an RDM, using the option to change the two lower cams to the brand’s RDM version. Applying some downhaul tension, there’s a zippered pocket to provide the stretch in the luff sleeve for the bottom cam, the two upper cams fitted by feeling inside the sleeve via the neoprene-enclosed boom cutout. Setting with good depth to its profile, there’s a uniform amount of looseness along the length of the OverDrive’s leech, the sail’s chord mitigating any vertical stretch while the extended Kevlar x-ply luff sleeve is actually really soft and loose, providing what the brand refer to as ‘horizontal elasticity’. Incorporating monofilm throughout the rest of its panels, its batten pockets are oriented for improved airflow and efficiency, housing predominantly tube battens to enhance stability. And whilst the upper clew block (designed for use with an adjustable outhaul) is the recommended position for most, there is also a lower clew eyelet for lighter riders or extreme wind strengths.
The OverDrive focuses on maximum reaching speed with an increased twist and less back hand pressure. A lighter weight means improved handling characteristics.
We have mentioned many times in past Severne reviews that their mantra is for designing the lightest sails possible (referring to both physical and handling weight) … and this M3 version of the OverDrive continues in exactly the same vein. Tall and prominent, it stands bare and exposed to the wind, which coupled with its moderate to deep profile counters any negative impact the reduced boom leverage may impose. In the past, a shortened boom length tends to expose the sail’s lethargic vulnerability in gutless marginal conditions, but the M3’s tall stature and deep forward draft helps to provide enough useable feedback, even for a larger, more blunt-natured rider. This is also enhanced by the sail’s reduced luff curve and the movement in the soft luff sleeve, providing an extra bit of movement and pumping response. The high skin tension in the internal luff panel provides the elastic limit and punch, quickly settling into a comfortable, relatively upright position. Compact in nature and incredibly light and balanced in the hands, it responds well as gusts hit, instantly accelerating and making the whole ride alive and engaging. Used in variable conditions, the M3 also has an impressive natural range on one setting, powering well in light airs, yet asking little of the rider and retaining its manners as the wind increases. That is not to say that it’s not worth tinkering with the settings to optimise performance … yet the ease of rigging and set makes the OverDrive as plug and play as any three-cammed sail we can recall. Its handling and manners are also maintained in transition, the cams rotating automatically, requiring minimal pressure as the wind fills on the new tack, and certainly no intervention from the rider. A pleasure to use whatever your weight or riding style, the OverDrive speaks volumes for just how versatile a three-cammed sail can be.
Luff: 490 cm
Boom: 202 cm
Ideal mast: Severne 460 cm SDM/RDM
Available sizes: 4.6, 5.0, 5.5, 6.2, 7.0, 7.8, 8.6, 9.4.
Other sails in this test:
THE LINE UP