NORTH SAILS VOLT 5.9M 2017 TEST REVIEW
The Volt sits alongside the Hero in North’s range as their manoeuvre-oriented freestyle wave sail designed for use with single-fin boards. 2017 marks the fifth generation of the Volt and a focus on improving top end stability to match its reputation for low-end power. Refinements to enable this include the new ‘hollow lower leech’ profile and the adoption of ‘radial load stripes’ that emanate from the sail’s clew. The draft position is said to have been moved further back, whilst the leech can be opened up significantly under increased tension all the way down its length. Compatible with RDM and SDM masts, it is tested here on a Platinum 430 RDM and is very easy to downhaul thanks to its reduced luff curve. Both the bottom battens protrude beyond the mast’s leading edge at rest, the long lower batten pushing shape into the sail’s profile whilst all the battens above the boom remain flat. Compared to others in the group, the Volt has a very distinctive outline, with a large amount of sail area above the boom, most noticeably in the head, housing a long top batten. Tested here in standard construction (available in 2 colour-ways), the Volt is also produced in HD technology, dressed in a lime/yellow livery.
“Maximum energy and electrifying handling: The smaller sizes of the VOLT are again oriented towards the requirements of the wave riders, the larger sizes towards freestylers. The result is a sail line that can confidently be called the ultimate all-in-one freestyle wave range.”
With such a large percentage of the Volt’s sail area located above the boom and in the head of its outline, the leverage and power potential it has is very noticeable. Combine it with the reduced luff curve to increase the useable response of the mast and the Volt can be used to great effect for pumping in marginal winds. The movement and stretch in the upper panels allows the sail to billow out, catching a massive breath of air before there’s a sort of snap to the sail as it is pulled back by the rider and the mast returns to its datum point. As a result a wave of energy is ploughed into the board, punching it clear of the water. It really is quite impressive, meaning this 5.9m can be used in the flukiest conditions, to get the most playtime possible. Once going, the Volt settles into an upright manoeuvre-oriented stance, the centre of effort high and focussed around the rider. It does feel its size in the hands, yet remains balanced and easy, the power delivery quite on-off, meaning that it can be played as the rider desires – particularly useful in transition. As the wind increases, the Volt can be retuned with more tension to open the leech up more and flatten the profile. It certainly has the capacity to be used in powered to overpowered conditions, yet isn’t really suited for blasting and requires rider input to keep it trimmed evenly. As such, the best option would be to play to the Volt’s strengths and change down sooner than most.
The Volt is a manoeuvre-oriented powerhouse with the luff curve and geometry to make the most of the lightest airs.
Other sails in this test: