NORTH VOLT 5.9M 2015 TEST REVIEW
The 2015 North Sails line-up has been condensed significantly into just six sail ranges, with the Volt sitting neatly between the Idol (freestyle) and Hero (wave) as their crossover option. The brand’s argument for this dramatic move is that they can then focus on the development of each individual sail (even each sail size within each design) more and release products that they are “100% sure have been extensively tried and tested.” The Volt is tested here in its standard guise, but for £40.00 more you can purchase the HD version, which substitutes the monofilm panels with use of x-ply throughout.
“Within its first year the VOLT has established itself as THE Freestyle Wave sail. The second generation of the 5 battens bestseller convinces with extremely high draft stability and a very wide wind range, especially in overpowered conditions. The ideal partner for classic single fin boards!”
Rigging the Volt is straightforward, the RDM mast sheathing up the wide luff tube effortlessly (as it can be used with an SDM as well) whilst the downhaul is easily applied thanks to relatively little luff curve in the sail. There is a good range of set available, defined by the rigging and tuning guides that North, as a brand, has become synonymous with. In marginal winds, the Volt really comes into its own.
Easily the tallest and one of the widest sails on test here, it has fantastic bottom end punch, breathing to adopt a deep powerful profile as you pull in with the backhand. But it’s the Volt’s ability to pump and release its board that really sets it apart from the crowd. The reduced luff curve enables the rider to sense the flicky response of the mast, which combined with a high centre of effort gives each pump of the sail an amazing jump-start lurching sensation! It is very effective. Once on the plane, the Volt is balanced in the hands, settling into an upright and easy stance. Rigging with quite a loose leech, even in minimum set, it doesn’t have a sharp, responsive nature but remains composed and well mannered, enabling the rider to stand up, ease out, and reposition the sail when required. As the wind increases, any decay in the sail’s stability can be halted by applying more downhaul, loosening the leech yet more and locking the draft in place. With all this looseness in such a large leech area, the Volt concentrates on retaining its manners rather than providing instant response, coping well with gusty conditions and remaining controllable in transition.
The Volt has fantastic bottom end power, made all the more useful by its explosive jump-start response to pumping. With a large tuning range available it retains its upright stance for easy manoeuvres over an impressive wind range.
Other sails in this test: