NORTH VOLT 6.4M 2015 TEST REVIEW
One of three five batten sails on test here, this 6.4m is the second largest in the Volt range and is targeted squarely at freestylers according to North’s own brief, (the 6-batten e-Type is to be tested in 7.0m next month). Rigged on a 430cm RDM, it is easy to sheath the mast up the wide luff tube and apply the downhaul required, (SDMs can also be used). Like the 5.9m tested last month, this 6.4m Volt sets with relatively little luff curve, whilst the leech falls away significantly, becoming very loose in the top two panels.
“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! 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.”
On the water the 6.4m Volt has a very similar feel and character to its smaller sister tested last month. Using slightly less tension prescribed by North’s visual trimming aids, the sail has a springy powerful bottom end, which can be used to great effect in marginal winds. Light in the hands at rest, as the power comes on it breathes to adopt a deeper more powerful draft, and combined with the responsive surge provided by the response of the mast during pumping, makes for an impressive bottom end performance. Once on the plane, the Volt feels light and balanced in the hands, pulling the rider into an upright cruising stance with its high and forward centre of effort. This upright stance, combined with the high cut foot and easy handling make for a very useful partner for learning manoeuvres, even venturing into the domain of classic freestyle tricks. The sail becomes neutral in the hands as it is eased out with the backhand, making it easy to reposition around the rider. As the wind increases, the tension can be applied to stabilise the draft and increase the top end range. This works well for the most part, the Volt having a reasonable top end range, although comparing it to others in this group does expose its limitations in severe conditions. Instead, the Volt is best partnered with a more manoeuvre-oriented freemove board for making the most of light marginal winds and exploring the fun and ever challenging path of carving transitions and flat water trickery.
In this 6.4m size, the Volt is a light handling, easy to use sail with excellent bottom end power, ideal for those interested in fun manoeuvre-oriented sailing.
Other sails in this test: