RRD FIRE MK7 6.8M 2019 TEST REVIEW
The latest in a long evolutionary line, the Fire Mk7 is the new no-cam freerace offering from RRD. Developed under instruction from UK Champion turned sail designer John Skye, the Fire is designed to provide the performance of a race sail, with “nothing compromised towards top end speed and control”. For 2019, the refinements witnessed in the Mk7 are the inclusion of a “negative” cut in the upper leech, said to improve control; and a slightly lower aspect ratio, intended for improved bottom end drive and acceleration. Having only just been released from the production loft, the sample we had on test here was an early production model and as such was marked up with contrasting guidance makings, supposedly recommended for use with an RDM. The literature recently released on the website, however, says otherwise, stating that the Fire should be used exclusively with an SDM. Available with either orange transparent monofilm upper panels or white opaque panels, it has a neat, uncomplicated appearance, with a crossover batten configuration and two distinct clew eyelet options. The luff panel is made of monofilm, sandwiched between a couple of narrow Dacron patches, whilst the foot and clew panels are home to x-ply for added durability.
“The Fire is perfect for hitting GPS records with minimal effort. All the development of the X-Wing has fed into this sail giving it without doubt the best performance/ease of use ratio in our entire collection.” John Skye – RRD Sail Designer.
Rigged on a Firewing 460cm SDM, the Fire has a moderate to high amount of luff curve, freeing the leech up considerably so that there’s plenty of looseness in the upper panels, extending all the way to the clew. With rotation in the lower three battens, there’s a good amount of pre-shape present at rest, the centre of effort low and forwards in the draft. In marginal winds, the Fire’s power is measured yet useful, the higher clew eyelet extending and raising the boom to help make the delivery more obvious. Powering smoothly, once the Fire releases the board underneath it, it seems to ignite like a firecracker and accelerates quickly to an impressive speed. It feels alive and loose in the hands, accelerating whenever possible to become even lighter to the touch. It really is quite a magical feeling when you experience it first hand; infecting you with a yearning for more power you find yourself hunting for the next gust. You can’t help but be inspired by it, undoubtedly best suited for use with an efficient freerace or slalom board. As the wind increases, simply resort to the lower inset eyelet, raking the boom that bit more and empowering the rider to lock the sail in place. A stunning sail for drag racing all day long, its performance comes easy, matched only by the comfort experience and smile it brings to the rider’s face. In transition the battens rotate evenly before the power returns, its lowdown position creating little issue, even for the inexperienced. Elegant on the water with such an eye-catching profile and twist, the Fire Mk7 offers class-defining freerace performance, and is certainly one of the best sails we’ve ever used from the RRD loft.
This seventh generation Fire is unquestionably a standout sail. A pleasure to use, it is a true freerace masterpiece, offering balanced handling and lightning acceleration, yet remaining incredibly user-friendly.
Other sails in this test: