SEVERNE BLADE 5.3M 2017 TEST REVIEW
The Blade has had quite a makeover for 2017, with Severne listing the upgrades as “Completely refreshed luff curves, seams, panel layouts, upgraded fittings, 100% xply and double seams everywhere.” Available in two colour ways, it sits in the Severne line-up as their “sail to choose for all-round high performance” that has been tested over an extended period of time. With its new refinements, would the 2017 incarnation uphold the Blade’s high performing reputation?
“Constructed entirely out of premium X-Ply, the Blade is one of the most durable sails on the market, yet intelligent design means it’s also one of the lightest. SpiderFibre technology has radically reduced swing weight whilst also creating a much stronger clew. New Dyneema window X-Ply allows for improved vision. Upper panels in eM3 reduce swing weight, and heavy duty heX-Ply in the foot for impact strength.”
Despite a luff length of 427cm, making it one of the tallest sails in the group, the Blade doesn’t feel big in comparison to the others. If anything, it is one of the more neutral sails at rest, the profile of the sail being relatively shallow at idle whilst the pull comes from a forward position in the draft. As the pressure increases, the Dacron luff panel enables the Blade to breathe and adopt a much deeper profile, generating a good deal of bottom end power. The delivery is soft and manageable, feeling balanced between both hands and providing the rider with time to react and change their stance, instead of being taken by surprise. That said, the skin tension low down in the sail (we suspect due, in part, to the SpiderFibre seam across the sail’s window) provides an elastic limit, meaning the sail remains responsive, its power useable in manoeuvres. In choppy, violent conditions the Blade is a delight to use, feeling both dependable and comfortable, the movement in its luff panel helping to absorb impact and move around the rider’s composed stance. There is not a great deal of luff curve in the Blade – it was easy to downhaul, even without use of a puller, the leech opening evenly along the length of its leech to the clew. This results in more life – a sort of tactile connection with the mast, the leading edge and bottom of the sail providing the engine whilst the upper panels twist and vent intuitively. It has a good natural range on one setting, yet can be tuned with more downhaul to increase the looseness in the leech and secure the stability yet further.
Soft and flexible without feeling dull in the hands, the Blade is an incredibly versatile, dependable power source, finding favour with the high wind coastal freerider as much as the demanding wave rider.
Other sails in this test: