SEVERNE OVERDRIVE R6 7.8M 2015 TEST REVIEW
Incorporating three cams inside a large scrim luff sleeve and the brand’s ‘Reflex’ batten system in its mid-leech, there is no doubting the OverDrive’s aspirations. Whilst also compatible with RDM masts, it was rigged on a 90% SDM for this test and took a massive amount of tension to apply the right downhaul, requiring the use of a winch to do it without our faces turning a fetching beetroot red colour! Once set, it can be left on this setting, using the adjustable outhaul clew eyelet, which has ‘210’ printed boldly next to it. Is this a clue that Severne really don’t want you to over outhaul it…? For an altogether more user-friendly option Severne have the twin-cam Turbo in their range.
“After the success of the OverDrive R5, our R&D focused on refining a proven performer. Mid leech tensions have been increased to allow the Reflex system to do more work, and increase range. Head tensions have been reduced to allow the rig to flex cohesively and maintain balance. The overall result is a high performance racing sail, in a very user-friendly package.”
Whilst the OverDrive doesn’t necessarily have any more luff curve than others in the group, the chord of the sail seems to incorporate a x-ply weave that is incredibly resilient to stretching, creating such a high skin tension that, once rigged, makes the OverDrive resemble more of a foil or wing than a conventional sail. It sets with a good amount of shape locked low and forward in its draft, yet there is no movement in the profile as the wind fills, requiring good technique to really make the OverDrive respond to any pumping. Nevertheless, bottom end power is reasonable if not light and subtle in the hands, and as you lift onto the plane, you begin to realise just what this sail is all about. As the next gust hits you can literally feel the OverDrive come to life, injecting the board under your feet with pulses of more energy and forcing it to ever greater speeds. You can’t help but start hunting for the next gust to see if it will happen again … and no doubt it will, as this sail just keeps the power and drive coming. The most impressive aspect though is how perfectly balanced it remains in your hands as it does so. It is just so neutral and poised, the centre of effort never decaying or loading the backhand, even in the most violent gust. Sure, the downside is that in marginal winds or prolonged lulls, the OverDrive doesn’t pull you through as well as some, the foil feeling somewhat firm and lifeless. And in harsh seas it does take a determined committed riding style to keep the hammer down. But this is a freerace sail in its purist form and is in its own league when used in powered to overpowered conditions.
A real work of art, the OverDrive is a class act and should only be considered if you demand the very highest level of performance. If you’ve got the winch to downhaul it and board to keep up with it, the R6 will not let you down.
Other sails in this test: