SEVERNE S1 4.8M 2019 TEST REVIEW
The S1 has been completely revised for 2019, using the S1-Pro as its template, yet said to “replicate the dynamic performance in a more accessible construction”. With a new batten layout and extra skin tension, it has been re-mastered with range and appeal in mind and certainly isn’t a budget cast-off harbouring old-school concepts. Quality materials and scrims are utilised – eM3 throughout the upper panels, its sibling eM4 (with twice the x-ply for increased durability) in the foot and perimeter panels, and the brand’s Spiderfibre tendons extending from the clew for improved structural stability. Severne’s reputed detailing is very evident; it’s clear the sails are developed extensively and every part of their performance is scrutinised. It is almost as if you can hear the questions being asked from the R&D sessions: “Can we make this lighter? Can we make it function better?” For example, the roller tack pulley now incorporates a little metal bar just above the plastic rollers, so that the rope threads effortlessly and doesn’t slip onto the neighbouring roller as it is tensioned. Such little details, but they give the final product an air of professionalism and thought.
“Less structural rigidity gives the rig a bigger sweet-spot, and allows the sail to auto-correct during wave riding by giving the draft just enough movement to ensure constant power delivery.”
Tested here on a RDM Red mast, the S1 has plenty of tuneable range, extended further by the option of using a ¾ length batten above the boom. In marginal winds we found both worked well, the shorter batten maximising the effectiveness of the draft-stretch bestowed by the Dacron luff panel. As the wind hits, the pull is soft yet full-bodied, rather than sharp and precise. It also responds superbly to pumping, the mast flexing and snapping back into place to surge power into the board and squirt it forward. It is hot-property for making the most of marginal winds, always feeling balanced and manageable in the hands, yet going supremely light and loose on the wave face when required. With the full-length batten back in place, the S1’s bottom end remains impressive for a 4.8m – surprising for a sail with the smallest quoted area here, and possessing such lightness at rest. Set with minimal tension, both lower battens retain plenty of rotation around the mast, with some shape to its profile low and forwards in the draft. In years past, the S1 has had a centre of effort located high and forwards, pulling the rider into an upright, manoeuvre-oriented position. A handling dream within its wind range, the downside always arose when the conditions pushed beyond its envelope, pulling the rider to their toes and creating control issues. Not with the 2019 S1. The centre of effort is now much lower in the draft, helping it to retain its balance and ease, whilst the Dacron luff panel tempers the delivery. With more tension applied, the sail’s stability is assured, the leech twisting freely as the forward facing profile keeps driving through the front of the sail, minimising any back hand pressure. With excellent range and genuine versatility, the S1 just kept delivering, well beyond our expectations.
Providing soft useable power and ease of manoeuvres over a wide wind range, the S1 is feathery light through the back hand, and can be tuned to meet the demands of most.
Other sails in this test: