SIMMER V-MAX 7.2M 2017 TEST REVIEW
The V-Max has been in the Simmer range as their no cam freerace contender for many years now, and as with last year has been refreshed for the new season with new graphics and a revised panel layout, within essentially the same framework and outline. The emphasis of the V-Max continues to be ‘minimal hassle for maximum blasting enjoyment’, designed to be user friendly to rig, lightweight for manoeuvring, and generating all the power required for “effortless planing” across a wide wind range. Rigged on a SC10 SDM mast, the V-Max remains one of the few sails of this size that is recommended for use with a 430cm – a definite bonus for those looking to extend the light wind range of their quiver without the necessity of investing in an additional mast. Easy to downhaul thanks to the softer stick, the V-Max rigs with plenty of shape low and forwards in the draft, the degree of rotation in the three lower battens varying according to set. The leech’s looseness can also be altered considerably by varying the downhaul tension, using the single clew eyelet to outhaul and fine-tune the power delivery.
“The V-Max is super fast! It is so easy to use and offers effortless gybing. If you are just getting into slalom or freeracing, you will be faster on a V-Max than on a full cambered sail. It’s my personal favourite for freerace blasting.” Ben Proffitt
Short in stature yet long in boom length, the V-Max has a visibly low aspect ratio compared to all the other sails in the group. With this in mind, it can be fine-tuned with minimal tension to maximise its light-wind potential. Whilst trying to pump and release in the lightest airs, the 430cm mast is noticeably softer, especially for the larger rider, reducing the action’s effectiveness. Instead, we found it more rewarding to simply hold on and let the sail do its thing, its pronounced profile breathing deeper still as the wind fills, thanks to the play in luff tube. The V-Max’s long boom then provides the feedback through the backhand, the power delivery soft and progressive, giving the rider time to settle into a comfortable cruising stance. Covering distance effortlessly, it has a passive nature whilst being sailed at half-speed, demanding little to no trimming input from the rider. It simply sits there with its low and forward centre of effort, allowing the rider to adopt the stance and riding style of their choice. As the wind increases and the conditions become more challenging, the V-Max can be tensioned to become a very different beast altogether. With the leech twisting off right down to the clew, the drive remains focussed low and forward in the draft, and pushes the more efficient hulls to impressive speeds, particularly off the wind. Perhaps not as electric in the hands or slippery through the air as the most dedicated freerace foils in the group, but for ease and enjoyment across a mammoth wind range, the V-Max is hard to beat.
Versatile in application and massively practical thanks to its 430cm mast preference, the V-Max is easy to rig and even easier to have fun on the water with.
Other sails in this test: