“A control orientated wave sail with plenty of low centered power for driving the board through turns. Built tough with 100% X-ply construction for unsurpassed durability and featuring an extended area of lightweight e-series cloth eM3, the 2011 Blade is designed for riders looking for controllable power for use in any demanding conditions.”– severnesails.com
on the beach
As with the S1, the weight of this sail really is incredible when compared to the rest of the group. At 3.39kg it’s nearly a kilo lighter than a couple of the other sails tested, and only the Naish comes close. In sizes as big as 5.3m weight saving really does make a noticeable and very positive difference to the handling of the sail.
It’s worth pointing out that the Blade certainly looks one of the most high-tech sails we have seen, and it’s clear that weight saving hasn’t been achieved through scrimping, but rather through use of exotic materials such as eM3, Dyneema and Kevlar.
The Blade has one of the longer luff lengths in test (432cm) and the second longest boom length (177cm). It sets with a slightly tighter leech than most, and with a fair degree of pre-set fullness in the lower battens.
When it comes to tuning flexibility, the Blade offers a reasonable amount of versatility in both the downhaul and outhaul range to suit different preferences and wind conditions. We preferred it with slightly less downhaul and a little more outhaul to get a sharper, firmer feel, but it’s worth spending some time experimenting to see what suits you best.
on the water
The Blade stands out within this group for being both extremely light in the hands and exceptionally controlled at the top end. However, the merits of the Blade most certainly don’t end there.
This is a power wave sail test after all, and to that end the Blade fits perfectly. This isn’t your standard arm wrenching, back-handed power wave sail though. Instead it delivers its power in an uncannily subtle manner. The incredible lightness of feel belies the amount of power this sail has on tap at the bottom end. Enough to rank it as the third most powerful in test, but easily the lightest feeling sail.
At the top end the Blade scores second to none. It’s not only stable, but remains so light and controlled in the hands that even our lightest Clones enjoyed using it overpowered.
It actually has quite a springy, flexible feeling in the hands, and the power delivery is a bit softer than some (particularly Severne’s S1). It has a fairly solid profile, giving it a comfortable, locked-in feel. The power point is very stable and pulls quite low in the sail, which helps lock the board down and gives the Blade its extremely controllable handling.
The power is ever so slightly on the back hand, which gives the sail a reassuring pull at the bottom end, but the springiness in the leech and light feel means that it never gets too much at the top end.
right to reply
"I’m stoked that the test picked up on the key differences between the Blade and the S-1. The whole reason Severne has multiple ranges of wave sails is that different wave sailors prefer different styles of sail. The Blade is the more controllable wave sail; the deeper profile gives increased stability, whereas the flatter S-1 is easier to manoeuvre. Both share our design philosophy of using the highest tech materials to increase durability and at the same time as reduce weight.
“The Blade has one of the longer luff lengths in test (432cm)” – Our strategy with all our sails (wave, freeride, race) is to increase versatility by having luff lengths that allow 2 different masts wherever possible without compromising performance. In this case, the Blade 5.3 can be used with a 430 mast or a 400 mast depending on sailor weight, which mast the sailor owns, or a preference of feel. I believe it’s important to be realistic about which masts most windsurfers will have access to, and from our understanding of the market, this means 430 and 400 RDMs for wave sailing. So I make sure the most common wave sail sizes for real-world conditions (4.5 to 6.3) are designed around a 430 or 400 mast. (The S-1 4.7 and 4.5 can also be set on a 370 this year, but I didn’t exclude owners of 400 masts from these products just yet...)"
The Blade is one of those rare sails that manages to combine great bottom end power with superb top end control. It is incredibly light in the hands and looks like a real high-tech product. The sail has a springier feel than most and a slightly softer power delivery, which makes it very forgiving at the cost of some responsiveness. It feels very efficient in the hands, and the name ‘Blade’ nicely describes the controlled, locked-in feel of the sail.