"With a light weight construction and a powerful sail profile V MAX appeals to the freeride sailor who wants to maximize the enjoyment of planing without needing to work for it.. V MAX is the best choice for the sailor who wants a sail for the lighter wind days or who wants to use a smaller sail and still get going."– Simmer Sails website
The 6-batten VMax is designed to offer simple rigging, low end power and easy handling. It fits snuggly into the Simmer range between the economically priced 5 batten Spark and the rather rapid 7 Batten VType (mono)/XType (x-ply) that we tested last year.
on the beach
Simmer always pay great attention to build quality and the VMAX appears to be no exception. There is very good attention to detail and reinforcement throughout. This does pay a slight penalty in the weight stakes and on the beach, the VMAX is slightly heavier than most of the other sail in this group.
Despite the compact clew design, the Simmer still manages to sport the second longest boom length (208cm) of the group, coupled with a relatively short luff length of 473cm. When laid over the other sails, it’s apparent that the VMAX is the lowest aspect design within the group.
The Simmer sets with a decent amount of fullness low down and offers good tuning flexibility. It sets and works well through a wide range of downhaul settings. It’s particularly important in lighter winds to ease the downhaul off (loose to about the 3rd batten down) to get the most from the lighter conditions. The lower aspect shape means that the foot is fairly large on the VMAX compared to other sails within the group. It’s therefore quite important to tighten the tack strap up to increase the tension along the foot of the sail.
on the water
As soon as you try the VMax, you realise that the bias of this sail is much more towards blasting than manoeuvres. At least it is relative to the other sails in this test.
It’s a little bit heavier in the hands, whilst the low cut foot, stiffer profile and deeper draft give the sail a very locked in, blasting feel.
The top end is very good, arguably the best in test. It’s not just the stability of the sail that shines, but also the way that the pull of the sail pins the board down and keeps control in rougher conditions.
For such a powerful sail, the power delivery is actually relatively soft and very forgiving. It’s a comfortable and easy sail to blast on and doesn’t require a skilled sailor to keep it in line.
When it comes to the corners, the VMax is fine for basic gybing, but the low cut foot and heavier feel make duck gybes and anything more fancy, less enticing to try than other sails within this group.
In light winds, the stiffer feel doesn’t lend itself so well to early planing, but the VMax does redeem itself somewhat at the bottom end for having great ‘glide’ through the lulls. Basically once you get going, the Simmer is one of the best sails at staying going, its just a bit slower to get onto the plane in the first place.
The VMax is a quality product that has been built to last, but as a consequence pays a slight penalty in the weight stakes. Its bias is more towards blasting than maneuvers within this group of sails and in this respect, its soft power delivery and great pull position, make it an easy, fast and fun sail to blast with.