Mar 17, 2013
The names of ODL09 technora and C1295 laminates may not sound too intriguing, but it’s with the use of these high-tech materials that Hot Sails Maui can make the claim that their Firelight is the lightest sail on the market. We didn’t pull out the scale to fact-check, but we must say this Firelight 5.3 is impressively svelte, as it is one of the biggest sails in the test and constantly got mention for its super-light feel and handling. Perhaps the most amazing thing about this sail, though, is how it changes your board. With less weight on the nose, it suddenly becomes livelier and planes up sooner than ever before. You can use this advantage either to get away with less volume than you’d normally ride, or enjoy the fact that your board is planing in so little wind.
Without the need to be extraordinarily powerful, Hot Sails Maui puts the draft at a moderate position that, at speed, feels efficient and wellbalanced. There’s a bit of softness to the Firelight that becomes more noticeable as it goes from powered to overpowered, but while it’s within its wind range the ride is stable and effortless. On the wave, it had great de-power, and the light weight makes you feel confident to ride the board on the wave without having to worry about the sail. On flatwater, we loved how the sail did its best to disappear in our hands both in a straight line, as well as transitions.
As with most lightweight things, one can’t help but wonder about durability. In the case of the Firelight, the high-tech materials are durable enough that Hot Sails Maui fully expects it to be ridden hard in the most extreme conditions. And a close look sees plenty of reinforcement on all of the most exposed parts of the sail, so fear not.