High Performance, demanding handling
When I bought the Storm Voyager V13 last year, I couldn’t find any reviews of this kite. So after having used it in conditions from 10kts to 18kts and in chop up to waves of 7ft, I thought I’d share my experience with those who might be interested in this kite.
The designer of the kite is Silvain Peretti, who used to design the FOne kites. His reputation as an innovative force of kite design was actually tipping the balance for me to give this kite a try. Obviously, the really attractive price of EUR 890.- was helping as well
I was looking to get a lightweight kite for dedicated light-wind conditions, mostly for riding waves with my Tomo Vader 5.1 Helium board, and for fooling around in chop in days without waves and marginal winds. We have a side-on, powerful beach break during summer (up to overhead), and sideshore chop during winter that builds a bit of wind swell (2 ft).
The voyager V13 drew my attention because of its single strut design, which I prefer to strutless in the waves. I also hoped for a reactive kite with good drift, with a very good low-end. The voyager looked promising having no pulleys and a balanced weight distribution.
Characteristics of the Storm Voyager V13
In a nutshell, the Voyager V13 is a performant kite that delivers on its promise of being a lightwind weapon, but it needs both physical and piloting skills.
The high holding force required was actually the feature that I first needed to get used to. Compared to the Blade Trigger 14m that it replaced, the holding force is massively higher. I still sometimes feel like being back in the old windsurf days when it comes to the underarm muscle exercise. A clear minus in my book when it comes to a kite…
On the other hand, the steering of the voyager V13 is very precise and fast for its size. I’m using a 50cm Airush Cleat bar with it (more about the Storm bar later), and I always can feel the position of the kite. Kiteloops can be done pivoty without any power, or deliver smooth power depending on how much you sheet in, so that’s a definitive plus.
Drift of the kite is good and predictable (as expected). So far, it never overshot me or hindenburged, even with marginal wind in strong waves. Again a plus.
Now let’s look at the actual reason of its existence, light wind performance. The lightwind power this kite delivers is definitely good. Compared to my Blade Trigger 14m2, the Voyager V13 gets me going about 1-2 knts earlier. With the Vader, that’s about 10knts lower limit in our conditions (with current). A big plus.
What we need to talk about, however, is how to unlock this power. This kite is by no means an accessible kite when it comes to handling it. The sweet spot sheeting in is as narrow as I have seen it a kite before. It’s virtually a question of 1 or 2 cm between having the kite flutter, optimal bar position, and oversheeting the kite. Until you get used to this, you won’t be able to unlock its performance. For an experienced kiter, this is not an issue, you will dial it within one or two sessions. For a beginner/ intermediate kite, this might be a showstopper though.
A couple of words regarding jumping performance: I tested the Voyager V13 with my twintip in 18kts. It remains easy to control in overpower (the narrow sweet spot mentioned above helps here, as you can dump power very easily to the point that all pull is essentially gone). Hangtime is very good when you are powered. Lift is less explosive though than with my Blade Trigger, it’s rather smooth. Again, the precision of steering is nice, and both kiteloops and downloops are easy to time. When looping, the narrow range of bar shift is actually a nice feature to control the pull during the loop. A plus.
Finally, I can imagine that the Voyager V13 is a performant Foil kite (unfortunately, I still don’t own a foil, so I cannot comment on it first hand).
I think this is the case as the kite accelerates really nicely when kept in it’s sweet spot, and it has a very high speed ceiling for a 13m2 kite. I was testing it with a couple of speed runs on my Vader in small chop and nicely powered conditions, and the speed the kite generates is amazing…. I was actually clocking > 45km/h and while I got to the limit of the board given the conditions, the kite wanted to accelerate even more with every gust.
Once you have built up your underarm muscles to master the holding forces of the kite, and learned to unlock its performance, this kite is a powerful light-wind weapon that keeps its promises as a tool both for waves and as an allround kite.
PS: Forget the Storm bar
It’s a generic bar, quite heavy, with a massive flaw (for me): The diameter is too large, and the grip super soft and bouncy. Add this to the holding force required, and you’re sure to tire even more quickly. Personally, I would skip the bar.