2014 7.5 NO-CAM SAIL TEST REVIEW REPORTS
PUSHING THE ENVELOPE
In recent seasons, for mere mortals, it’s pretty much been proven you don’t need cams in a freerace sail.
Yes, advanced racers reap the benefits of the stiffer foil camber inducers provide and speed addicts definitely rely on them in smaller sizes. But for you and I, the convenience of the cam-less rotational sail is liberating to say the least.
So what does a no-cam freerace sail need to do? Well it has to be quick and easy to rig, not demand a massive, expensive mast (maybe even an RDM) and it has to perform, namely, in this size, in wind from 8 or 10 knots up to – at least – the high 20s.
Added to that, a no-cam freerace absolutely must be manoevrable. Maybe not as much as crossover or freeride sails, but you want to be able to duck gybe it too.
What else? Well these days, and in line with the 120 x 80 Freemove boards we largely tested these on in this issue, they have to increasingly drive wider and wider board outlines.
And we want all that with near racing-level speed yeah? Yep. Fear not. All this – and more – is all sitting on your dealer’s racks.
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WHAT DID WE FIND?
Well, even since last season, we reckon this group have all massively widened their wind range. Plus, powerful doesn’t necessarily mean fast – comfort can often win a race.
But there can be no outright test winner. Everyone’s requirements are so vastly different. You can read all about the individual intricacies of this group in the separate reports, but, for perspective’s sake here’s an overview of the ‘spectrum’ – from ‘race’ to ‘free’ – that this lineup covers.
FASTEST: In all-out top speed, in the mid-range – although mainly for light and medium weights – it’s definitely the Tushingham T4. One of the oldest designs – and just a 6-batten in a sea of 7s – but undeniably the quickest until you hit the …
BOTTOM-END: The Gaastra Savage and Pryde Hellcat both standout in this respect, especially for heavier riders. Not far behind would be the Simmer V-Max.
TOP-END: For all-out speed ‘past’ the reasonable ‘envelope’ you’d expect of a 7.5, the Hellcat will win a drag race, but only if you’re a 100 kg. monster and able to cope with the forces involved.
For lesser human beings, the Severne NCX will have you holding your own – in a more relaxed and efficient manner. Close behind would be the Point-7 AC-X.
PRINCIPAL TEST TEAM
James Randall 70 kg. Med. Height
Julian Da Vall 83 kg. 1.95 Tall
Toby Gibson 87 kg. 1.90 Tall
Brian McDowell 98 kg. 1.90 Tall
Thanks also to: Kevin Salmon 85 kg. & Kevin Pijl 70 kg.
ACCELERATION: The Gaastra Savage has the ‘gears’ at the low end, but so does the Simmer V-Max.
Also nearby are the RRD Fire, Severne NCX, Pryde Hellcat and the Attitude. (Yes, a new entry to the market!)
MANOEUVRABILITY: It’s got to be the Simmer V-Max, Ezzy, North and Goya Nexus.
EASY TO SAIL: They’re all accessible, but it’s the Ezzy Cheetah, North E_Type, Goya Nexus and Tushingham T4 that initially stand out as the friendliest and least technical to ride.
VALUE-FOR-MONEY: We’ve tried to take into account mast prices when coming to this conclusion too, but, in alphabetical order, we think the Attitude, Ezzy. Point-7, RRD and Tushingham deserve special mention for their pricing, build quality and performance mix. The North and Simmer are also tempting propositions.
THE BENCHMARK (Not printed in original test.) If we had to take one sail from this group to test next year’s offerings against – to truly represent the spirit and feel of no-cam freerace sails in this size – all our testers agree it would be the Severne NCX.
Read on and see which ones stir your go-fast juices! BM
Special thanks to Harry Nass Centre Dahab, F-Hot/Dave White for the loan of their mast mounts, I Love Meet and Greet Gatwick Parking Services and North Sails for adjustable outhauls for our test rigs.
NOW READ THE INDIVIDUAL REPORTS
PIC James Randall