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DUOTONE E_PACE 7.3 2021 TEST REVIEW

18/08/2021
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DUOTONE E_PACE 7.3 2021 TEST REVIEW

THE VERDICT

A well-engineered engine with masses of tuning range and versatility, the E_Pace has plenty of appeal whatever your sailing style or preference and at £639.00 represents excellent value for money.

OVERVIEW

The E_Pace is Duotone’s performance no-cam offering and enters its second year of production in 2021, evolving from the dynasty of its predecessor, the E_Type. Sporting an extended lineup to encompass the new smallest sizes of 4.6m and 5.0m, it’s reported that most development has been achieved on this 7.3m and its neighbour size, the 7.8m. One of the other stated refinements is that the luff curve has been optimised for increased control in high winds, yet this 2021 E_Pace can still lay claim to one of the least pronounced luff curves in this test group. It is incredibly straight and upright, particularly in the upper section – an intended feature that Duotone call their ‘3 in 1 design’, the three being – light wind freeride, high wind freerace blasting and wind foiling. Depicted by the extremely wide minimum and maximum markers of the brand’s long-established visual trimming system (VTS), the character of the sail can be altered markedly according to its role, through its broad tuning range. There is also then a foiling-specific clew eyelet placed somewhat lower than the “fin-surfing” eyelet, to help encourage the rig into a more upright position. Finished with Duotone’s usual high quality, there is plenty of thought and attention to detail evident, with innovative features such as the pre-calibrated and tensioned iRocket 2.0 battens, or the twin strap incorporated into the tack fairing that has the dual purpose of keeping the ‘Super Light’ bumper wrapped around the tack of the sail … and the sail secure when rolled up. Tested here in standard construction (available in two colourways), the E_Pace is also available in HD construction, using x-ply throughout its panels.

BRAND CLAIM

“This is pure windsurfing, with lots of thrust, speed AND the special ease for sporty driven manoeuvres.“

PERFORMANCE

Rigged on a Platinum 460 SDM, the E_Pace is very easy to rig, using the visuals and guides provided, and with a combination of its upright leading edge and some of the largest dimensions in the group, it came as no surprise that it was a real gem for making the most of marginal winds. Large yet balanced in the hands, there’s plenty of useable feedback generated as a gust hits, the centre of effort forward and relatively high in the draft. You can simply stand there passively and let the magic happen … or play a more active role; the reduced pre-curve in the mast, means that there’s lots of feel and connection with it, which in turn can be used very effectively in pumping.

A few well-timed pumps and the spring in the mast surges the board forward, forcing it clear of the water and onto the plane. These attributes make the E_Pace a fantastic kick-start engine for foiling too, the lower clew eyelet meaning the sail is presented in an even more upright position whilst at rest. We found you can really bag the sail out too, reducing the tension and connecting much of the sail’s upper panels to maximise the amount of power generated to get the board flying. In these light to comfortably powered conditions, the E_Pace is balanced, stable and easy; the power delivery quite soft and flexibility in the mast helping to cushion the ride. There is always a good amount of feel and drive through both hands to hold onto, but as the wind increases, any unwelcome movement or increase in pull can be settled with more tension and tuning; and believe us, there is lots available! The leech can open up right down to the cross batten above the clew eyelet, allowing the E_Pace to twist smoothly and lock the sail’s draft forward. The power remains soft and sympathetic, rather than crisp and sharp, and whilst it doesn’t have the precision or efficiency of some here, its easy handling means the E_Pace always remains in control, which gives it the upper hand during drag racing in the most challenging seas.

www.duotonesports.com

DUOTONE E_PACE 7.3 2021 TEST REVIEW

 

SPECS

Size: 7.3m

Luff: 474 cm

Boom: 206 cm

Battens: 6

Ideal Mast: Duotone 460 cm SDM

Available Sizes: 4.6, 5.0, 5.4, 5.8, 6.2, 6.6, 7.3, 7.8, 8.2.

PRICE: £639

 


OTHER SAILS IN THIS TEST:

 

GA SAILS MATRIX 7.2

GOYA NEXUS PRO 6.9

GUNSAILS ZOOM 7.2

LOFTSAILS OXYGEN 7.0

NEIL PRYDE SPEEDSTER 7.2

POINT-7 AC-X 7.0

RRD COMPACT FIRE 6.8

SEVERNE NCX 7.0

SIMMER ENDURO 7.1M

 


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