POINT-7 AC-X 7.5 2020 TEST REVIEW
A drag racer’s dream, the AC-X delivers a level of performance that the most ardent slalom sailor would be happy with, yet requires minimal input. If you want to be the fastest around your local spot and make it look effortless, this sail could be the most coveted prize in your setup.
The AC-X bears the slogan ‘slalom no-cam’, providing race performance for “slalom speed seekers, who don’t like the hassle of cams.” It is available in two colour schemes for 2020 – the brand’s trademark black (code 823), or a more standout yellow (as tested here), carrying the code 7458. Another stated tweak for the new season is a remodelling of the profile, improving the speed of rotation and drive through the gybe. Rigged on a Black Prime 460 SDM, it is easy to rig, using the Quick Extension Tuning graphs along the foot of the sail to confirm the extension length required. Apply the downhaul and ‘the setting’ visual mark in the top panel provides guidance on the looseness required. There’s a good amount of curvature in the leading edge, but not as much as you might expect, the height of the AC-X (being the second tallest in the group), and its tapered outline giving it a high aspect appearance. Sporting tubed battens throughout, housed in lightweight anti-stretch x-ply pockets, the sail’s profile is decidedly flat at rest, with only the batten immediately under the boom cutout retaining any contact with the mast. And there is only one clew eyelet offered, said to be determined as the optimum position, to allow the leech to twist and open. It certainly displays a wealth of looseness right down to batten six! X-ply is employed in the foot and luff panel, with a new anti-UV transparent grey monofilm used in the window panel – fitting for a brand with penchant for anything stealth! The other additional panel worth mentioning is a thin slither of Dacron in the lower luff panel, but more of that when we discuss the on-water performance.
“If cambered sails are not your cup of tea, then the sheer performance specs and looks of the AC-X should be the one for you. Let the wind fill in the sail, and you’ll be smiling, seeing others eating your spray!”
Using the term ‘no-cam slalom’ to describe the AC-X is quite a statement … yet having tried it on the water, we believe it’s fully justified! Flat and neutral in the hands at idle, it looks every bit its quoted size of 7.5m, yet feels composed and willing, the high skin tension galvanising its response to gusts as they hit. The initial pull of the AC-X comes from high in the sail, yet as pressure builds the sail’s low down Dacron luff panel expands and shifts the drive lower down the luff. As a result, the sail has both a fascinating and motivating nature. It powers quickly and smoothly, pulling the rider over the board, its low-cut foot encouraging the rider to lock it into a committed stance. Yet as the next gust hits, the movement in the lower luff pins the board to the floor and effortlessly accelerates as if finding another gear. And what is more, this happens automatically, requiring no input from the rider; all they need to do is hold on and enjoy the ride as they accelerate past their peers! You find yourself hunting for gusts and craving this rush of acceleration, knowing that you’re conserving energy as others wrestle their sails for the same result. It is quite an addictive sensation and encourages use of the AC-X in properly powered to overpowered conditions, sitting on top a thoroughbred freerace or slalom board. That is not to say it doesn’t work reasonably in light marginal winds, but it’s much like buying a Ferrari to potter round town and do your weekly shop in. In the turn the AC-X enters at speed and rotates effortlessly, but just maintain a low stance on exit to counter the high pull if speed is lost.
Luff: 477 cm
Boom: 206 cm
Ideal Mast: Point-7 460 SDM (RDM compatible)
Available Sizes: 4.7, 5.4, 6.0, 6.5, 7.0, 7.5, 7.9, 8.4, 9.0.
OTHER SAILS IN TEST