DUOTONE E_TYPE 6.6M 2019 TEST REVIEW
Having just tested the 7.3m E_Type in the no-cam freerace category last month, we have here its smaller sibling, the 6.6m for the entry-level freeride sail test. There is a lot to be said for offering a clearer, more simplified product range, but can one sail design really fulfil the briefs at either end of the spectrum? Regarding price, the E_Type certainly upholds its part of the bargain, coming in at under £550.00. Rigged on a 460 cm Platinum SDM, it is straightforward to set using the visual trimming guides in the upper panel. There’s a moderate amount of luff curve along its leading edge, the three bottom battens retaining plenty of rotation, whilst the leech falls away along much of its length. Displaying the cross-batten geometry of the 7.3m, all the detailing you’d expect of a Duotone sail is present, such as abrasion beading in vulnerable areas and reinforced entries into the tack fairing. The panels are predominantly monofilm, bar a x-ply patch for the clew panel and the narrowest Dacron strip low down in the luff panel. Dressed in either red-blue (as here) or blue-white colours, for an extra £90.00, the E_Type is also available in HD, where the use of monofilm is replaced entirely with x-ply of varying weights.
“The “E” stands for “electrifying”, “effective” and “easy to control”.
Using the minimum mark to determine the set of the sail initially, the E_Type generates a good amount of power and feedback as a gust hits. There is some shape forward in the sail’s draft at rest, but as pressure builds, the extra material in the luff sleeve allows the panels to breathe and adopt a much deeper profile. Delivery is soft and forgiving, never asking too much of the rider or pulling them to their toes. You can be passive in your approach to getting going, letting the sail do all the work for you … yet like the 7.3m, if you put the effort in, the elasticity and response bestowed in the mast by the reduced luff curve makes its pumping response all the more impressive. The power available and balance through both hands makes the E_Type a versatile contender, capable of being used on the most stubborn, sticky board, right through to the more efficient freerace platform. Once going, it feels very comfortable and easy in the hands, the position of the pull being forward in the draft and relatively high. It is an exceptional sail for easy plug and play cruising, being a pleasure to use for long periods and requiring very little technical input to get the most from. As the wind increases, the E_Type can be re-tuned with more tension to help lock the centre of effort in place to retain its manners. It copes admirably in turbulent confused seas, the movement in the sleeve helping to pacify any harsh feedback. In transition the high and forward focussed centre of effort helps to pull the rider over the board, going neutral as it is eased out, before the battens switch smoothly in rotation. And one more thing to add – if you have ambition to pursue an interest in foiling, the E_Type’s geometry and power delivery make it a perfect companion as you explore this new and exciting pathway.
A great all-rounder with range and impeccable behaviour, the E_Type is a quality product that will satisfy demands as a rider’s skillset develops.
Other sails in this test: