NORTH E_TYPE 7.3M 2016 TEST REVIEW
Described by North as their ‘performance no-cam’, the E_Type sits between the cammed S_Type and Volt crossover in their compact 6-sail range. The third largest size available, this 7.3 is the largest with 6 battens and is recommended for use solely with SDM masts. Rigged here on a Platinum 460cm, it is easy to downhaul and set, possessing one of the straightest luff curves in the group, complimented with lots of North’s excellent visual trimming guides (including VTS.plus) to help establish the right tension. At rest, the E_Type displays moderate shape in its profile below the boom, becoming flat above the boom whilst the leech falls away significantly along its length. With a clean, uncomplicated appearance, the E_Type boasts all the refinements you’d expect from the North loft, such as double seams, the integrated downhaul rope pocket in the tack fairing and use of tubed battens in all bar the top and bottom batten pockets.
“The extremely versatile E_TYPE combines handling and rigging advantages of a NoCam sail with a very lively power delivery and top speed. This sail really wants to get going quickly and also maximizes the enjoyment of manoeuvres. We’ve made this possible through implementing the reduced aspect ratio from the WARP F2013 and the increased profile in the upper luff panel. The new E_TYPE performs not only at peak performance but also exceptionally well during acceleration and planing. This is thanks to the additional profile in the upper luff panel and the TT.TOP with active twist.”
With some of the larger dimensions in the group, and a lot of sail area immediately above the boom, it came as no surprise that the E_Type is one of the larger feeling sails in the hands. On the plus side, it also provides one of the best bottom end performances, its low luff curve giving it a flexible nature so that it is very effective and useful for pumping.The power delivery is soft and progressive, building smoothly as the wind fills and the sail’s profile deepens. The centre of effort is relatively high for this freerace group and encourages a more relaxed upright stance than most. As the wind increases, the E_Type does begin to feel its size sooner, so we returned to shore for some re-tuning. And this is where we were most impressed with the 7.3m. Whilst well beyond its natural wind range, the sail could be outhauled an extra inch to re-establish its composure and ease. Yes, it does so to the detriment of the sail’s low down drive (particularly noticeable when exiting a gybe for example), but it shows just how useful and user-friendly the E_Type can be, providing soft useable power over a massive wind range. And like the 6.6 tested last month, that attainable performance is never more welcomed than when the conditions become challenging.
Representing excellent value for money, the E_Type is an easy, universal no-cam option rather than a locked in no-compromise blaster, providing soft accessible power over a wide tuneable wind range.
Other sails in this test: