NORTH S-TYPE SL 7.3M 2015 TEST REVIEW
We tested the S_Type in both 2 and 3 cam mode on a MaverX Daytona 100% mast as a recommended North Sails mast wasn’t available at the time. Nevertheless, the S_Type held no surprises, setting very well on the substitute stick. There is a significant amount of luff curve and skin tension in the S_Type and we found the draft depth remained in place, even when applying downhaul beyond the maximum stated setting. Build quality is excellent as you would expect from the North loft, and the entire range of sizes, from 6.0m to 8.8m, can be used with just one 460cm mast.
“Regardless of whether you’re at high speed or simply cruising and gybing, the S_TYPE SL is extremely versatile. It’s an excellent universal high performance sail for many board types, as it can be sailed with 2 or 3 cambers thanks to the SWITCH.CAM.OPTION”
The S_Type is unique on the market with its built-in cam-conversion option making it particularly relevant for this multi-cam test. And whilst we certainly noticed a difference in feel between its two set-ups, it would be hard to accurately quantify any performance variation without having two identical S_Types to test back to back.In general though, we did find the North was noticeably softer in its 2-cam guise, with movement in its leading edge letting the sail breath and fill more progressively as the wind increases. Useful in pumping, the twin-cam S_Type doesn’t feel noticeably lighter necessarily, but its handling is more tempered and power delivery smoother, finding favour with the more novice rider. For all others though, we think the 3-cam S_Type is such a wonderful all-round contender that most would opt for this set-up out of choice between the two. Generating a good deal of bottom end power, it has similar boom and luff dimensions to the rest of the group despite being a quoted 0.5 sqm smaller. Crisp and reactive as the pressure builds, it accelerates readily in the hands, delivering power efficiently to the board whilst feeling supremely balanced. The S_Type is nothing if not tuneable and the depth of the profile can be refined precisely with adjustments in downhaul and outhaul, playing them both against each other accordingly. Happily used for cruising around on a freeride or freemove board, the North is equally at home on a freerace even slalom hull, retaining its handling at all times. Perhaps not as potent or slippery through the air as some of the more dedicated freerace foils in this test, its easy dependable nature really came into play when the conditions became challenging, which combined with its tuneable range, gave great confidence in confronting whatever was thrown at you. A real class leader in displaying just what versatility a cammed sail can possess.
Delivering a benchmark all-round performance, the S_Type combines enough performance potential for all but the most dedicated with sublime handling and a massive tuneable range.
Other sails in this test: