NORTH SAILS E_TYPE 6.6M 2016 TEST REVIEW
The E_Type is North’s performance no-cam sail, with 10 sizes (from 4.0m to 8.2m) spanning a massive wind range. The emphasis of the sail changes throughout, with the 4.0m to 5.8m housing five battens and being more handling/manoeuvre oriented, progressing to six battens for the 6.2m and 6.6m tested here, and seven battens for the three largest sizes to push stability and top end performance. The only sail in this test group to prefer a 460cm mast, it was recommended for use with an SDM, albeit, is still compatible with a 430cm mast and RDM. Rigging with relatively little luff curve and plenty of looseness along the length of its leech, it sets very cleanly, with a moderate amount of shape to its profile at neutral and all the usual quality trimmings you would expect from a North Sails product.
“E is for exciting! The E_TYPE is exactly the type of sail to help windsurfing regain its real fascination. Rigs without a sweat, takes off and gets going without pumping. This sail boasts the perfect power and acceleration capabilities of our WARP combined with the handling of a no-cam sail. Windsurfing has never been so relaxed and exciting at the same time!”
With some of the larger dimensions in the group, the North E_Type certainly felt is size from the off and fills beautifully as the wind increases to generate a significant amount of bottom end grunt. With balanced feedback in both hands, it offers a soft, progressive power delivery, making it easy to transfer the energy into the board and push it effortlessly onto the plane. Accelerating smoothly, its flexible character remains thanks to its reduced luff curve, making it willing to settle into a secure and comfortable stance, moving around the rider. It really comes into its own in harsh conditions, where this easy elastic style helps to absorb any impact from riding over chop, the low and forward centre of effort pinning the board down without disturbing the rider’s stance. It really does take the stress out of the arms in these conditions, as if possessing some inbuilt suspension. In manoeuvres, the E_Type depowers readily for repositioning, and whilst it rotates slower than most in the group due to its large area just above the boom, its progressive acceleration in the hands once on the new tack makes it easy and forgiving to complete the manoeuvre. With the bottom end power to encourage the most sticky of wide boards to release, the E_Type can also be fine tuned with more tension to partner a freerace hull for an impressive top end performance, giving it a wide wind range and excellent rider appeal.
With a definite bias for straight-line work, the E_Type has an endearing soft and forgiving nature, providing accessible power and safe handling over a very wide wind range. At £460 it represents excellent value for money.
Other sails in this test: