NORTH SAILS E-TYPE 6.6M 2017 TEST REVIEW
The E_Type was one of the notable sails in this freeride sail test last season, being the only one to be recommended for use with a 460cm and possessing a soft forgiving nature with a penchant for straight-line work. Its size range remains extensive for 2017, offering 10 sizes from 4.0m to 8.2m … and all capable of being rigged on just two mast sizes. Looking remarkably similar to last’s year’s E_Type, save for a brighter livery, in this size it benefits from the brand’s ‘no compromise design’ concept, using a high resistance material in the chord of the sail so that its luff curve can be reduced without losing structural stability. It also possesses a feature North are calling the ‘Luff Lift Panel’ – said to improve early planing and acceleration by increasing the profile higher in the luff panel. Tested here on a 460cm Drop Shape SDM, this 6.6m remains compatible with RDMs and 430cm masts. It is easy to downhaul and set thanks to the brand’s signature VTS indicators in the top panel, fine-tuning the power delivery accordingly on the outhaul. Build quality is as you would expect from the North loft, coming with a two year warranty as standard and an impressive three year extension when registered.
“The extremely versatile E_TYPE combines handling and rigging advantages of a no cam 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 and the increased profile in the upper luff panel.”
Providing balanced feedback through both hands from the off, the E_Type generates some impressive bottom end torque as the wind increases, filling its broad panels and expanding into a deep useful profile. The power delivery is soft and progressive, making it easy to control and redirect into the board, so much so in fact that it seems to take the effort out of getting going, responding so well to a passive style that it reduces any real necessity for pumping. Accelerating to an impressive speed, there’s versatility to its stance, happily cruising at half speed with an upright stance, or being partnered with an efficient freerace hull and locked in for powered blasting. In this instance, we did find downhauling the sail beyond the max VTS mark improved the sail’s twist a little more and helped to settle any draft movement. Using the E_Type in a variety of conditions and sea states, its forgiving flexible character really comes into its own in choppy challenging environments, where the built in elasticity really takes the stress out of the arms and allows the rider to concentrate on choosing the board’s path of least resistance. Steady and
dependable rather than instantaneous in manoeuvres, the E_Type’s large dimensions may count against it in the ‘responsive’ stakes, yet its smooth delivery make it easy to handle whatever the situation.
The E_Type is a stunningly dependable powerhouse, with soft forgiving handling and masses of range for covering great distances in comfort.
Other sails in this test: