NORTH SAILS E-TYPE 7.3M 2017 TEST REVIEW
Tested in the 6.5m freeride sail category last month, the E_Type appears once again here to contend with the cream of the no-cam freerace sector. North Sails have whittled their range down to make it as clean as possible, and in doing so the E_Type represents both freeride and no-cam freerace, giving rise to the premise that they believe the qualities of ‘ease’ and ‘speed’ are not mutually exclusive. Incorporating the brand’s now reputed ‘No Compromise Design’ (where the luff curve can be reduced without compromising stability, by use of a highly resistant anti-stretch material in the sail’s chord), the sail also has the added benefit of a deeper profile further up the luff, designed to enhance bottom end power. Constructed with excellent attention to detail, as you would expect from the North loft, at £519.00 the E_Type seems to offer real value for money (even before we’ve taken it on the water!), coming with a two-year warranty that can be extended by another three years once the sail is registered. Tested here on a North Platinum 460cm SDM mast, the 7.3m is easy to downhaul and set, the VTS gauge in the top panel providing a straightforward indication of the tension required. With rotation solely in the bottom two battens and progressive twist down to the clew, the 7.3m has a moderate amount of shape low and forward in its draft at rest.
“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!”
Light and balanced in the hands at rest, on its minimum setting the E_Type does feel its size in marginal winds, yet has a beautifully progressive nature as the wind turns on and the pressure builds. Breathing into a deeper profile thanks to the play in the luff tube, it provides a soft guttural bottom-end punch that is easy to transfer directly to the board. North proclaim in their literature that the E_Type eliminates the need for pumping, and using this 7.3m we can see why. Once going the sail settles into a relaxed stance, happy being pushed and driven hard or sailed at half speed with a more quiet riding style. It’s both dependable and forgiving, the dynamic movement in the leading edge absorbing impacts as you travel over chop, and giving that extra bit of time for the intermediate to recover from clumsy mistakes. As the conditions become more challenging, the E_Type can be re-tuned with more tension and twist to keep the centre of effort locked forward. Providing constant feedback through the backhand, it may not have the immediacy or acceleration response as some others in the group at the top end, yet its balance and smooth delivery quickly gain the rider’s trust when the chips are down.
Smooth progressive power that punches boards clear in marginal winds and settles the nerves in severe conditions. The E_Type provides ease and practicality over a massive wind range, and at this price is stunning value.
Other sails in this test: