NORTH SAILS HERO 4.7M 2017 TEST REVIEW
Classed by North Sails as “the most universal 4-batten wave sail … a true World Cup weapon”, the Hero is a ‘go anywhere’ wave sail ideally suited for use with multi-finned wave boards. As with the 5.3m tested last month, this smaller size benefits from the same design principles, including new load strips radiating from the clew for improved stability; a concave leech outline between the clew and main batten (including mini battens) to reduce flutter and a greater distance between the boom and main batten, the concept of which is explained below. Incorporating the build quality and attention to detail you’d expect of North, they are prepared to put their money where their mouth is and provide an impressive 5-year warranty on materials and workmanship. If your budget is tight though, the Hero is also available in M.E. construction, using exactly the same design, but without the high-end x-ply laminates and iBumper in the tack.
“Introduced with last year’s Hero Kai Hopf moved up the batten above the boom to enlarge the gap to the foot batten, similar to a 3-batten sail. This FREE.BOOMZONE.CONCEPT makes for a great on-off. The batten-free zone is also super effective to pump and offers no resistance for the wind to fill out the profile in underpowered surf, just like a typical 3-batten sail!”
Rigged on a 400cm RDM mast, the Hero is easy to downhaul and set, thanks to the sail’s reduced luff curve and the visual trimming guide in the top panel. The bottom batten protrudes from the mast’s leading edge, whilst the batten immediately above the boom rests next to the mast and retains rotation. On the water, the Hero is incredibly light and balanced in the hands, the sail breathing into a deeper profile as the wind increases and the pressure builds. The bottom end power generated is useful and easy if not forceful and grunty, the centre of effort low and relatively far back in the draft. It has a very balanced stance, delivering feedback through both hands and feeling ready to respond at will. And this is the Hero’s strength – providing smooth progressive power and balanced handling across a wide wind range on just one setting. On the wave, the Hero’s attributes enabled it to come into its own, generating the drive through the bottom turn before becoming wonderfully light and neutral for release in the top turn. As the wind increases and the sea state becomes more severe, the Hero remains composed and forgiving, its soft nature helping to absorb impact and move around the rider. It was pleasure to use in all conditions, from cross-onshore mush to cross-offshore perfection, its light precise handling appealing particularly with light to medium riders, and novice sailors to manoeuvre maestros.
Exceedingly light and balanced in the hands, the Hero was a delight to use around a break and particularly in manoeuvres, making wave riding easy in all conditions, from cross-on to cross-off.
Other sails in this test: