POINT-7 AC-X 7.0M 2016 TEST REVIEW
Sitting between their 5-battened ‘classic freeride’ AC-F and three-cammed AC-K, the AC-X is Andrea Cucci’s (hence the AC in every sail’s name) take on what a no-cam slalom sail should resemble. Boasting a full house of seven tubed battens with new ‘clean release’ tensioners and lightweight pockets, along with refined head and boom reinforcements, the Point-7 team has focused on reducing the sail’s weight for this sixth generation AC-X. Using the C80 SDM supplied, it is easy to rig thanks to the visual trimming guides; there is the standardone in the panel between battens 2 and 3 for leech looseness, and a neat one for the extension length along the bottom batten. Setting relatively flat at rest, the AC-X displays no rotation in its battens around the mast, yet lots of looseness in the upper panels.
“The high-end performance will give you the high speed that you have always dreamed about with minimal effort and easy handling characteristics. Lightness, probably the lightest seven batten no cam on the market, and high-end performance of the sail even further in over-powered conditions. Power and enhanced stability in both low and high wind conditions, combined with a very locked-in feeling, only comparable to a cambered sail.”
Reading Point 7’s literature about the AC-X, you can’t help but get the impression there is a leaning towards top end performance, and this is quickly confirmed by taking it on the water. In light to marginal winds it lacks the bottom end grunt of others on test here and doesn’t really pull with conviction, which no amount of re-tuning really improves. Instead, wait until it is comfortably powered and the AC-X begins to show its form, generating efficient drive whilst feeling incredibly light and balanced in the hands. In fact it is so crisp and that you’d be forgiven for mistaking it for a much smaller sail in the hands. Interestingly, the power delivery is distinctly soft and subtle, building smoothly as the panels move and the profile of the draft swells. The centre of effort is low, yet relatively far back in the draft, focused around the rider and going some way to explaining that balanced feedback in both hands. As the wind increases, the AC-X keeps winding up, happy to be partnered with most board styles for this size sail, although finding most favour with high-end chargers. Take it into overpowered winds and the sail simply feels like it can keep pulling, slipping through the air and accelerating with every gust. And yet the handling remains wonderfully neutral and balanced. In the corners the AC-X’s handling really shines through again, making it easy to manoeuvre and reposition, the pressure returning steadily as the sail gains speed on the new side.
The AC-X is focused on powered performance, combining limitless speed with the lightest handling and a soft easy power delivery that becomes its magnum opus in severe conditions.
Other sails in this test: