SEVERNE NCX 6.5M TEST REVIEW
Not surprisingly, the NCX remains in the Severne fold for 2018, given that it has been such a strong, class-defining sail for them over the years. To celebrate this, they’ve extended the sizes available in the range, adding two smaller sizes in 4.5m and 5.0m, and bridging the gap in the larger sizes by introducing an 8.5m. Using x-ply in the foot and lower luff panel, the rest of the sail is constructed in monofilm, making the most of its resistance to stretch. To extend this further still, Severne use their esteemed Spiderfibre yarn along the length of the leech to ensure the sail’s structural integrity. Rigged on a Blue RDM mast (allowing for plenty of play in the luff sleeve), it sets with very little luff curve to its leading edge, yet only the second lowest batten keeps any rotation around the mast. Meanwhile, the leech opens up significantly in its upper panels, enabling a good amount of twist all the way down to the batten above the clew eyelets. It’s a good-looking sail, with a clean, defined profile locked forward in the draft and plenty of well thought out features, such as the seamless head and foot panels, the integrated batten pockets and the thicker monofilm used in the upper luff panel (regarded as the Stabilizor Panel).
“Maximum stability is achieved through high skin tension and 7 battens in all but the smallest sizes. Combined with the shock-absorbing properties of a no-cam sail, this means a huge wind range. With its higher aspect ratios, lowered shape distribution and more control-oriented geometry, the NCX has impeccable handling to control all that speed.”
With such a short boom length (some 13 cm shorter than the average in the group and a whopping 23 cm shorter than the longest), the NCX does feel very light and easy in the hands initially. In marginal winds, the subtlety of the power delivery could easily be misconstrued as lacking in bottom end drive. But with good technique and dynamic pumping, the NCX can provide the response through its leading edge. You need to rely on moving the whole sail, rather than purely working through the back hand, but as soon as you get airflow moving over the sail, its efficiency and acceleration kick in. Light and playful, it feels more like a 6.0m than its quoted size when going and settles into a comfortable locked in stance, the forward placed centre of effort meaning there’s minimal pressure through the backhand. It can be used to cover distance in comfort, accelerating at will in gusts as it delivers the extra energy directly to the board, seemingly bypassing the rider. As such, it is an easy sail to perform well with, requiring little input or guidance from the rider. In transition the NCX feels tiny compared to some, even encouraging the rider to try some carving trickery, starting with duck gybes and seeing how far the imagination will take them. It pivots through mid-transition effortlessly, the battens rotating smoothly before the power comes back on through both hands. You need to let the sail do the work rather than forcing the issue – if you pull in too hard through the backhand, you run the risk of over-sheeting and stalling. Of course, none of this is an issue when using the NCX in powered to overpowered wind strengths – conditions in which it really thrives. The option of the lower clew eyelet was welcomed when the chips were down, the sail retaining its manners to provide the confidence to keep pushing, long after others have headed back in.
Supremely light handling combined with a crisp power delivery allowing the NCX to take all the effort out of blasting and sailing well. Just wind it up and let the sail do its thing!
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