SEVERNE NCX 7.0M 2019 TEST REVIEW
More than a freerace sail, Severne distinguish the NCX as their no-cam race sail, taking inspiration directly from their race thoroughbred, the Mach 1, and stating improvements in three key areas for the new season: speed, power and stability. Compatible on an RDM or SDM, the NCX was rigged on an Apex Pro 460 mast for this test – the brand’s performance SDM to fully explore its potential. With comparatively small dimensions, the sail actually looks small for its quoted area and has one of the most reduced luff curves witnessed amongst the group. Any loss in stability this may have caused is then countered by use of a Kevlar integrated x-ply luff panel, the strand oriented to mitigate vertical stretch whilst still affording the panel some movement horizontally. In doing so, the NCX is said to adopt a deeper profile below the boom, providing more power and feedback. The brand’s favoured eM4 x-ply is then instilled in the foot and clew for durability and lightness, using monofilm throughout the rest of the panels. Tube battens are in place for performance and stability and the geometry of the battens is the same as seen in the Mach program. Dubbed the Aero-line concept, the idea is to optimise the twist profile of the sail, reducing drag and making faster speeds more accessible. The finish of the Severne is sharp and functional – with reinforcements where you need them, and none where you don’t. For example, the batten pockets are integrated, their tips possessing sewn in abrasion pads. And yet, like the Gator tested last month, this NCX has no abrasion pad around the head cap, just a graphic mimicking one. For years it has been a given that a beefed up head cap was necessary; trust Severne to be the ones to challenge convention.
“Stability has been further improved by adding skin tension and reworking the batten skeleton to lock the power low and forward.”
Over the years, we have had the pleasure of testing the NCX in various sizes and iterations, and have always been impressed with its light handling, top end stability and speed. But if we were to suggest an area for improvement in performance, it would have been in its light wind potential. So we are pleased to report that this has been largely addressed in the 2019 version … and not to the detriment of its top end either. With the shortest boom length in the group, it certainly feels small in the hands initially, but use the upper eyelet, reduce the downhaul tension and the depth in the leading edge is now complimented by flex and response in the mast, pushing its ‘get up and go’ to new heights. The delivery is subtle and precise rather than obvious or grunty, but with a deft touch and good technique, it can be used to great effect. Once going, the length of the boom is again noticeable, the batten profile pushing shape just so far forward, pinning the board down and locking into the rider’s stance into such a comfortable position. Accelerating actively through gusts, the NCX has lost none of its drag-racing potency, feeling feverish and thirsty for more power, and translating it effortlessly into more speed. What has improved is its drive through prolonged lulls, the deeper draft generating more pull to extend upon the sail’s gliding efficiency. In entry to transition the NCX feels controllable and practical, its speed, low forwards pull and short boom length all adding to this. Just be prepared to be a little forceful with the battens – there’s plenty of rotation left in the lower battens round the mast, so they may well need some rider intervention to push round to the new tack. With more wind, the sail’s stability is never in doubt, using more tension to generate plenty of looseness and twist along the leech. And if things get even hairier, there’s also the lower clew eyelet to fall back on.
A unique feeling sail in the group, the NCX has an almost unnatural lightness to its handling, disguising its raw speed, efficiency and range.
Other sails in this test: