Thursday, June 30, 2016

North E-Type 6.6 Commentary


As mentioned in the previous post I want to share some thoughts about and give some commentary on this iconic freeride sail.

Initial Impressions  

When we purchased the 6.6, I rigged it on my North Platinum 460 SDM mast.  This is North’s first choice of masts for it.  Their second choice is their 430 SDM and the least favourite mast option is a 430 North RDM.

On the 460 SDM, the sail rigs perfectly.  Once you have tightened the battens the foil is absolutely smooth and as you apply downhaul, it falls off beautifully – a really nice piece of design.  

On the water the sail is powerful for its size, certainly equal to a 7m GA or Vandal sail in this class. The low end is actually quite ferocious and it gets the stickiest of boards planing – no problem.  My first impression was that it is really racy.  It was totally at home on my Falcons 113 and 124 and I had some concern that it may not suit our Tabou 3S 116 very well.  I need not have worried.  It is fantastic with free-move boards – fast, controllable, easy.


The sail comes with trimming marks to help you rig for light, medium or strong winds.  My belief is that you can pull it down to beyond the ‘strong wind” mark for most of your sailing.  It is extremely powerful as mentioned.  I have also discovered that you need not be frightened about applying outhaul.  Once you have dragged it right down, pull it out more than you think you should.  This exaggerated outhaul brings major stability into the rig.  

With the sail rigged like this we had some really fantastic sailing.  My only niggle was that when the wind really picks up the sail can start owning your ass (especially when rigged on a slalom board).  The sensible thing to do in these winds is to rig a smaller sail of course but I always aim to get the widest range possible from my sails and the 460 SDM mast restricts me slightly at the ragged top end.

I have moved away from GA sails and the problem with this as a strategy, is that it leaves you with masts which may not be compatible with your new sails.  I have a Gaastra 430 RDM which I used with my old GA Cross 6.4.   The old Gaastra masts are super stiff and I had a feeling that this stiffness in the RDM mast may just give me controllability and ease without losing stability.
The combo has succeeded beyond my wildest dreams.  The sail is soft and light in the hands now and can be pushed into wild conditions with confidence.  I have to say that rigged, it is not as neat as on the official 460 SDM – it definitely looks a bit dishevelled when you drag it down but the results on the water are just fantastic.
We have now bought an E-Type 5.8m and I will be rigging that on my trusty black Fiberspar RDM which has seen such distinguished service with the 6.0m Cross in violent conditions.

OK that’s enough rambling for one post.
Good winds

BTW I hear rumours that Fanatic has developed a new long, super lightwind Falcon board for 2017.  I would like to think that my blog posts had something to do with this but I’m sure that it is a co-incidence.  
They are also bringing in a board called the Blast – a super fast, super comfortable free-race model for non-racing blasters. How intelligent is that!   Can’t wait!      


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