"The S-Type is one of our most successful sails in all international magazine tests and is considered as the reference in this class. For 2011 it has been completely redesigned and has a more compact shape with a slightly longer Cross.Batten similar to the highly successful Warp F2010. This increased chord has an extremely positive effect on the acceleration!”
on the beach
As ever, North have paid a lot of attention to the detailing and construction of the S-Type. The five-year warranty on construction, and the detailing, such as their VTS trim guide and harness line position indicators, are testament to this. We can’t emphasise how important it is to get these sails correctly set, and North’s trim guide is by far the best in the business for helping achieve the correct setting.
Having said this, we did find ourselves going beyond the recommended setting in stronger winds. The recommended setting range (for downhaul) seemed to be spot-on for light and marginal winds, but the sailed worked better with a little more at the top end. The North is in fact a very tuneable sail, and gives a lot of scope for different conditions and preferences. We only sailed it in triple-cam mode, but removing the camber below the boom may open up some more possibilities. The S-Type sets with a very deep profile, and while increasing downhaul opens the leech, it doesn’t do much to remove this shape from the belly of the sail.
On paper, the S-Type has a fairly moderate luff and boom length, but the large cutaway clew disguises how wide it actually is. At 5.32kg it was one of the heavier sails, but it’s important to remember that it was also the biggest at 7.3m.
Range: 6.0, 6.6, 7.3, 7.8, 8.4, 9.5
Mast: North Platinum 100% 460cm
Sail + Mast: 7.16kg
on the water
The North feels like the biggest sail in test. There’s a huge amount of power, but it’s delivered in just the right place to make it very controllable. The pull point is actually quite low and far forward, which combined with the deep profile really pins the board to the water and gives plenty of control to the rider. This power and control combine to make the North the fastest sail of the group.
In the lightest winds the North had noticeably more power than any of the other sails, getting our Clones on the plane earlier and keeping them planing for longer. It really is very impressive in lighter conditions.
Although it’s a heavier sail than most of the others in terms of static weight, it gets lighter in your hands with speed. That forward pull position ensures that the sail feels light and actually fairly responsive when powered up.
It’s in the manoeuvres where the extra weight and deep profile of the sail take their toll. The rotation is smooth but pretty purposeful as the cambers have to rotate through a larger angle than most due to the extra sail fullness. This makes it a little less agile in the hands.
At the very top end of the wind range the North does a great job of handling its power, but there is a lot of power to handle. We found that the S-Type reached a point where the huge compact clew made the sail feel a little ‘baggy’ above the boom, and while our heavier sailors could still pin it down, it started to become a bit of a handful.
Don’t let this deter you too much though, because it only occurred right at the top end of the wind range, and up until this point the North was the fastest of the group and one of the most comfortable to sail.
The S-Type is a very high quality product that offers the best light wind performance and top speed of the group. It’s an easy sail to use, but also offers enough feel and feedback to keep it interesting for more advanced riders. Manoeuvrability takes a little hit due to the sail being a bit heavier and fuller than most, but it is by no means bad.