The Ego is North’s new “concept wave sail” which replaces the now discontinued Voodoo. The Ego is the first North sail to be recommended with a skinny mast and it is said to be “as short and compact as possible” for the twin requirements of handling and twist. It is all Xply in sizes below 5.3 but features monofilm in the bigger sizes for better visibility and weight reduction. The Ego has 5 battens.
Set: As well as the excellent VTS downhaul system North now write the recommended boom lengths at different places on the boom cut-out. This means that you now know the correct outhaul (and by definition the correct downhaul) regardless of whether you put your boom at the top, half way or at the bottom of the cut-out (it makes a considerable difference to the required boom length). We think this is an excellent rigging guide that goes a long way to making sure that you are rigging the sail as intended. Ego Set: There is not a lot of area in the foot and head of the Ego as it has a very long chord length (luff to leech). The sail has a little pre-set shape in the lower two battens and sets with only moderate head twist. It sets quite flat with a little rotation and is relatively stiff foiled – we found that it worked best without much outhaul to give it more spring. The rigging instructions are very easy to follow, but actually it seems to have one basic set that doesn’t need varying much anyway. The Egos were set on the new North reduced diameter masts which we have not measured, though North bend curves usually tend to be flex top.
Summary: Fairly stiff and flat foiled with the centre of effort reasonably well back. It doesn’t provide loads of forward drive but keeps a very stable and constant pull. Matthew: “The Ego is a flat and wide sail with a rearwards centre of effort and a raked feel with its low clew. It handles nicely when well powered, but on the 5.3 when the wind dropped a little the very flat mid span of the sail didn’t give enough drive for my heavy weight. In the 4.7 size, the flatness of the sail was much less of a handicap, as you are unlikely to be underpowered. In this size the rearwards pull and the stability of the Ego was much more pleasant, with it liking to be sheeted in hard. However, the combination of its rearwards drive and low clew leads to it sitting in a position quite far aft on the board which means you feel like you have to move it some distance to get up onto your toes for manoeuvres. “The tuning range is small but well defined by the excellent trim guides. Construction looked good to me, with attention to detail on the finish and what looked like a robust build quality that would stand up for some time.” Emile: “The Ego was one of the better sails on the test for me. I found it very different to the Ice, feeling stable with a positive drive and rock solid centre of effort. It seemed to pull me into a very upright sailing position that made me want to go for stuff a lot. It has a decent amount of power but doesn’t have a particularly freeridey feel, I found it quite throwabout and nice.” Ed: “This grew on me and I preferred it to the Ice. Do read the rigging manual to rig it right. Looks good, and looks even better in this year’s white and orange.” Ian: “I appreciated the stability and decent wind range but personally prefer a softer sail with a slightly more forward pull. I prefer the flickier feel of a less wide chord length, but found the sail easy to depower and manoeuvre.”