During our test week in Bolonia in June 2019 we had the perfect wind conditions to test two models of Duotone’s performance cam sail line. The 12 to 17 knots were perfect to put the S_Pace, which is the successor of the S_Type SL, through its paces.
The 2020 Duotone flyer features the S_Pace in full size on its cover. Pierre Mortefon and Jordy Vonk fly with their 7.3 and 6.6 on Jags LTD over the Hawaiian waters. We were already very curious to feel the performance of this new „magic sail“.
The S_Pace is available in 7 different sizes from 6.0m up to 9.3m and can only be rigged on SDM masts. The performance oriented Freerace sail is available in one color combination and all sizes have 3 cambers. In 2019 it was still possible to choose between 2 or 3 cambers but this so-called switch cam function has been discontinued for 2020.
Both, the large mast pocket and the 7.3m sail catches our eyes immediately. The luff of the 7.3 sail seems to have a very balanced ratio of luff and boom length. 474cm in the luff and 211 in the boom is in our opinion a good ratio. The 460 cm long mast fits well and a 170+ or 180+ long boom is enough. The sail doesn’t require a longer boom like a 190+ or 200+ boom.
Our test sail was rigged with top components, the Platinum SDM 460 and the Platinum boom 170 – 230, which is said to have 20% more stiffness.
Hyper Cam 2.0
Already during the usual camber rotation test on the beach the three cams rotate really soft. The rotation is much easier than with the WARP. The 3 cams slip to the leeward side and the profile fills with wind.
With the Hyper Cam 2.0 a dream of Raoul Joa has came true, who together with Uli Bitterolf pushed this innovation. The cam goes back to a development of A.R.T. in the 90’s, which kind of failed. At that time the cam was called Robocam and was used in the 1997 TNT 5 racing sail. Actually, the plan was to launch the Hyper Cam 2.0 in 2019 but the development didn’t go that fast. A camber that can be adjusted in length on a rigged sail with the help of just a torx key can not be developed overnight. Also not in times of 3d printers and high tech computers.
If this new camber will also work as planned in long-term use, the Hyper Cam 2.0 would definitely be a camber-revolution. Tuning would be so much easier. Time will tell.
Raoul Joa introduces the new Duotone Hyper Cam 2.0
The total weight of the S_Pace 7.3 compared to the big brother WARP is clearly less. 600 grams are saved on the boom if you use the Platinum 170 + instead of the 190+, which only weighs 2.65 kg. The sail weighs 400 grams less than the WARP. But for the S_PACE in 8.8m and 9.3m you have to use a boom that can be extended to 250cm.
KEY FEATURES S_PACE
HYPER CAM 2.0
A completely new, length adjustable camber. The camber length can be adjusted with the help of a torx key even under full sail tension.
AERO SLEEVE DESIGN 2.0
The width of the luff sleeve enables the optimal transition from the “thick” mast leading edge to the “thin” sail body. At the top of the sail the sleeve is more narrow to make water stars easier.
Extra light protector with integrated trim indicator. According to Duotone, the lightest protector on the market right now.
Duotone promises 100% correct batten tension, correctly adjusted when purchased and forever after. They calibrate each individual batten at the factory according to development specifications.
HOLLOW LOWER LEECH
Stabilises the profile above the boom and prevents leech flutter.
DUOTONE is world champion in little features and pointing them out. Everywhere are little features, marks or indications, which should help the customer to rig and trim the sail.
On regular top caps and pin systems the webbing is connected in a “one-dimensional” way with the sail body (either side to side or front to back), which transfers the downhaul tension only in certain points. The 3D TOP CAP allows a “three-dimensional” and very widespread transition of the downhaul forces into the sail body. This eliminates top fluttering and ensures a progressive loose leech extending the wind range. The integrated abrasion ribs eliminate the need for heavy, bulky reinforcements at the end of the luff sleeve.
Improved sail control at higher winds. Designer Kai Hopf originally designed the TT TOP for the WARP. The reduced, concave shape improves tension conditions for a more effective, three-dimensional top twist. This means the top twists not only horizontally, but also vertically under strong winds. By completely neutralising gusts of wind, the rig is kept steady in the rider’s hands, and thus works in a much larger range of winds.
The VTS Visual Trim System 2.0 is a visual mark in the sail top and at the mast protector, which help to find the perfect luff trim. Even beginners can trim the sail in a matter of seconds to 100% accuracy. All you need to do is pull the luff until the top of the loose leech reaches the “lower wind limit” or “upper wind limit” mark. In addition you can mark your ideal trim with a velcro patch at the mast protector (originally this idea came from Ezzy Sails.)
Short and highly effective mini-battens provide support for the areas between the battens and prevent undesirable flutter.
Double the durability with half as much stretch with the triple-stitch zig-zag seams. Unlike other products with their single-seam design, these are double-seam. They cover all exposed crash areas, which increases tear resistance and reduces bending-elongation by up to 50%, boosting profile stability and performance.
iROCKET 2.0 batten tensioners are super-lightweight, aerodynamic and highly stable, consisting of high-quality components such as a self-lubricating, salt-water-resistant brass nut with stainless-steel screw which can withstand all batten tensions. DUOTONE promises 100% correct batten tension, correctly adjusted when purchased and forever after. They calibrate each individual batten at the factory according to development specifications. All battens are adjusted to 100% accuracy using torque wrenches and they apply soluble screw adhesive to the locknuts so that the tension cannot be altered. This means that the batten tension remains absolutely correct and will never have to be adjusted again. The batten key included with the sail is therefore only needed for fine tuning or in the unlikely event of a batten breakage (should not happen anymore).
The Duotone Cutaway Clew with Cross Batten concept shifts the draft position down and stabilizes the large surface in the clew area. It allows for an early planing profile without losing handling. The Progressive Cutaway Clew also allows a shorter boom. Both features vary depending on the sail type and size. The more pronounced the CUTAWAY and the longer the CROSS BATTEN, the more flex and comfort is achieved, especially when overpowered. For a more performance oriented sail both components are less pronounced to ensure a more direct acceleration.
The DUOTONE logo above the boom cutout gently opens the sleeve so that the mast can be threaded into the luff easily.
The harness line trim system is a patented print on the sail and helps to find the harness line position quicker. The final harness line position depends of course on personal preferences and style.
The Hyper Cam 2.0 is a completely new, length adjustable camber. The camber length can be adjusted with the help of a torx key even under full sail tension. The patent is pending. Due to a new batten attachment the cam is not retrofitable to HYPER CAM 1. generation sails.
Specific length recommendation printed directly on the luff sleeve.
In an extensive series of tests, Duotone has developed the ideal combination of necessary film thickness and number of threads. The X.PLY PLUS in particular, at 150 microns in thickness, boasts durability characteristics far in excess of previous laminates at minimal weight.
The bottom (lower clew) of the sail is constantly dragged over the nonslip coating. The Duratech Foot protects the seams within a large plastic channel so that the surface cannot chafe against seams and material.
DUOTONE says they are the only manufacturer to use only polyester webbing for the (vario) top and the tack roller. The advantage compared to conventional polypropylene is the negligible amount of stretch. As a result even brand new sails will retain full luff tension and will not need subsequent trimming.
The integrated, nickel-plated brass triple roller minimizes the downhaul forces tremendously.
The iBumper 2.0 is is a new and lighter moulded mast protector with an integrated vinyl viewing window to see the lower edge of the mast. Once the perfect trim has been found, the optional Velcro patch marks the position. (this idea comes originally from Ezzy Sails)
ON THE WATER
What did the test on the water show? Already while carrying the sail over the head over the beach break into the water the sail feels very balanced and neutral. And during the first beach start we were surprised by its good handling and the excellent lift.
With the first stronger gust in 12 to 15 knots we start planing immediately and accelerate with the 7.3m sail on the 125 liter board. It feels like high-level free racing. The sail has permanent drive, even in patchy wind conditions. A real turbo machine. The foot edge feels locked and the sail very balanced, even with different harness line positions. It seems like the rig looks for its own favorite position. Because of the 3 cambers, the stiff boom and the cross batten concept, we have a stable sail in our hands that feels in control. Compared to the WARP it feels way more lively and softer. It breathes. The cambers are not spoiling the fun on the water and work really well. Maybe even a 3 cam sail could win slaloms. Who knows.
With increasing time on the water – we used the S_Pace for about 5 hours – our understanding increased how to squeeze out more and more knots of top speed. Sure, a bit more downhaul, the harness lines more back and more tension in the body helped to create extra lift on the board. Also long runs with other fast riders increased the pace. The power transmission from rig to board worked very well even with loose legs, as long as the harness lines were tensioned.
Our advice: Make sure to try out the S_Pace, whether on a slalom board, freerace board or slalom oriented freeride board. Do some easy runs and get yourself a pacemaker to push you to the limit, to the S_Pace limit. The S definitely stands for speed.
Aero Sleeve Design 2.0
The width in the aerodynamically important boom area enables the optimal transition from the “thick” mast leading edge to the “thin” sail body. The mast sleeve narrows towards the top of the sail where the luff curve has been significantly reduced for 2020. The top of the sail remained narrow to enable fast water starts. Less water pushes the sail underwater and the mast sleeve or top can be lifted more easily. But the sail doesn’t lose any of its racing feeling, probably because of the wide and wrinkle-free mast sleeve in the lower area.
In summary, the new design feature does not only look good on land, it makes sense and works excellently on water. More handling at the same speed describes the function in one sentence.
Eventually every free racer has to turn around with a tack or a jibe at best. We liked the classic jibe the most. Carving with full speed into the turn, quick change of feet before the sail flip and an exit with good speed to the new downwind course. Like all the other sails we tested, the S_Pace is a real jibe lover, too.
It’s easy to lean the sail to the inside of the turn and sheet in. The sail stays neutral and always develops a little drive forward. Even at the lower wind limit the board keeps the necessary drive. Quickly you will find your favorite position on the boom.
When adjusting the battens make sure to give batten 3 and 4 (count from the top) enough tension. As already mentioned earlier, changes on the new cambers are easier and faster. Thanks to the new Hyper Cam 2.0 the tension can be adjusted easily. The length of the three cambers can be adjusted within a few minutes with the help of a torx key even under full sail tension. Until recently this procedure took at least 60 minutes together with a half-de-rigging and rigging process.
In comparison we tried the 7.8m sail, too. Our conclusion was clear. For 80kg riders, maybe even 85kg riders, the 7.3m sail is the ideal overall size. This sail offers a very good handling with the necessary liveliness in 12 to 17 knots and can be used on an incredible big range of boards, from 95 to 135 liters with 60 to 80 cm board width. Heavier riders with 90+ kg should choose a size bigger which is the 7.8m.
S_PACE 2020 – The first runs with the 7.3m and 7.8m sail
Also Raoul Joa (Line and Product Manager) is always happy about developments and likes to go for some runs with his favourite sail, the S_Pace.
„Windsurfing is such an advanced sport. Many big steps are no longer possible in the development, but I love when we can still make steps forward and improvements to the speed!“ (Raoul Joa)
We wouldn’t be surprised if the sail would win one or the other comparative test of the magazines. The S_Pace is definitely a successful development by Duotone, which will not only please riders with “office fitness”. Especially hobby racers, windsurfers who want to start windsurfing with camber sails or lighter, smaller racers would be well advised with the S_Pace. The jibing itself or in the more special case around buoys is easier and the overall handling is much easier compared to a pure slalom sail. If you are looking for a freerace sail with a noticeable twist and no “sail wall” in front of you, you should opt for the S_Pace. If the top racers would be happy with the S-Pace is another question. They definitely would be fast on the slalom course and at Long Distance Races.
S_Pace can also be read as SPACE. It is a sail, which gives you more space on the water, in a narrower sense more free space. Due to the great planing and gliding characteristics, the brilliant manoeuvre handling and the very good average speed, it’s easy to sail free or to set the speed. A real “(S)Pacemaker”.
+ great alternative for lighter riders on the slalom or long distance course
~ no small sizes for strong wind conditions available, especially for lighter riders
Tech Specs S_Pace 2020
|Mast||Platinum/ Gold>Silver||Platinum/ Gold>Silver||Platinum/ Gold>Silver||Platinum/ Gold>Silver||Platinum/ Gold>Silver||Platinum/ Gold>Silver||Platinum/ Gold>Silver|
More info about the sail:
Watch also the official S_Pace Advertising video
We tested the S_Pace during the 2020 Duotone distributor meeting in Bolonia (Spain). The travel expenses were paid by Duotone.