Thursday, October 7, 2010

2011 North Sails Ice review

I know, I know. Everyone says the new sails just keep getting better and better. Well, everyone is right. The 2011s are very similar in feel to the 2010s. I've had the 2011s for about a month of testing now. I finally managed to get out on the 4.2 and 3.7 recently and I've been out on the 4.7 and 5.3 a ton.

As always, North is a very high quality sail with the 5 year warranty to back it up. There is an attention to detail in the norths not found in most other manufacturers. It's still the easiest sail to rig on the market. Just set the downhaul to the sail markings and outhaul to the numbers on the luff sleeve by the boom cutout that are dead on. The Ice HD is back again this year in a full X-ply construction. I opted again for the monofilm versions for ultimate handling and easy viewing of the next wave I'm about to slash, or boat about to run me over.

The handling of the 2011 sails is a bit lighter feeling in the hands than last year, and that's saying a lot, because one of the online mags stated after testing a boatload of sails that the 2010 Ice was the lightest handling sail in the group. Now the 2011 is even lighter feeling! The low end of the Ice increased for 2010 and but couldn't tell a difference this year. Still lots of smooth power and I'm still always the first one planing. What I did notice however was the ability of the 2011s to stay even more locked in when overpowered. The center of effort just stays right where the harness line markings on the sail are. Another noticeable improvement for those that are up for some freestyle trickery is that the 2011 is much more controlled in all the duck moves. It goes neutral really easy and just lays into the perfect position for a duck tack, funnel, kono or culo. The improvement of handling was most notable in the 5.3 size. It's very close in feel to the 4.7 now.

All in all, the 2011 ice is as good as or better at everything than the 2010. Little improvements here and there are really adding up. Although you might not notice too much of a difference going from a 2010 to a 2011 if you haven't been sailing the 2010 all year, I recently sailed a 2008 5.3 Ice and the difference compared to a 2011 very noticeable.

For more info on the Northsails Ice go to the NORTHSAILS WEBSITE

Here are a few pics of the 3.7 in action in winds gusting over 40!

And one of the 4.7 in action at Heckscher along side it's older brother (2009).


  1. If they were not better would you post it? I am sure they are great.

  2. Indeed I would post it. And maybe even switch to one of the other sail brands I can get for free instead of paying for the Norths. So far, there has only been one year of the Norths that they haven't gotten better or at least stayed the same since I've started sailing them in 1999. It was when they switched out the Dr. X for the Instinct, maybe 2003 or so. I didn't order any sails that year. The instinct then improved for the next couple years, but then the Ice came along and it was a whole new ball game. It's been getting even better ever since. Ask anyone that's tried a newer Ice compared to an older one.

  3. Hi, Mike

    Could you tell me what size mast do you use with the 5.3 Ice. I just bought a 2011 Ice 5.3 and I'm still wondering about the mast, because I noticed that 430 is recommended for the 2012 model and the luff actually hasn't changed.
    Any advice will be appreciated.

  4. Hey,

    The 2011 rigs perfectly with the 400cm mast which also was the recommended mast for that year. I switched to IDs this year (2012), so I have a 5.4. A 430 mast is also recommended as per north for the "best mast". Both myself and a friend of mine who uses the Dukes agreed that the 400 works much better than the 430 on the 2012 5.4 sails. I would imagine the same would hold true for the 5.3 Ice. So without trying it out for myself, I would say go with the 400, but the best way to find out is to try both masts for yourself.

    1. Thanks, Mike

      I did rig it with a 430 and it looked a bit weird. I won't be able to test on water so I guess I'll shoot a little bit in the dark with the 400. What you say for the 5.4 duke seems to make sense as the 430 is probably stiffer therefore will work better for heavier riders looking for power wave sail rather than lighter guys looking for light wind freestyle sail.

  5. Yeah, the 5.4s looked really weird too with the 430. The leach was very stiff up top where it should be twisting off, then the panel with the logo is completely wrinkled dumping all the power out early. With the 400 cm mast, they set nicely and feel like the rest of the line.

  6. hey mike,

    what mast did you use on the 4.2 ICE?
    The 370 or 400? sdm/rdm


  7. Hi David,

    The 4.2 was working much better on a 370, but in a pinch the 400 will work ok too. I liked it much, much better with the 370 though. All I use is RDMs. Even on my 7.3 X-type. NoLimitz is putting out so many different types of skinnies, you can really dial in the feel you want the sail to have depending on which mast you choose.

    All the best,


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