Tushingham X-15 Speed: live the 40-knot dream!
Back in the late Eighties and early Nineties SPEED sailing was a thriving area of windsurfing. Manufacturers pushed each other hard, developing cutting-edge equipment in pursuit of the ultimate goal – the World Speed Record. Back then a bunch of top speed sailors were as well known as the likes of Ricacardo Campello and Kauli Seadi are today. Following the record breaking run of the multi-hull yacht “Yellow Pages” and with board manufacturers producing far easier freeride designs for the mass-market, interest in speed fell away, compounded by the cancellation of a number of events through lack of wind.
In recent years however, we have seen faster freeride shapes develop, better light wind kit and renewed interest in slalom racing. The portable GPS device has seen increasing numbers of windsurfers measuring their speeds without the difficulty of having to set up a speed course and many windsurfing shops now hire these devices out to their customers, provoking fierce competition to break the local record!
At the same time, a number of the world’s best windsurfers have been working hard with manufacturers to wrestle back the speed record from Yellow Pages. This culminated in Finian Maynard’s record-breaking run of 46.82 knots back in November, which inspired windsurfers of all standards to push their own sailing a little harder and faster. Weymouth Speed Week has seen a full turnout of windsurfers in the last couple of seasons with modern kit allowing recreational windsurfers to break 30 knots and well beyond on standard “off the shelf” equipment.
Ken Black has always been excited by fast sails and saw an opportunity to begin work on a brand new design – the X-15. The design brief was to produce two super-fast, super-stable designs covering a wide wind range, whilst maintaining a degree of user-friendliness that allows the sails to be used by mere mortals – not just 17 stone hunks of muscle from the World Tour! Following a number of prototypes and testing in the UK, the Canaries and Australia, the new designs have finally been approved and are now available in the UK through the Tushingham dealer network.
On its first outing in Australia the production X-15 5.8 achieved 40.5 knots (using GPS) on the Swan River in Perth. The pilot that day, Jez Hammond (Australian Tushingham importer) likened the sail to a high-performance turbo charged sports car:
“The X-15 feels very comfortable at low speeds – a whole lot easier than 8 battens and 5 cams suggest. But when the gusts come through you hit 5 thousand revs, the turbo kicks in and you’re pinned right to the back of the seat! Absolutely devastating – the perfect foil to hit warp speed on my Sonic 100 and a great sail for slalom racing too!”
Mast: 430 IMCS 21
– ideal Tushingham FreeRace 100%
Mast: 460 IMCS 25
– ideal Tushingham Superlight R 100%
AVAIALBLE: FEB 2005
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