Sizes: 2.7, 3.3, 3.7, 4.0, 4.2, 4.5, 4.7, 5.0, 5.2, 5.5, 5.7, 6.0m.
Manufacturer’s mast recommendations:
The Rock is designed to set on either SD or RD masts (Tushingham Freewave 75% SD or RD 100%) but last year, following extensive comparison, we much preferred its performance on the RD masts. Consequently we used the 2008 sails solely with RD masts. The Tushingham RD100 is of roughly average stiffness and relatively flex-top in bend curve.
Our mast recommendations:
This season’s Rocks are now less soft in feel with greater shape. Whereas in previous seasons we found that they benefited hugely from fairly stiff, flex-top masts to maintain shape and hold rotation in the luff in stronger winds, this season the sails have more natural shape and tension. Consequently they are now more adaptable to softer and more stiff-top masts, although we would still not recommend using fully stiff-top masts like the Gaastra or Maui Sails spars.
Changes for ’08:
The Rock has been extensively redesigned and is significantly different this year. The sail requires considerablymore downhaul tension to reach best set, and this gives it greater stability andmore foil tension. The head doesn’t go loose quite as easily and extensively as previous seasons’, and the sail appears to holdmore positive shape. However, it is still relatively flexible and recognisably Tushinghamin feel. Set: As said, whereas in previous seasons you could just about hand-tension the downhaul even without a pulley, you now need a rig puller and a good, free-running downhaul system. Otherwise, the visual clues are quite similar. The leech still goes loose quite a long way down towards the clew and there is still quite a lot of rotation in battens 1 & 2. There is a bit of pre-set shape obvious in batten 1 only. The sail still sets fairly flat on the beach but fills in the wind. There is plenty of spring in the body but it is firmer than in previous seasons. It likes a good couple of centimetres of outhaul. It works well through a range of conditions in one set but offers good potential for rerigging for conditions.
Performance: Although we have tried the 5.3 and 5.7m, most of our experience of the Rock comes from our quiver 4.7s which we have always been keen to get onto whenever the wind has been strong enough. All sizes tried seem to offer very similar performance. Although Rocks could always be set with low downhaul and outhaul for decent power, they used to have quite a small wind range set like this. Now they have far greater stability when set for power, holding a slightly deeper and less twisted shape for longer before distorting. Otherwise, they are quite similar to previous seasons’ with a feel that is still more flexible and amenable than taut and immediate and still offering easy release in stronger winds and a forgiving, easy sheeting demeanour. They go neutral nicely in manoeuvres and allow easy manoeuvring of the board. They lack some of the easy release and flexibility of before, though for many this will be a positive trade-off. Overall we prefer them to previous Rocks as they have greater inherent stability and shape whilst retaining similar soft, easy and manoeuvrable feel.