Tushingham only have the one ‘wave’ sail in the Rock, designed for all conditions and standards of sailor. They also produce the Storm, their all-round high wind sail in sizes down to 3.5m, not tested here.
Slightly unusual in design – it is one of the flattest sails in terms of seam shaping, with very little fullness apparent in the batten seams. However, there is considerable rotation in the battens, allowing fullness to develop when the sail hits the wind. The leech is looser than most wave sails with the looseness extending a long way down towards the clew. The Rock has a wide range of rigging settings, and can usefully be set to maximise conditions, working well both with minimal downhaul in lighter winds and considerably more in stronger winds. We set the sail with the Tushingham RDM mast which is towards the flex top end of the spectrum. Beware of relatively soft, stiff top masts which tend to make the Rock too soft in the mid section.
We found agreement that the Rocks are comfortable and forgiving and have a good wind range. They have a flexible feel with a slightly vague centre of effort, but how we interpreted that feeling and its consequences varied considerably. Matthew: “You can set the Rocks with a range of down and outhaul settings that make little difference to how the sail works and feels – which means it’s very easy to set up on the beach. The centre of effort of the Rock cannot be pinpointed, rather it comes from a large area somewhere comfortable, but it is a bit vague and distant as the sail loads and unloads. The Rock was also interesting in that you could alter your sheeting angle quite considerably with no apparent effect, at first quite disconcerting, but if you are someone who suffers trying to handle a sharper feeling sail in choppy waters when you get thrown around a lot then the Rock would smooth this out well and give a lot of comfort and confidence. If you are a sailor who likes sharp, accurate and direct handling sails then the Rock is not for you as it feels distant from what’s going on, a little unfocused and indirect. The amount of twist is detrimental to going clew-first – when the handling becomes wobbly as the leech shakes, but the same twist makes for a comfortable ride in more overpowering conditions. As ever, sail design is the balance of competing factors, and the Rock is on the comfort side of the design spectrum.”
Emile: “I find them so easy to set – you really can rig them any old way and go out and just sail and it doesn’t really make much difference (I like not having to get the tape measure out on the beach to find that perfect set that worked last time!) “They seem to have a decent range, with more power than previous models. As always, the upper end of the wind range is very good with the sails feeling comfortable there too. “I know that some people seem to find them quite freeridey, but I can’t really see this – I find the more locked-in power sails (like the Alpha etc) to be the freeridey ones, whereas I find sails like this to be quite flicky and throwabout whilst still being ‘blastable’. “They are definitely not as powerful as some, but I think this is made up for in comfort and ease of use.”
Ed: “Easy to rig and tune. Good balance of top and bottom end for my weight (80kg) and sailing style. Great wind range, which is good for the changeable conditions you can find all over the globe. Good value for money, as is the Tushingham skinny mast.”
Ian: “I find the Rocks deliver good pointing and easy sheeting and that they are very flexible and manoeuvrable. I find them fast and forgiving and allow maximum manoeuvrability of the board. I agree that the centre of effort is quite indistinct, even wobbly compared to some others, and that this feels a bit like instability, however they seem to cope better than most with strong winds and gusty conditions notwithstanding. I can understand sailors who find that they feel vague as they do have a softness to them, however I actively like this as it absorbs gusts and chop and you don’t get tripped up by a moment’s lack of concentration. Overall I think they offer very good value and suit British conditions very well.”