“Substantially reworked for 2011/12, the Rock promises immediate power delivered with precision, adding explosiveness to manoeuvres with earlier planing and faster acceleration. At the same time the Rock retains its impeccable control in gusty and choppy conditions, instilling the confidence to boost anyone’s wavesailing to previously unimaginable heights.”[Rollover a clone to see what he has to say…]
The time-tested Tushingham Rock received a major overhaul last year, but for 2012 remains more or less the same. Tushingham are strong believers in producing just one wave range that does it all, so the Rock is their one and only pure wave sail, covering a wide range of use. Last month we tested their 5.2m against power wave sails, so this month we see how the 4.7m matches up against the all-rounders.
When we tested the Rock last year we struggled a bit and generally found that the head was setting too tightly on our test sails and causing some amount of instability. Well, this issue has now been resolved by Tushingham, and a little material rework at the head now allows it to open as it was intended, and in a much more natural way.
At 420cm the Rock has the longest luff length of this group, coupled with one of the shortest boom lengths (at 160cm). At 3.53kg the weight is respectable, and puts it around the mid-range of this group.
The foot is cut slightly lower than most wave sails, giving it a little more area below the boom. Two clew eyelets are offered – we opted mostly to use the bottom one to reduce the foot area as much as possible (and increase the boom angle).
The boom cut-out is a good size and goes lower than most of the sails in test: if you’re particularly short you might find this a useful feature! At the foot Tushingham opt for an eyelet rather than a tack pulley. This requires a pulley hook to get sufficient tension, but does mean that you benefit from not having to thread the rope every time you rig.
The Rock sets pretty flat, with very minimal preset shape in the battens and a fairly low amount of batten rotation at the mast. While there’s a reasonable amount of tunability, we found the Rock to work best with moderate downhaul and outhaul settings. This gives the sail decent power but also the best range.
Sizes: 2.7, 3.3, 3.7, 4.0, 4.2, 4.5, 4.7, 5.0, 5,2, 5.5, 5.7, 6.0
Tested on: Tushing ham Wave RD M 400cm 96%
Size tested: 4.7m
As we found with the 5.2, the first thing you notice about the Rock is that there is a lot of bottom end power. For those who want to get planing as early as possible without pumping, the Rock will drive you onto the plane as quick as anything within this group. The sail also doesn’t generate much downforce, so allows the board to release very easily.
Once planing the power remains, and while the pull position (between front and back hand) feels fairly balanced, the power turns more into ‘pull’ as the wind increases. The sail is quite flexible, so isn’t as effective at turning that pull into forward speed once comfortably planing. In a nutshell the Rock gets you planing extremely quickly, but then lacks a bit when it comes to acceleration and top speed.
The leech seems to work a lot better on this version than the one we had for test last year, and there’s a bit more release in the head (bringing the power point lower). Nevertheless, there’s still an element of instability with the Rock, and for dedicated wave use the centre of effort moves around a bit too much. You can do tricks on it, but you have to stamp your authority a bit more to make it do what you want it to. This was most noticeable in jumps, where a predictable power point is very important.
On the plus side the Rock fits the bill for high wind, flat water and bump-and-jump conditions. The low foot and very good bottom end power are assets which, in these conditions, help the Rock to excel.
Power delivery is a touch delayed, which is an advantage for certain riders and conditions, but not the preferred style for the most advanced wavesailors. The Rock doesn’t depower and lighten in the hands like some sails, and the slightly mobile centre of effort makes it less suited to top-level riders, but for recreational wavesailors and high wind bump-and-jump the Rock fits the bill, thanks particularly to its very good bottom end power.