“The twin-cam Lightning combines the best attributes of a race sail with the user-friendly appeal normally found in a good rotational. It’s easy to rig and particularly forgiving in choppy or gusty conditions. The huge tuning range allows you to exploit the Lightning’s ‘grunt’ in low winds but remain in total control when overpowered, with minimal input from the rider.” tushingham.com[Rollover a clone to see what he has to say…]
The Tushingham is quite a tall and narrow sail in planshape. It has the longest luff in the test (476cm), but also the shortest boom length (198cm). It weighed in at 4.68kg, which placed it second lightest sail in the group behind the Naish Indy. However, it was supplied with a 75% carbon mast rather than the 100% supplied by most of the other brands, so the combined weight of mast and sail came in at 6.99kg, the third heaviest overall.
There is a fair bit of tuning range with the Tushingham to suit different conditions and preferences. We preferred it with a decent amount of downhaul (which boosted the top speed) and slightly negative outhaul (which gave power and a lighter feel at speed).
Tushingham were the only brand in the test to offer an eyelet at the tack of the sail rather than a pulley block, so make sure you have a pulley attached to your extension for quick attachment and ease of downhauling.
Range: 5.8, 6.4, 7.0, 7.8, 8.5, 9.4
Mast: Tushingham 75% 460cm
Width: 476 cm
Sail + Mast: 6.99kg
The Lightning was a very easy sail to get on with; there was nothing ‘unusual’ about it that needed adapting to – it’s simply a sail that works. And it works very well right through the wind range.
At the top end it had jointly the best performance of the group. It was extremely stable and quite a light feeling sail in the hands. The ease of sailing translates into speed, and the Tushingham was jointly the second fastest sail of the group.
The Tushingham was also potent at the bottom end of the wind spectrum. It offered enough pull in the hands to allow the rider to ‘feel the power’ to get going, but was also able to lose this pull as the sail accelerated to speed. Pumping was also pretty good as the Lightning is a little softer and more flexible in feel than some of the other sails.
In manoeuvres the Tushingham rotates well, and the moderate fullness in the sail means it’s not too cumbersome. It is a little heavier than some (combined mast and sail weight) so this counts against it a little, but overall it was another very good performance.
As we found with the Gaastra, it’s really quite hard to find fault with the Tushingham – and in fact they are very closely matched sails. The Gaastra has a slightly sharper, crisper response and lighter feel, but the Tushingham feels slightly more locked in and blasting orientated. It’s a matter of preference more than anything.
The Tushingham stands out for being a very competent all-rounder. Overpowered or underpowered, in the straights or around the corners, the Lightning has plenty of performance, but perhaps most importantly, a great deal of ease in the way that this performance is delivered.