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 wave sail, covering a wide range of use.
ON THE BEACH
Firstly, you might remember that we struggled a bit with the Rock last year and generally found that the head was setting too tightly on our test sail and causing some 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 – in a much more natural way.
At 428cm (setting best on a 400cm mast) the Rock has one of the longer luff lengths of this group, coupled with one of the shorter boom lengths (171cm). At 3.72kg the weight is very respectable and in fact it’s one of the lightest sails in 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 and we mainly opted to use the bottom one to reduce the foot area (and increase the boom angle) as much as possible. The boom cut-out is a good size and goes lower than most sails in test, so if you’re particularly short you might find this a useful feature!
At the foot of the sail Tushingham opt for an eyelet rather than a tack pulley. This requires a pulley hook to get sufficient tension, but does have the benefit of not having to thread the rope each time you rig.
The Rock sets pretty flat with very minimal pre-set shape in the battens and a fairly low amount of batten rotation at the mast. While there is a reasonable amount of tunability we found the Rock worked 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: Tu shing ham 96% RD M 400cm
Size tested: 5.2m
ON THE WATER
The first thing you notice about the Rock is that there’s 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 feeling a fairly balanced pull position (between front and back hand), 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. Basically, 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 one we had for test last year, and there is 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. 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 that help the Rock to excel in these conditions.
For recreational wavesailors and high wind bump-and-jump the Rock fits the bill nicely and is attractively priced, but for advanced wavesailing there are a few factors that detract from the sail’s performance to some degree. The power delivery is a bit delayed, the sail doesn’t depower and lighten in the hands when powered as much as it could, plus the centre of effort can shift around a little too much as the sail flexes under load.