“A great freeride sail for everyone’s quiver.”– boardwise.co.uk/rushwind
on the beach
The Rushwind has the second longest luff in test (485cm) and the second shortest boom (196cm). It has a fairly large foot area compared to most of the other sails in this group, which hints towards a blasting bias.
The 65% mast supplied for test was actually the lowest carbon content and largest diameter mast in the group. It’s pretty tight to sleeve the mast (probably because of its extra diameter) and the sail requires a fair bit of downhaul to set. It’s worth noting that the foot of the sail features only an eyelet, not a pulley-block, so will require a hook to downhaul properly.
When set the Rushwind has quite a full profile, particularly in the lower part of the sail. It’s actually quite knuckled at the front and the fatter mast fits snugly within the luff tube. Like the Simmer, the larger foot area requires the tack strap to be tensioned to keep the foot of the sail tight and shapely.
on the water
In action, the Rushwind immediately feels like a blasting sail. It has a good amount of power and pulls from relatively far forward, but still has power on the back hand when you need it.
Right at the top end there is slightly too much power on the back hand, and the sail could do with releasing a little more. Make sure you have plenty of downhaul on the sail to induce as much twist and release as possible. It’s a fairly full sail, so it still manages to hold its shape when downhauled heavily.
In a straight line, the sail is very comfortable to blast with. It is noticeable, however, that in the hands it isn’t as light as some of the other sails, and the more flexible battens give a softer, less crisp feel. In manoeuvres the foot is a little low cut for really throwing around, but the biggest downfall is the stiffness of rotation. That fat mast keeps the luff tube and battens very tightly held and rotation from one side to the other occasionally needs a ‘helping hand’. A regular diameter mast would probably help this, but nevertheless it is a full sail at the front, so you can expect a little more ‘clunk’ than others in rotation. To put it into perspective, it’s not something that’s going to stop you planing out of or mastering the carve gybe by any means, but compared with the other sails it’s an area that is weakest on the Rushwind.
Light wind performance is actually quite good thanks to the deeper draft, softer feel and back hand power when required.
The Rushwind was in fact a pleasant surprise. There’s no doubting that it looks like a budget sail (it is a budget sail) and that it misses out on some of the detailing and refinements of the other brands. But when it comes to absolute performance the Rushwind holds its own against everything here, particularly in a straight line, where it’s actually rather good.