Saturday, 22 January 2011

Review of Tushingham X15 7.0m Speed/Slalom Sail

Now I have a bit more experience with this side of the sport I thought I would start doing some reviews of the kit I use. My first cammed sail was an old Arrows Tommahawk that I bought for a bargain (I thought) off e-bay. It got used once, but I did get the money back in terms of trade in for this Tushingham X15. The X15's are Tushinghams 4cam speed sails in the smaller sizes and slalom/race sails in the larger sizes. The 7.0m is about the crossover point between the two, getting a little too big to be an all out speed sail and small in the range of slalom sails.

I bought the Tushingham X15 7.0m as a light wind cruising sail to introduce me to the speed sailing scene. It was to be used as the larger sail on a Starboard Kode 112l. The first session was great, I made my first gybe on it with ease. Loads of people told me cammed sails are a lot harder to gybe, but this is a light sail and it rotated easily. Other brand cammed sails I have used I find a lot more difficult to gybe, largely due to the swing weight and my developing technique. I have also used the sail with a Mistral 95 SLRD, and a Fanatic Falcon 105l, on all boards it was a pleasure to sail.

The reason I chose Tushingham was due to the fact I had a Tushingham mast (460 75% carbon from 2007), I found that the second cam would not rotate without some encouragement and I found this a little disheartening as I cannot afford lots of new kit. After contacting Tushingham they sent me two masts to try on it, one of the newer Speed Pro masts (these flex a little more in the top 25% to allow for more control off the wind with big gusts), and a 2009 100% Ultimate Pro mast. I tried them both, but the wind was not strong enough to feel much difference. There was a little bit of visible difference, the speed top gave a fuller profile at the boom, but only marginally. In the end I chose the 2009 mast to match the year of the sail as this is the mast the sail was designed for. The customer service was second to none, I have to thank Paul and Dave at Tushingham HQ for sorting this out for me.

The wind through September was good when it came through but this was not very often, into October and the first half of November it improved. I got lots of sessions with the sail and really got used to the benefits of having the cams. It was a great introduction to speed sailing. The 7.0m X15 planes as easily as my 7.8m North Xtype, which I found surprising, it also keeps going through the lulls where the Xtype will slow down, due to having no cams on it. It has made the Xtype redundant now, previously this was my most used sail. I have used the Tushingham X15 7.0m 18times since I bought it, it still looks like new (apart from the damn hole where I recently put the harness through it - repaired with mylar tape) and has had about 40-50hours use on the water now. 
This sail has given me my fastest nautical mile, longest distance session, fastest average 10s, fastest 2s and top speed. The alpha speed I achieved on my first session with it I am yet to beat!!! Last weekend (Jan 15th/16th) it really came into its own. The wind was very gusty from 15-25knots approximately, but the sail was easy to get going and very easy to hold down, especially when moving off the wind to keep accelerating.

If you are looking to try Speed or Slalom sailing then I would recommend this above others I have used, both due to its ease of use and for making the transition from rotational sails effortless. For those more experienced at this side of the sport then you probably know that Tushingham speed sails hold their own against the other brands and have clocked over 40knots on many occasions. Also for those in the UK I think the benefits of the customer service and support that you recieve make it a no brainer.

I would like to partner this sail with an 8.3m X15 but would then need to change my Starboard Kode to a dedicated slalom board of about the same size. The Kode 112l (a freestyle wave board) really starts to struggle with bigger sails due to its lack of length and relatively short mast track, placed further back than you would want for slalom. I have a Starboard Carve 133l that would go nicely with a bigger sail but the benefits of the speed design would be cancelled out by the easy-going freeride nature of the board. Maybe I will win the lottery and this will no longer be a problem.

7 comments:

  1. I like the review!! Great service, 2 masts to try. First time I see a good picture with X15, I start to understand the high speeds from UK with Tushingham :)

    Cheers,
    Erik
    Speedsurfing BLOG

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  2. Congratulations on passing the halfway mark so early in the year - I think you'll be doing many more miles than 1000 to keep your promise!

    Please be my guest at Weymouth Speed Week 2011 in October, and thanks for helping Sarah with a facebook plug.

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  3. Thank you Nick that is a brilliant offer. I was happy to help Sarah the same way a few others on there have helped me.

    Erik, I couldnt believe the service it was brilliant, and the sail is light and great in a range of conditions, I will be using it for a lot of my miles I suspect.

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  4. In your other post about building the quiver you mention that cammed sails are no good for novices. What are tushinghams other sails like?

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  5. I see a lot of Tushingham t4, Storms and Lightnings out on the water here in the south west.
    The T4 is their freeride sail and will be easy to learn with and plane very early. Often in very marginal conditions its only these that get going on Portland Harbour.
    They have demo days, have a look on their website and go to one of them.

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  6. I just read you review and it sounds like a nice sail to use. I am just about to purchase one here in Oz.
    btw, what diameter masts were you using? SDM or RDM

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    Replies
    1. Hi Stu,
      They rig on SDM, Tush are flex top, but not as extreme as Neil Pryde. I used mine on both a Tush 75% and a Tush 100%, the 75% was a bit stiffer lower down and it did not rotate as well. I then bought some North golds, they rigged really well on them, I think the sail had a better profile lower down with them as well and they rotated perfectly, more depth at boom level than on the tush masts.

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