Monday 6 June 2011

Tushingham X15 7.6 2010 Review

This sail was bought to replace a North XType 7.8m which was my most used sail, taking me from barely planing through to getting into the harness and footstraps and dry gybes. After buying a Tushingham X15 7m and using that a lot more last autumn and winter I went back on the North which had no cams. It felt awful in gusty winds in when compared to cammed sails so I knew that I must upgrade. I was slightly hesitant to get them in  such small increments as the size is very similar, but the range of the 7m meant it was a no brainer really. The sail is to be used as the biggest on my Mistral RD SL95 which is bigger than should be used with the board but for speed it is ideal, and also as the biggest on my Starboard Kode 112l in marginal winds. I can step down from the 7.6 to a 6.3 as the wind increases from marginal to 25+knots, and likewise drop from the 7m to a 5.8m in more wind.

For the first few weeks I had the sail the conditions were really marginal but the sail performed well. At first I thought I could have got going better with the North, so I had a go and it was only my imagination. For a 4 cammed sail it is very light and easy to use in transitions, this was my only worry changing my biggest 'cruising' sail for a more dedicated slalom/speed sail. 
In the photo above I was using the sail for my marathon 200km at the end of May as part of the GPS Team Challenge for the Portland Pirates. As you can see from the white horses it was windy, gusting above 30knots at points but staying mainly in the 20-25knot range. In the gusts the sail did lift me a lot but was very controllable and it allowed my to complete the first 120+km with relative ease considering the conditions. I usually would have changed down but this in itself would waste time and energy so I kept going with the bigger board and sail.

I rig it with a Tushingham Ultimate Pro 460 mast from 2009, it rotates fine when powered up and just needs a little encouragement in less powered conditions. Now my gybes are faster I am having less problems rotating the cammed sails and a good pump knocks the cams round on the other tack. It rigs with ease, and required very little batten adjustment from new. The cams go on the mast easily, simply slide the mast in above the cams, pull on some downhaul to allow easy access for the boom clamp, put on boom and fully outhaul, let off a little downhaul and pop on the cams, then put the downhaul back on fully and tune the outhaul. More recently I have used it with adjustable outhaul and this has extended the sails range even further.

In the future I would like the bigger version to use with a bigger board in lighter winds, but my lottery numbers still have not come up so I will have to wait for that.

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