TUSHINGHAM BOLT 5.75M 2015 TEST REVIEW
The Bolt was launched by Tushingham in 2014 as their new flagship sail range to supersede three predecessors – the Storm, Thunderbird and Lightning ranges. So then you could have one sail quiver, safe in the knowledge that the riding feel of each sail is consistent throughout, ensuring minimal overlap. A great concept … how would it stack up? The 5.75m tested here replaces the Storm and rigs in a conventional manner, with macro tuning on the downhaul and fine-tuning on the outhaul. There are also some nice additions on the new sails, such as an in-line tack roller pulley(making downhaul application that much easier), and an extensive use of scrim in the upper panels. Build is rugged and hardwearing as we have come to expect and the new V-arrow graphic through the middle of the sail stands out on the water.
“ Sharing the full laminate construction of its 4 batten siblings, it boasts all the durability benefits of the smaller sails. The classic bump-and-jump all-round freeride sail that can still be used in waves on those lighter wind days. Smooth power delivery and maintaining the lightweight manoeuvrable feel.”
On the water the very nature of the Bolt is different from its predecessor. It still has the familiar Dacron luff panel of a Tushingham, yet the feedback in the hands is much more direct. Hit by a gust and it transfers the power forcefully to the board, generating an impressive bottom end performance. This is where the Bolt excels, feeling grunty and positive through the backhand, the centre of effort quite far back in the sail. Once going it settles into a balanced comfortable stance, midway between locked in and upright. The drive is always available in your backhand, but you can stand-up, ease out, and the sail retains its composure. Whilst the Storm’s strength was that you could just throw it together and it would perform well, the new Bolt replacement is a more refined creature and demands a little more attention to tuning. As the wind increased, we did play extensively with the downhaul to try and lock the centre of effort in place. In this instance the leech does open more, but to the detriment of the sail’s profile low in the draft, making it feel twitchy and unstable. Instead, we found the best tuning was to set moderate downhaul and tweak the outhaul, where centimetres can make a big difference and reduce the rate of decay. As such, the Bolt is a solid performer within its range, particularly for direct useable bottom end power to make the most of marginal winds.
Within its range, the Bolt provides crisp, direct feeling power and an easy versatile riding stance. It is a good step towards fulfilling a brilliant ‘one-range-does-all’ concept.
Other sails in this test: