TUSHINGHAM BOLT 7.8M 2015 TEST REVIEW
In its largest three sizes, the Bolt is classed by Tushingham as their twin-cam freerace sail. Using a 100% Tushingham SDM sheathed up its relatively narrow luff tube, the Bolt forces the mast to adopt quite a pronounced luff curve, although the roller tack pulley now incorporated as standard helps to apply the tension. There is a good shape to the profile of the 7.8m, positioned forward in the draft and remains in place over a reasonable tuning range, the leech becoming very loose in the top panels at its maximum setting.
“The Bolt’s largest three sizes feature two roller cams, to lock in the camber for maximum low end power combined with high end stability. This will equate to faster speeds whilst still remaining light in the hands for a sail of this size. They are amazingly forgiving in choppy or gusty conditions and boast a huge tuning range which offers an accessible route into slalom or simply fun, efficient, high performance freeride sailing.”
The Tushingham Lightning – the sail that these larger versions of the Bolt replaced – was a well-liked and popular sail offering excellent ease and performance over a wide range. So it is a relief to report that there is a definite correlation between the predecessor and this 7.8m Bolt. Light and balanced in the hands, the Bolt provides useful feedback through the hands as the wind turns on, the depth of the sail’s profile enhanced as the sail stretches and breathes more than most in the test. This makes the Bolt fantastically responsive to pumping, punching the board out of the water and releasing it onto the plane. Gaining speed smoothly, it settles into a very comfortable stance, retaining its light stable handling such that it actually feels much smaller than a 7.8m. And this is where we believe the strength of the Bolt lies. With its bottom end power and easy forgiving handling, it is the perfect introduction into the world of cammed sails, providing the power to make the most of a modern freeride board’s range. This becomes particularly apparent as the conditions become more challenging, the Bolt capable of being retuned to account for wind increases; whilst its soft breathable nature absorbs and irons out impacts as you ride over harsh sea states. There does come a point when the Bolt objects, and no amount of tuning will stop the decay to the backhand, but such strong winds are not what the Bolt is for and it displays a perfectly respectable top end for a 7.8m. In transition, its light handling is complimented by the 7.8m’s cams being the best rotating in the group, making the passage to the new tack smooth and easy, without pulling the rider to their toes.
A light handling, user-friendly and practical twin-cam ideally suited for partnering a freeride platform and making the most of varied conditions.The Bolt also makes an ideal tutor for those venturing into cammed sailing for the first time.
Other sails in this test: