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Test Review - 19/08/2011

Tushingham RD60 400cm Mast (skinny)

I often ask customers to please let me know how they got on after buying a new bit of kit, as I really am interested to know and it can be of use to others who are pondering over just what to buy. I am very happy to be sent four or five lines which we can then load up onto our Test Section of the website.
So, after persuading a prospective purchaser and his wallet (last Wednesday) that an RDM mast in 400cm was the only way to go when replacing a broken mast (they are almost as cheap as a SDM version and RDM extensions start from £39.00) I was VERY pleased indeed to have this turn up in our Inbox.


2011 Tushingham 400 C60 RDM Test Report

On the water


The 2011 Tushingham 400 C60 RDM, weighing in at 1.9 kg, for a carbon content of 60%, is remarkably light in the hands.
The mast is built in pre-preg layup. It has a large wall thickness, giving it the durability required for a long service life.
The sail
For this first test, I used the 2003 4.7m Ezzy Wave. This is my favourite sail that has previously only been used on an SDM mast.
The board
For this first test, I used the AHD Maui Force 8’ 4’’ wave board. This board had only been used once previously and that was during one of the worst sessions this year.
The conditions
The conditions on Thursday 11th August 2011 were ideally suited to testing the new mast in the 4.7m Ezzy Wave.
The wind was blowing around 20 knots on average, with gusts of up to 26 knots from the WSW direction.
There was rolling swell coming in at low tide, creating waves of around knee to thigh high.
Aims for the session
The main aims for this session were:
1. Land forward loops
2. Get used to the AHD Maui Force
3. Perfect onshore wave riding technique

Sheathing the mast into the luff
The reduced diameter of the mast made sheathing up the luff an ease. There was no need to twist the mast to make it fit properly at the head of the sail. This saved time and effort.
Applying downhaul
Armed with a brand new Radz 30 cm RDM extension, down-hauling the sail was an absolute pleasure, taking just seconds and requiring very little applied force.
Having applied some downhaul, I observed that the battens were very far out from the mast, evidently due to it being an RDM but also due to the different bending characteristics of the mast. This made the profile of the sail much bigger.
Applying outhaul
When applying outhaul, I found that I could apply less outhaul, in comparison to when the sail is rigged on and SDM, for the same conditions. This is once again related the reduced diameter mast.

On the water
Get up and go
As soon as I stepped on the board for the first time, I felt the sail power up immediately, delivering a very constant force through the centre of effort. I also found that the centre of effort had moved down to a position level with the boom cut out.
If the sail was rigged on the SDM, the power delivery would not be nearly as constant as on the RDM. Furthermore, the centre of effort would remain very high up in the sail.
This had the effect of driving me onto the plane almost instantaneously. This allowed me to get out through the break ready to go for the forward much closer to the shore than is normally possible.
The overall effect was that the sail, albeit being a 4.7m felt like a 5.0m, simply because it had been rigged on the RDM. This means that from now on, even when the wind doesn’t look that strong or constant, I will be able to the take the 4.7m and be sure that I will be planning.
Heading upwind
With the sail rigged on the RDM, it had more profile. This meant that when I headed very far into wind it started to get wind blowing on both sides of the sail, causing the power delivery to vary. I felt this was a bit of a disadvantage of the RDM in comparison to when the sail is rigged on an SDM.
In the waves
This is where I felt the biggest difference because of the RDM.
When waiting for the wave to build, I would have constant power in my hands, allowing me to keep up the wave.
Once I was ready to drop in on the wave, during the carve, the sail would remain powered up throughout the bottom turn, allowing me to really engage the whole rail of the board, without it ever tripping or catching. I felt that I was really able to apply a large amount of front foot pressure, without the worry of falling into the gap.
When it came to the top turn, I felt that I was really able to flick the board off the top, sending lots of spray and then able to re-engage the board to line up for successive turns. I was also able to stay in the pocket of the wave, allowing me to time the hit even more precisely.

In summary, the mast had an immediate impact on the way the sail delivered power and most definitely on my sailing.
Rigging the sail was so simply and required minimal effort.
On the water, the RDM made the sail feel completely different, and it allowed a much larger amount of power to be generated and delivered.
In the waves, the extra power in the sail made cross-onshore riding so much easier and more enjoyable.
I feel that the only disadvantage of rigging the sail on the RDM is its upwind driving ability. I felt that the sail didn’t really respond well to being pushed high into wind, due to the larger profile. However, this is only a minor disadvantage.
I will most certainly recommend anyone on the beach that changing from SDM to RDM will change the way their sail performs and hence their own sailing ability.
Even after one test, I feel converted and look forward to sailing the 4.7m with the RDM on as many occasions as possible.

Reviewed by Dominic Clarke

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