After about 15 years, we finally have a sail to replace the much used/loved/hated Aloha 6.5 sail for junior one design racing.
The Aloha sail with its wide range may well have stood the test of time and introduced some great competitors into the sport, but with it heavy glassfibre mast, wide diameter boom and low aspect, it really was outdated a good 8 years ago, the change to a new sail will be welcomed by everyone.
Changing a one design class is no easy feat, economically there are so many considerations. The good thing about the Aloha was that there was a thriving second hand market which made it very accessable, in all countries. However the Aloha rig became quite expensive as regulation mast and booms were hard to come by and no one actually wanted to make them. Recently the international class all but died, and it was time to make moves in line with modern thinking. The first step in this direction was the introduction of the Bic One Design, based on the old Techno 293 it provided Formula-esque planing performance and non planing racing for light people - Juniors. Its inception has taken time, whilst the Aloha was phased out. The old Aloha rig was kept, this rig really did not suit the new board too much, it had a lot of sideways pull and relied on the long water length of the Aloha to convert this into forward motion.
After plenty of decisions of them high up it was decided to keep the sail design of the new rig open, although it would have to fall within a certain design brief. The upside of this is that everyone from major to local manufactures will get the chance to produce a sail. The downside is that there will be some inevitable bias of performance amongst different designs. Time will tell how we progress.
In the UK it was decided to go with one rig for class racing on the Techno. The new Tushingham has been trialed for a while now and is the new winner. It is a lightweight modern rig with two internal cams and a wide wind range. The mast is carbon and the boom is narrow diameter. The sail size is 6.8, but will be way more manageable than the old Aloha 6.5. It will fit into an existing sail quiver far better than the old sail and also have a broad family appeal, which is a core necessity in family windsurfing and to introduce juniors to racing.
The following extract is taken from the new RYA press release:
After conducting extensive testing, the RYA is pleased to announce that Tushingham will produce the 6.8 and 7.8 RYA one design sails for the BIC Techno O.D. fleet used at all RYA Junior Windsurfing events.
After conducting extensive testing, the RYA is pleased to announce that Tushingham will produce the 6.8 and 7.8 RYA one design sails for the BIC Techno O.D. fleet used at all RYA Junior Windsurfing events. With a narrow diameter boom that is ideal for smaller hands and a 60% carbon mast the Tushingham TK68 rig is an ideal for children embarking on competitive racing. The rig comes specifically constructed for a sail that is designed to work effectively in a variety of winds and is conducive to some serious pumping.
Helen Cartwright, RYA National Windsurfing Coach excitedly explained "In collaboration with Tushingham, we are convinced that we have made a huge step forward for Junior Windsurfing. The TK68 is a modern race winning sail that will give the RYA Team GBR Junior windsurfers the best chance of success."
"After extensive testing no other sail offered the type of performance we are looking for in both planning and pumping conditions. It will be fantastic for the junior windsurfers to have a responsive and high performance sail. I know that they are all waiting with great expectation for their new sails."
Tushingham look forward to the forthcoming racing season with anticipation. Roger Tushingham, Managing Director of Tushingham commented; "Everyone at Tushingham has enjoyed working on developing this Techno Class rig. It is a proud day for us because we have been so active in promoting and encouraging windsurfing to the youngster. Good luck to all of them in racing next year"
We also asked Oli Woodcock, National Junior Coach, to tell us a bit more..
What is it like to sail and how does it feel different from the existing sail? It felt light in the hands. It is easy to pump and a lot less solid in the leech compared to the 1st prototype, It is really stable in planing conditions just like the 2004 Tushy lightening, it releases in the gusts well. It looks great now coming out in Black. It\'s easy to tune and rig. You can rig it nice a full for the light winds whicgh creates a great pumpable sail. Then you can add some more downhaul which progessively releases the power and creates a stable sail.
What age do we expect kids to be moving to this sail? Kids under 14
What is the change down sail? I think it is open 5.5. So any 5.5
What are the rules governing the sail choice for the 6.8 internationally, and how will the tushingham fit in with this? Basically at the AGM the committee made the decision to re-new the old aloha sail and open it to out to all manufactuers. So they had to submitt a 6.8 complete rig that the juniors could race on. The only rules were it had to cost less than £500 complete (700euros) and the mast couldn\'t be a 100% carbon and the boom has to be alloy.
Is this the international choice, or just the National one? It is the national choice. Italy have the Challenger Sail and France will be mainly using the Bic Speedster
What age category is this for? Under 14
What age category is the 7.8 for? Under 16
What is the optinum weight group? Last year it was 58kg and under, but with a bigger sail with more power I think kids weighting 65kg could do well. I feel that whatever size you are if you will to work hard and want to win enough then you will.
Which mast and boom were chosen? The mast is a 460 new tush mast really smart. Softer that some of the other rigs on the list it has a 23imcs.
How much will the rig cost? The rig has a price limit of £500, which a lot of the other companies are problems with.
All in all this will mean that to be compliant for racing and training at National and Regional level, juniors will have to make the change to the Techno and the new Tushy rig. This does make the Aloha obselete as far as any national event is concerned. However for those interested in T15, it is still a good training board to get the basic skills up and running. The other benefit of the Techno is that is is a good platform to learn the basics for Olympic/Hybrid style racing on the RS:X and for Formula. The £500 price tag for the rig is also a very good deal, although we are sure that the top racers at international events will be having several rigs at hand, including a lightwind and a strong wind!