2004 Future Directions

Future Directions for the Tasar

The following item was posted to the bulletin board on the Australian Tasar Council website by WTCA President, Chris Parkinson

The 2004 Tasar Strategic Planning workshop was held recently. The over-riding objective to come out of the session was to seek ways to extend the lifecycle of the Tasar class. There are many things we can do collectively to promote the class and increase our sailing enjoyment. These have been detailed in the updated strategic plan. (To be published soon on the website once the final draft has been finished.) On top of these initiatives, perhaps the major facet of extending the life cycle of the Tasar relates to the boat and its supply, now and into the future. The fact that something in the vicinity of 20 new Tasars will be built this calendar year is testament to the ongoing appeal of the boat. If you talk amongst Tasar sailors though, there are a few major causes of concern that need to be addressed in order to keep the class moving forward. These concerns relate mainly to -

• The cost of Tasars and equipment such as foils and sails
• A lack of uniformity in boats from one region to another in terms of sails and fittings, compromising the class' one-design principle

In an ideal world, all Tasars would be built in one location, all with standard fittings and equipped with sails made in just one loft, using the same materials and template. Everything would be half the price it is now too!

Well, this may sound a little far fetched but I think all would agree a worthwhile goal to strive for. So following on from the workshop, which was attended enthusiastically by Frank Bethwaite, it was decided to see what could be done to address these two major concerns. A meeting was scheduled at Bethwaite Design in Sydney last week with the principle focus being what can we do collectively to extend the life cycle of the Tasar. The overriding proviso being no compromising anything we love about the boat for the sake of "progress."

In summary, the meeting was a resounding success with all stakeholders agreeing in principle that uniformity of supply was a worthwhile and achievable goal. Various ideas have been floated and now the practical implications have to be worked through. The Builder has quite a job to work through what can and can't be done when taking into account continuity of supply, existing relationships and future supply and demand, all framed within the idealistic expectations of we Tasar sailors. Once a workable implementation plan is agreed upon, the normal constituted approvals process will be put in place.

The first major initiative that will commence shortly is the trial of redesigned sails using a more modern material. These sails must fit the existing spars and be similar in area however there will be some experiment will shape to accommodate the different characteristics of the new material over dacron. The reason for this initiative is to ensure supply well into the future and reduce the cost of sails - the early indications are that this is possible. The by-product is that the boat will look more up to date with sails made of a modern material. The time frame on the sails is to have the proposed set available for viewing and discussing in Darwin and if agreed would then follow the normal rule change procedure.

It would be fair to say that the purpose of this note is to pre-empt any argument about the future direction of the class. The Tasar II proposal demonstrated that by and large, Tasar sailors don't want change for changes sake. This initiative by the ATC and Bethwaite Design collectively is all about ensuring we are still able to sail Tasars ten years from now in boats that reflect all the good points about the today's Tasar and ideally, none of the bad points.

Stay tuned for more detail as a workable plan takes shape.

Chris Parkinson, President
World Tasar Class Association