Making Changes to the Tasar
A one design class...
Tasar class rule A.1.2 states that the Tasar is "...a one-design class where the true test, when raced, is between crews and not boats; any alteration of the form and construction of the hull, equipment, fittings, spars, sails or running rigging, as supplied by the builder and approved by the World Tasar Class Association, except as specifically authorised by these Class rules, is a breach of these Class rules not only in spirit but in substance, and is prohibited."
The intent of this rule is clear:
- when we race Tasars, we want all the boats racing to have the same potential performance
- the builder can change the Tasar, with the approval of the class association
- the class can recommend, promote and allow changes, by changing the class rules.
Because the Tasar is an ISAF recognized class, ISAF must also approve any changes.
The Tasar class has been well served by the designer's continuing interest in making improvements, and by the steps that have been taken to modernize the class. The proposal to introduce RCB stay slides has focussed attention on how changes can be introduced, and how new ideas should be trialled.
Changes to the Tasar require a change in either the specifications or the class rules. These changes can be made in various ways.
1. Interpretations. Small changes can be allowed by an interpretation of the class rules. Interpretations are made by the Chief Measurer ( Constitution, 6 (5)) and are effective immediately. They have to be approved at the next Tasar World Council meeting, and then by ISAF. The use of Clam Cleat keepers was approved this way.
2. Specification changes. These come in two flavours. Although class rule A.1.2 requires class approval of "any alteration..." in practice, the designer has made many changes over the years without the explicit approval of the class. Some of these have been improvements in construction (often not visible), some have been quite visible (such as the cast rudder stock). There has often been consultation with the class, and plans for some changes have been dropped when feedback from the class was not in favour. In general, the class has been pleased to have the builder make these changes, which have steadily improved new boats without making old boats un-competitive. "No comment" from the class has quite reasonably been assumed to mean approval, but the class has never given up its right to speak up if it has concerns about a specification change.
Some of the more visible and significant specification changes have been brought to the World Council by the Designer for approval (as required by rule A.1.2), and then taken to ISAF for their approval. The switch to mylar sails was handled this way. This is also the process we are using to consider RCB stay slides.
It is a slower process than an Interpretation, but usually faster than a rule change. Members can have input by commenting to their regional Association/Committee on proposals, so their views can be considered when the World Council decides whether or not to approve the change. The World Council can vote on these proposals by email.
3. Rule changes. The most common way for the class to change the Tasar is through a change to the class rules. This process usually begins with a District or Regional Association developing a proposal for a change. The proposal is considered by the World Council, usually when they meet at a World Championship. If the World Council agrees, the proposed rule change is voted on by members in all regions and districts, as specified by class rule B.4. If the proposal is approved, it is submitted to ISAF for their approval. Shroud pull backs were approved and later modified this way. This process is democratic and allows everyone to have input, but it is quite slow. It can easily take 2 years or more for a change to make its way through the rule change process.
Trialling new ideas
It has been quite common for trialling of possible changes to the Tasar to take place before a change is formally proposed, or before it is approved. In some cases individuals have developed ideas, in large measure through trying different approaches to see if they will work. Zig Burzycki tried a number of different notched rotation stops, and after further development by Frank, these were adopted and are now "supplied by the builder."
Mylar sails were trialled in a number of locations in Australia, before the specification change to formally introduce them into the Tasar class was approved at the World Council meeting in Darwin in 2005. The result has been a spectacular success.
There is no formal process for approving trials, although some have been undertaken with the approval of the World Council. For example, Frank asked for and received the approval of the World Council before he began work to see if a spinnaker could be developed for the Tasar.
It might be helpful to have a formal process that would allow a proposed change to be used in Tasar events before the approval process is complete. This would allow people to trial a proposed change (such as RCB stay slides) knowing that they would still be able to race their boats in Tasar events (which is one of the main objectives of a trial). The class could delegate this authority to the Chief Measurer, or to the World Council. In either case, approval could be obtained quickly. Either of these approaches, or any alternative, would need approval by the class, through a change in the class rules or constitution.
Thus, the integrity of racing in a One Design class would be retained and at the same time we would be able to trial proposed changes at all levels of competition.
Until we adopt a formal process for approving trials, we can continue to use the informal approach that has worked quite well so far. Measured, thoughtful change is essential to the Tasar class. It is vital that proposals for change keep coming forward, are debated and tried, and are adopted if the class approves them.
Input, suggestions and ideas
I understand that the Australian Tasar Council is considering how to make sure that future trials proceed smoothly, and I look forward to seeing their proposals. Processes approved at the regional level might be all we need, or we might be better off with a process approved by the World Tasar Class Association, that applies in all regions.
All ideas, comments and suggestions are welcome. If you send them to me
I will post them on the website, or please use the TasarSailors mailing group, or a forum, to share them.
I would like to thank Frank Bethwaite and Graham Hanna for their contributions to the ideas outlined above.