Alistair Murray's reply to Frank's response on the crew weight rule
Thank you for your response to my communication regarding the Tasar crew weight rule. I have taken a few days to digest it carefully and consider all you say. I have also, with your permission, circulated your letter to the key members of the Tasar community that I originally wrote to, in the interests of encouraging the debate which we both agree will be helpful. I was very interested to read your account of what took place in the NS14 class. You have vast experience through that class, the Nova and then the Tasar. I can totally understand what you describe as the outcome in the NS14 class of having the "light crew with fast handling technique" come into the class, rendering the 300lb (and including many female) crews un-competitive. I also understand and appreciate how this development contributed to the development of the Tasar, with its crew weight rule.
There is however in my opinion a fundamental difference between the Tasar and the NS14, which supports the argument expressed in my recent letter, for abolishing the weight rule. The difference is that of the relative optimum weights for sailing the classes competitively. It is clear to me that the optimum weight across a broad range of conditions for racing an NS14 is around 115-120kg, whereas the optimum weight for racing a Tasar is 140kg. It is for this reason that I pose the question "Why further penalise a crew weighing less than 130kg, when in my opinion they are already at a disadvantage?" To support my belief about the optimum crew weight being 140kg please consider some facts from our recent National Championship in Airlie Beach: • The wind strength at the start of each race varied between 7 knots and 14 knots, with seven of the ten races starting in 10-14 knots. It was not a light series and was certainly not a heavy series. • The median crew weight of the top ten finishing boats was 139.9kg. • No crew with a crew weight of below 130kg finished in the top 20. • The weight range across the top 10 was 132.2kg - 147.9kg and across the top 20 was 131.4kg - 154.6kg. • First place weight 139.1, second 137.0 and third 143.6. You have asked me, Frank, to consider your comments, add them to my observations and to reconsider what I think might happen in the years ahead if the Tasar class were to abolish its crew weight rule. I do think that light air "hot shots" could come in and dominate in a light air championship. There would be times when a "light crew with fast handling technique" as you so well put it, would be unbeatable. However, I don't see this demographic being attracted to the class now and I don't think that the absence of a weight rule would change this. In summary, my overwhelming belief that 140kg is the optimum weight for the class would in my opinion see the following if the weight rule was abolished: • Crews below 130kg would perform better, but would be unlikely to win major regattas. • Lighter crews would be more attracted to the class, which is good. • Women would enjoy Tasar sailing, racing and social activities as much as they do now. • Nobody would leave the class because of the rule change. • Administration of regattas would be simplified. • The class would further prosper. Finally, Frank, I would really love to see further debate on this topic, including perhaps a suggestion for an alternative, better rule, in line with your belief that this should happen. But I say, go all the way! Thank you for having such an open mind!