2009 Exec Sec Report

Executive Secretary's Report to 2009 World Council Meeting

Thanks to the Japan Tasar Association

I would like to begin by the thanking the JTA for organizing this 2009 Tasar World championship. It is always a great pleasure, and a privilege, to visit Japan and enjoy the warm welcome and outstanding hospitality of our hosts. Every world championship is special, and this regatta at Wakayama is no exception. George and the large team of volunteers have worked incredibly hard to stage a great event. Thank you.

The World Tasar Class Association

The WTCA is in sound condition. In January 2009 we reported membership of 559 boats in 5 countries to ISAF, an increase of 99 boats over 2008. Eight countries were represented at the 2007 Worlds, and six are represented here in Wakayama.

We have £228.35 (34,770 Yen) in the bank, enough to pay one more year of ISAF dues before contributions from regions will be required. No sail royalties have been received since May, 2007, when we received £3,982, of which £3,583 was distributed to the regions.

I hope that a new Executive Secretary will bring new ideas and energy to the position, and ensure that the WTCA continues to play a helpful role in coordinating class activities and supporting the regions, which is where member loyalties quite properly lie.


Our relationship with ISAF has for the most part been smooth and stable: we pay annual dues (£165 in 2009) and they allow us to hold world championships. We must continue to have significant numbers of members in at least 5 countries, and competitors from at least 5 countries in our world championships.

Class rules

There was a minor perturbation when Georg Tallberg, the chair of the ISAF Class Rules Sub-committee, advised us that our class rules do not allow owners of older boats to incorporate changes that are introduced on new boats, such as RCB shroud slides. We were also told that measurements are required to ensure RCB shroud slides are retrofitted correctly. Eventually, we were allowed to go our willful, wrong-headed way, but two rule changes are being proposed to ensure we are fully ISAF compliant in future.

Web site

I have created, maintained and paid for hosting the WTCA website since its inception. I think it is functional, usable, and meets many of the needs of the class, but while the content is current, the design is out of date, there is no provision for user comment and response, and the website is badly in need of a new look. I regret that I was not able to take advantage of an offer several years ago by Jonathan Ross to give the WTCA website a look similar to the excellent ATC website. I am willing to continue to maintain the website, and keep it current, but I am equally willing to pass on this responsibility to someone who can give it a more contemporary look.

The future - contemporary or classic?

The class faces an on-going challenge - should the Tasar continue to evolve as a contemporary, high performance dinghy that is competitive with newer designs, or should it become a classic design that provides satisfying performance and close racing, but is no longer state of the art?

It is a tribute to the genius of Frank Bethwaite that we can, if we choose, keep the Tasar close to state of the art in its category. The basic concept and construction of the Tasar were "light years ahead" in 1975, and they are still ahead of most current designs. There are few non-spinnaker, non-trapeze, non-foiling dinghies with the potential of the Tasar to offer exhilarating, state of the art, performance to two adults.

The class rules ensure that all decisions to change the Tasar must be approved by both the class and the builder. The two parties have a common interest in a successful, flourishing class, but also have some divergent interests. When changes are introduced, the builder has to bear the cost of developing and marketing the equipment, and owners have to bear the cost of buying new equipment to stay current and competitive. The highly successful switch to mylar sails has demonstrated that the builder and the class, working together, can update the class. I urge the class to continue to support evolutionary change, and not to allow the Tasar to become first a classic, and eventually a museum piece.

The crew weight rule

The class rules "are directed to the creation of a one-design class where the true test, when raced, is between crews and not boats." There is one notable exception to this principle: lighter crews have to sail heavier, slower boats. I believe we should eliminate the crew weight rule, as has been successfully tried in all regions except Australia. Crew weight equalization is an understandable goal, but the basic facts remain: light crews have an advantage in light air, heavy crews have an advantage in heavy air, really heavy crews will only be competitive in really heavy air, and the best sailors will usually win regardless of the conditions.

Frank has been opposed to eliminating this rule entirely, but open to modifying it. No solution to the dilemma posed by the light weight of the Tasar, and the resulting influence of crew weight on performance, will please everyone. For me, the bottom line is this: we shouldn't require light weight crews to sail slower boats. I urge the class to eliminate the crew weight rule, and let nature take its course, allowing competitor body weights and regatta sailing conditions, together with skill (and perhaps a little luck!) to determine results.

Thanks for your support

Finally I would like to thank the class, the members of the World Tasar Council, and the Presidents of the WTCA, for their support over the years that I have been Executive Secretary. I would particularly like to thank Frank Bethwaite, who, as we all know, has never wavered in his support of, and devotion to, what I believe is his crowning achievement - the Tasar. It has been a pleasure and a privilege to serve the Association, and I look forward to continuing to support the class in the years ahead.

Richard Spencer

Executive Secretary, World Tasar Class Association