Basic Tasar Sailing
Traveller – this allows you to keep the boom in the centre of the boat, and allows you to adjust the tension you have on the mainsheet. For instance in Light winds (say 1 – 3 Knots) you want to pull the traveller all the way up to windward and have the mainsheet loosely holding the boom to the centre. Then as the wind gets stronger you tighten the mainsheet and ease the traveller back to the centre of the boat. At say about 8 – 12 knots you want the mainsheet on tight and the traveller in the centre. This sort of wind strength is the strength where you have everything on tight and you lean out the most to get the boat going as fast as possible. As the winds get stronger and you can’t lean enough to keep the boat flat, then you need to depower the sail so that you can keep the boat flat at all times. To depower with the traveller you have 2 choices, firstly just ease the traveller so that it and the boom moves a couple of inches past centre to luid. Secondly if you have already eased the traveller say 4 inches past centre to luid and you are still leaning over then you must release some mainsheet tension and then bring the boom back into the centre again. Then as the wind picks up stronger and stronger you keep repeating this above process – Ease the Traveller, then Ease the main a little and pull up the traveller.
The most important thing in stronger winds is to have the boat trimmed so you are able to keep the boat flat and not healing over. There are a few other controls to do at the same time as all this is happening as well, and they are the Centre Board- as soon as the wind picks up, lift it up 6 inches, as soon as it is greater than 15 knots pull it up as far as it will go. Also there is the Jib Slot – there are 2 schools of thought here – as the wind picks up open the slot by a couple of wholes , in strong winds can even take it out to 4 holes. OR as the wind picks up a bit ease the jib an inch or so – you start to point lower but start going faster. This is vital and is the complete art of getting Tasar sailing right – get the traveller and the slot right and you will be at the front more often than not.
The Centre Board is again quite important to get right and change as the wind changes. When you are going to windward on a light day or even leaning out a little then have it fully down. This maximises the lift you get from the board and therefore the height. But the more you have down the more healing force is being generated as well, so for lighter crews it is important to lift the board earlier. Do not lean out hard on the side struggling to keep the boat flat in 15 knots or less – lift the board up say 6 inches – it is not worth doing small adjustments here – either lift it half way to the vangh or lift it almost all the way up. Make sure the safety rope is on as you do not want the board falling out and drifting away when you tip it upside down. If it is windy a good idea is to tie a plastic ball or bottle to the top of the mast – will prevent a lot of time wasting righting the boat.
The Jib Tracks are just like the centre board – always adjust these sooner rather than later, you have to be aware of the wind strength and always move a jib track out earlier rather than hold on and tough it out. By moving the track out or easing the jib a little you keep the boat moving fast. You want to maximise the flow through the slot – a bad thing to do is to have the slot too tight – this means wind backs up and chock’s the jib – you will go slower and point lower and wonder why. You don’t always think if easing the jib to be able to point faster and go higher.
The Down haul – ease it off reaching and down wind and pull it on going upwind. Always good to bag up the front when it is a sloppy/choppy day – gives you some drive through the waves.
The Vangh pull it on to flatten the top of the sail – especially on those windy days. It is a good idea to have the crew hold the vangh rope in one hand and the jib in the other on days that are quite gusty. As soon as you get hit by the gust rip the vangh on a couple of inches and ease the traveller. You instantly depower and move ahead faster. Then if the gust holds in ease the jib an inch put the vangh back to normal and bring the traveller back up to windward while easing the mainsheet. When the wind drops reverse everything. As the wind chops and changes all day you get RSI from tightening loosening everything all day long.
I haven’t mentioned much about the outhaul – typically pull it on so there is a few inches gap at the centre on light to normal days and as tight as you can on windy days. When you go down the reach again ease it off a bit for the nice curve. When you go on the dead run – always good to stretch out the sail to maximum – increases your sail area.
The Battens – are basically there to hold sail shape – the only important thing here is to try to get them all the same tension. This way when you tack in light airs they all flip over, if one is too loose or too tight then they will not all bounce across. You are in all sorts of trouble then trying to grab the boom and push them across. Best to grab the back of the boom and pull it down – this usually flips them across. Setting the battens – if you think your sail is too flat – tighten up all the battens, if you think you sail is too full then loosen the battens – this way your other controls take over for shaping the sail.
Another important thing is seaweed, many people suddenly start going slow – and check everything and wonder why. Have a look to see if you have run over some seaweed – pull the centre board all the way up and then shove it back down again. You don’t have to take it all the way out of the case – just high enough to clear the bottom. Don’t tip over while doing this – that is embarrassing.You can usually feel weed on your rudder as it appears to shake a little bit while you are sailing along. If this happens lean over the back and grab it with your hand and flick it off – don’t fall off the back.
Always make sure the rudder is all the way down – pull it tight and get the knot in position into the cleat – if it is up even just a little bit you will notice a bit of weather helm. ALL Tasars should have absolutely zero weather helm – if it has some it is always the rudder being up a little – push it down further. This are just some basic steps to get you going – you never seem to master the art of sail trimming and shift picking, there is always another thing to learn and to practice.
If you need any help always ask someone - we are all happy to help.
All the very best with your Tasar Sailing.