UK Quick Start Guide

(Assumes you might have just bought a used Tasar and want to know what to do with all the levers and strings)
If you haven't already, then its a good idea to use the contact form and let us know you exist. If you have any doubts then please ask us. We are not the top quick guys, but we are keen to pin down how to sail the boat with mylar sails and make sure newcomers can get up to speed quickly.
The Tasar philosophy has always been about sharing information and techniques for the benefit of all and we are firm supporters of this.

Some basics:

The mast rake is fixed by the length of the forestay. This is shown in the last page of this. Then you can choose the shroud tension you fancy when the slides are pulled back. Just kind of tight is fine. Doesn't need a lot of tension.

The diamond wires on the mast should be set slack. If you pinch them in to the mast they should pull in and touch the mast just about where the ring is on the front of the mast for the jib stick.

The kicker is a depowering tool. Normally it should be just lightly tight without tension, but doing nothing. Pull it on big time and the lower mast bends and takes power out of the lower sail. Top sailors do this on the fly up a beat as the gusts hit them. Normal mortals retire to the bar in these conditions.

The Cunningham does the usual stuff, same as any boat. The Outhaul ditto, tight up wind or running and loose for reaching. If you are new to the boat and want to reduce the hassle then just keep the outhaul tight.

The Shrouds should be pulled back for upwind and on the windward side when reaching. Drop them forward on a run and/or the lee side on a broad reach. You will see on a broad reach that the main sail rests on the shroud if you dont push it forward. If you are new to the boat and want to reduce the hassle then just keep them pulled back.

The Jib slides. Critical to get this right to maintain the biggest possible slot between jib and main at any point in time.
So for reaches, rather than letting the jib sheet out you should be placing the slides as far out as possible for the jib to still fill. We guess a basic setting of 'in', 'middle' and 'out' for any leg depending on how broad the reach is, and then adjust accordingly from there.
Upwind is where it gets tricky. To point high you need them right in. But this shuts the slot to the point where the boat stalls. We only have them right in on very light winds. On a typical sensible wind we have them two or three stops out. If the wind is to strong for us, then we move them out one stop and try again. The key point being that you need the boat to be absolutely flat at all times. Depending on your weight and the wind strength you will need to adjust the sails and your pointing angle accordingly.
The design spec for the jib is to have a 10% curve in it. We have some tape points on the foredeck as a guide when slides are fully in. But the principle is that you keep the 10% curve at all times and move the slides to alter the sail angle ( not the curve). They are difficult to move when the jib sheet is being used so try and set them correctly before you tack or change onto a reaching leg of a course.

The Daggerboard. Light winds, right down. More wind, lift the board up. In typical uk winds we have the top of the board level with the deck. If we can keep the boat flat and pointing then we try a bit more board down. More board down is more power, but you have to be able to balance it against keeping the boat flat and pointing. Lots more lower down this page from Rod about the dagger board.

The Mainsheet and traveller. Upwind, traveller in centre, pull the mainsheet on to your chosen tension. It should be tight enough to get the mainsail top area flat. Pulling it on will cause the kicker to droop and do nothing. This is normal. It is possible to overpull the mainsheet. Be careful here. We have a mark on the mainsheet which lines up with the block when its pulled to my chosen max tighness. This allows easy repeat of the setting and tweak a bit less tension in lower winds.
Sail upwind or on tight reaches using the traveller. It keeps the mainsail powered up while you adjust the boom angle. Use the traveller on reaches till the boom has to be out further than it allows, then switch to using the mainsheet and let the kicker keep the boom down.

The Spanner is the turbo charger. Without it the boat is like a lump of custard.
Upwind, reaching or downwind, the spanner needs to be over rotated to the same side as the boom.
If we imagine you are reaching. You (the helm) are sitting on the opposite side of the boat to the boom in the conventional position for a helm. The handle of the spanner should be away from you and further rotated than the line of the boom. The wing bar of the spanner nearest to you should be in the middle of the bracket on the boom. So really the mast is over-rotated compared with what you might think. Some people move the spanner even further around so the wing bar is past the boom and pushing back against the outer side of the boom bracket.
If you look up at the mast and the mainsail you will see that the mast now forms the leading edge of the sails vertical wing shape. This is what gives the Tasar its speed. Its basically the same as modern Americas cup catamaran 'sails'. Frank was an aeronautical engineer, so he realised in 1975 that a wing shape was the most powerful.
When you tack, the crew's best method is to push the spanner across after the boom goes over, using the appropriate hand/arm, rather than pull it. Getting the timing right will mean it swivells without any effort. Leave it to late and it becomes hard work in strong wind.

Gybing
There is a trick of pre moving the handle before gybing which is difficult to describe, but here goes... Before you gybe, move the handle around so its pointing toward the back of the boat and the boom bracket is sitting in the gap between the handle and its wing bar. Then gybe and when the boom goes over it will take the handle with it and leave it almost in the correct new position. A little tweak from the crew and it will be good. No effort, no shouting and no wrongly twisted mast.
From goosewing we do a gybe like this. Pre-move handle. Crew unhooks jib stick mast end and pulls it inwards. Then pushes it out on the new side of the forestay and clips it back on the mast. The jib will be flopping a bit at this point. Helm gybes main. Crew pulls new side jib sheet to send stick out to fill sail. Crew tweaks handle into position.
One other thing about the jib stick. When getting it in, we have the Helm pull the jib sheet to stop the jib flying free and disappearing forward. Once it gets in front of the forestay the battons get looped and its almost impossible to get it straight again. We consider this a 'race over' situation, so to be avoided at all cost.

When the wind gets to rough and you need to stay safe. Put the spanner in the middle on the boom and forget about it. You wont win anything but it will help you stay upright. Also a good idea to lock the traveller in its mid position and just use the main sheet.

Sailing the boat absolutely flat is the key. Choose flat and fast rather than slow and pointing up more.
Our friends in Australia who are pretty hot, have provided this crib sheet on settings. Its excitingly filled with non UK English terms, but the principle is all good.

In case you haven't noticed, it should now be clear that the crew has most of the work to do. The helm only has the main sheet, traveller and the tiller to worry about. This a deliberate design policy. Same as the 'no trapeze', 'no spinnaker' and comfy seats. The boat needs to be actively sailed by two people, but requires little physical effort and no circus tricks to make it go fast.


UK Dagger Board Settings:

In an effort to avoid lack of definition when talking about the critical dagger board positions at the bar in the post race review we have adopted a standard for putting numbers on the board to indicate height settting. The numbers align with the top edge of the housing. This is Rod's idea and these are his words about settings.

See photo above, stand foil on tip and no 1 is 950 mm from tip, each increment is 50mm up with mid point between 5 and 6.
It seems the boat is most sensitive to plate on the beat and I have concentrated on the beat settings as I think this is our strongpoint of boat speed. But just for interest stated other positions.
I should state that our rig tension is such that on full Modern RCB pull back tension the mast inverts. I can't remember the gauge setting! Diamond wires just touch mast at jib ring fitting. Diamonds can be Tighter in light winds, but soon as they are tighter and the wind increases the spanner will tend to pop out requiring kicker to hold it in place. This is very SLOW. Only tighten them if you are sure the wind will not increase to 15. Knots!
On the main sheet I have the wire strop at the bottom, less to get jammed between main sheet block and track traveller. I have a yellow tape main sheet sheeting reference mark set just below top pulley for 3-5 knots up wind . The percentage I quote are 0% at the top as the lightest setting and 100% when mark aligns with lower pulley block. That being maximum sheet tension.
I would say the constant use of our yellow main sheet tension and plate reference points between 5.5 and 4 plus keeping the boat flat is what gives us the up wind speed. Interesting, despite loosing 5 stone of body weight out of the boat I think we are still pretty fast up wind. Loosing body weight is very cheap go faster goodies. The beauty of reference points is that you can replicate the fast settings and avoid the slow ones. When the tape mark comes off I slow down!

3-5 knots
Up wind: plate 6-7 for choppy waters with boats around, right down when flat and no traffic. This is not the common wisdom but seems to work in the modern boats with more rig tension and adjustable RCBs, jib cars one click out, eased jib tension and main sheet traveller up side of centre line to create mainsail twist. Main sheet mark at base setting or less, rig sliders eased 30mm or more to make sure mast not inverted. Leeward shroud just moves. Loose kicker. Reasonably tight main out haul position.
Beam reach:4, but 5 if waves and tight
Run: tip of board Flush with underside of boat, but only in flat water, super fast but only when you don't fall in. Keep boat rock steady!

5-10 knots
Up wind : 6 for choppy water, 7 for flat water, jib cars in, jib sheet fractionally tighter, eased after tack in rough water and then gently sheeted in to set point. Main sheet mark at around 50%. No kicker, rig sliders fully back. Main out haul eased so that 25 mm gap on boom.
Beam reach: 4
Run about 3 but down more if waves and gusty, doesn't seem to make much difference.

10- 14 knots
Up wind: 5.5 for off the line and congested beat and choppy water, 5.5 to 5 open water and free to foot off, aim for 5 and foot, jib cars right in but jib freed at this stage but only if free to change course. Main sheet tension 75%-85 depending on the gust to base wind difference, No kicker, rig sliders right back. Main outhaul eased 30 mm gap.
Beam reach :4
Run:3/4 depending on roll comfort, less if don't want to jibe and wish to sag off to leeward.

14-20 Knots
Up wind: the settings now start to become more critical in order to stop the boat staggering, 5-5.5 off line and congested first part of beat and pointing important, we aim for 5 once we are off the line and clear of traffic. It's definitely 5 but 4.5 in flat water and constant winds where you are free to choose the course up wind. Jib cars out 2-3 clicks, jib looser sheet at all times even off line as plate more important, Main sheet 100%, boom now regularly over stern quarter corner and traveller constantly being adjusted to keep boat flat. Kicker to de-power in the gusts , ease kicker if boom can be brought back to centre line whilst still keeping the boat flat. Cunningham now about 20% on. Main outhaul set so sail just flat along boom. Boat being sailed noticeably freer and freely planning upwind.
Beam reach: 3
Run: 3/4 as previous run setting

20-23knots
Up wind: 5 off the line and congested first part of beat, 4 once clear of traffic. 4 works particularly well in gusty and big waves, 4.5 if less gusty and flat water. Jib cars four clicks out, jib tension about the same or eased so that edge is 20 mm from gunwale edge but only if the boat footing fast and maintains height, main sheet tension 105%, kicker on more to depower rig. Aim to constantly adjust the traveller to keep boat flat with boom over corner, if you cleat the traveller you will slow down. Cunningham now 50 to 75%. Main out haul now tight.
The relationship between plate, main sheet tension, kicker and Cunningham are critical. If the boat is not kept FLAT the settings will not work and you will go slower than stuffers and fluffers. It is critical to sail flat or these setting will NOT work.
At this wind strength it is likely that the gust to base wind on the sea will now be varying by 10 knots, a freer jib and CONSTANT use of the kicker will help manage the variation.

Greater than 25 knots
This is where we differ in style and are more controversial. Heavy people can sail the boat very differently to light ones.
We are still trying to adapt to our 5 stone weight loss. We used to sail as previous settings with jib eased over the gunwale 110% mainsheet tension, maximum Cunningham, ie eye almost touching the boom. Heaps of kicker and plate at four. We could keep boat flat and still maintain reasonable height.
It's early days in the lighter zone, but we have started sailing with more twist and slightly less kicker, but with plate still at position 4.


More Reading...

For more reading on how to make a Tasar go fast. Take a look at the handbook from the link on the left of our homepage. The Tasar was the only boat supplied with a handbook and it includes valuable information on where to set everything. From the designer himself. The only thing wrong is that its based on the dacron sails. The new mylar ones were not invented then and they are slightly different.
Also for the really keen, I can reccomend Frank's book 'High Performance Sailing'. Its not entirely about the Tasar and its thick, small print and highly technical. So not for the feint hearted.
Ian.