12 August 2013
Blaine Dodds Comments on STARDUST – Tag 60 carbon
I was invited by a long standing friend, Eric Cook to sail abound his TAG 60 Carbon catamaran in Majorca after competing in the Hobie Tiger World Championships, Travemunde, Germany where I was placed third.
On arrival we were met by the skipper, Trevor and deck hand, Daniel, who welcomed us aboard.
She is luxuriously appointed with all the mod cons one can imagine. The first things that struck me were her beautiful lines and the powerful rig. The wing mast has no diamond spreaders and is rotated hydraulically to either side creating more camper and hence increased power when needed. The sail wardrobe consisted of a powerful fat head main, furling jib, light air gennaker and a code “0”.
The free board was in excess of one meter to avoid the typical cat syndrome of the tunnel being continually pounded in rough seas.
Over the next couple of days, we cruised at speed along the coast to various anchorages and marinas. Having a racing background we were obviously keen to see how she would perform and were constantly tweaking the sails and rig while checking the log to see the results.
On one occasion while beating out of the bay of Palma, we came across the maxi fleet competing in the Copa Del Rey Regatta. While going to weather on the outskirts of their course in a 10 to 12 knot breeze, our boat speed was in the order of 10+ knots at 45 degrees to the true wind. Needless to say, we kept pace with them, not bad for a cruising cat that was only heeling at 5 degrees and one could leave their G & T unattended on the saloon table.
On another occasion we left Port de Soller with a very light 3 to 4 knot Northern Easterly wind from astern. The code “0” was deployed and we “hotted” the boat up to 135 degrees to true wind. Before we knew it, we were doing 8 knots while tacking downwind. It was incredible to see how, with a bit of tweaking the apparent wind would come right around and we were going downwind with our sails almost sheeted right in at more than double the wind speed! I couldn’t believe what a huge difference the mast rotation made, as it accounted for at least 1.5 knots of speed. This was really amazing as the average yacht of our size would have only attained 2 to 3 knots while we were smoking.
She has a powerful rig and therefore is fitted with some ingenious safety features. Inclinometer and tension meters are fitted and set up so that if she heels farther than desired or the pressure on the rig exceeds certain parameters, the main and the jib is automatically unsheeted.
All in all she performs exceptionally well at all points of sailing, is easily managed by a skipper and crew member, as the sails and mast are hydraulically operated through the use of a joy stick.
Many thanks to Eric, Trevor and Daniel for treating us so well and for the great sailing experience.