Most Lasers/ILCA boats have historically included an aluminum tiller and tiller extension. (If you go back in history, the original ones were wood!). There are a number of reasons to upgrade your old Laser/ILCA tiller and extension to a Carbon Tiller and Extension.
Here are the four biggest ones:
#1 - Lower Profile
The height of the carbon tiller itself is physically less than the standard ones. These precious millimeters helps you get the traveller line tighter.
A tighter traveller line is vital, as it allows the traveler blocks to go as far outboard as possible, which produces better sail shape. Pro Tip: You can gain an additional advantage by using a spliced traveller line:
Note how the traveller line is allowed to be tight and low profile here with a carbon tiller.
#2 - Tighter Fit
The tiller fits into the rudder head of course. Rudder heads have had various build sizes (I know, I know). The stock aluminum tillers often had plastic wedges, or weird cast metal. These were sloppy and didn’t fit snuggly and firmly into the rudder head. The carbon tillers have a better and smoother fit inside the rudder head, so, you get a more firm fit.
#3 - They are Lighter
This is not the primary reason, but, it’s a reason for sure.
#4 - More Direct Feel
For most of us, this is the best part. The carbon tiller (with carbon extension) are stiffer, and lighter. So, you feel the boat better. The movement of the rudder doesn’t get absorbed in ‘slop’ in the system - it goes directly to your fingers and hands. The feel is greatly improved.
Updating your tiller and/or extension is not a critical update and is expensive, but worthy consideration as your skills grow for the four key reasons listed above. If you're interested in upgrading, you can see the best carbon tillers and extensions for your Laser/ILCA here:
This article was written by George Yioulos at West Coast Sailing.
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