How long should a tiller be.........

Thread starter #1
Hi,

How long should a tiller be......
I have a short tiller and find that on a reach I am holding the tip of the tiller behind me and find the laser to be very unstable at this point. So I sit further back than I should.
I believe that if it is too long it can get tangled with the mainsheet.
How does one go about getting the correct length tiller........

Anxiously awaiting your response............
 
#2
I reckon a length that corresponds to the back wall of the cockpit is about right, with the extension universal bolted as far forward on that length as possible.
 
#3
I believe you are asking about tiller 'extension' length. The part you hold in your hand.

If so, typical length for racing is 48".


A few guys will chop off a few, I know some top guys that use 44". Also have just a handful of customers that use 54", but that is overkill for most all of us.
 
#4
OK - I'm confused again! :confused:

My (used) boat came with a Ronstan X-10 extension which I measure at 33 inches. I know it's the right length for me to go up the back of my PDF when I'm trying to tack/jibe and can't imagine the skill levels required to use an even longer (39, 42, 48, 49, 54 inch????) extension. I'm asuming this is a newbie issue...

But seriously - how much tiller extension length is the size of the human, the style of sailing, or some other factor? I'm jumping on softshuffle's question and would like a little more clarification as to why you experienced guys chose whatever length you use - does size matter?

:)
 
#5
Ok well I just measured my totally bog-standard PSE supplied ali tiller (39") and extension (41").

I've always found this combi works perfectly well, and have tried most lengths over the years, from about 55 down to 18 inches, which annoyed me so much I ended up tying the end of the mainsheet to it just so i could hike.
I'm 6'1 and around 220.

In the original post, this worries me:..........................
on a reach I am holding the tip of the tiller behind me and find the laser to be very unstable at this point. So I sit further back than I should.
it could be simply a mis-wording, but when reaching, (A), the boat is probably at its most stable, and (B), you shouldn't be holding the tiller behind you.

For clarity, the best grip to have on a tiller extension on a boat with a forward-lead mainsheet is known as a dagger grip, where the pointy bit would be towards the universal. with this grip the tiller extension should always be across the front of your body, except immediately after a tack or gybe.

The frying pan grip (which is holding the tiller the way you hold a frying pan full of hot oil) is not much use in a laser except in drifting conditions. it puts undue strain on your wrist when hiking.

At no time while racing is it a good idea to hold the actual tiller arm, except perhaps in murderously strong flat running conditions, when we should all be queuing at blockbuster instead!
 
#6
Yes you should be holding the tiller overhand with it infront of you. You can think of it as you are singing into the tiller extension as the end will be up infront of you.
 
#7
I found that the stock Laser tiller extension is the perfect length for the Vanguard15, and that a 48" tiller extension is the perfect length for me for the Laser.
 

AlanD

Former ISAF Laser Measurer
#8
The length of the tiller extension will vary wildly depending upon how tall you are, how far you sit out, how long your tiller is and how comfortable* you are in the boat.

* Lots of beginners hold the tiller extension beside them or don't really hike that hard, so they tend to hold the tiller extension much further down than someone with lots of experience.

There is probably no easy way of determining the correct length for you, except trial and error. The quickest way is to go down to you club and borrow / measure the tiller extensions and tiller of other laser sailors, until you find one that is about the right length for you.

If you need to do it from scratch. The maximum it can be is with the tiller pushed over as if tacking, your tiller extension just passes the mainsheet ratchet block. Cut the tiller to this length and go for a sail. Once ashore, cut a inch/ few centimetres off and then go for another sail and keep repeating until you find a length which is no longer too long. Personally, I hold my tiller in my lap with about 6"/150mm extending past my hand in most sailing conditions. This extra length is occassionally used.
 
#9
I hold my tiller in my lap with about 6"/150mm extending past my hand in most sailing conditions. This extra length is occassionally used.
Definetly true, a while ago I had an extension that was long enough but only if I held it right on the end so I got one that was a little longer. Not having to hold right on the end makes me feel a lot more safer and comfortable steering.
 
#10
* Lots of beginners hold the tiller extension beside them or don't really hike that hard, so they tend to hold the tiller extension much further down than someone with lots of experience.
Oh yes - that would be me, I guess the question of tiller length becomes an issue later when I start spending more time hiked out. In the meantime I do hold the extention in about the middle most of the time, and in times of panic, grab the tiller. :rolleyes:

I see that my confusion is based on noob-clouded reasoning!

I appreciate the explanations, especially the last few posts! It does make more sense now...

:)
 
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