I got mine today. Its seems identical to the one that came with my 2012 boat . The quality is decent a few small marks on the aluminum arms barely visible...it is 7 ounces heavier than the wood tiller with straps...I think If I were to do it again I would wait for the newest style tiller to come down in price or stick with wood...but for $108 I love it....also I noticed the price has gone back to $145
Not only do the wooden tillers bend, but the straps will break after a while. I had one break that cost me an important race, and vowed “never again.” I had a very slight lead on the final weather leg of the last race in a Regional championship. I was tied for third in the overall standings, and a First in this race would have put me in first or second, and qualify for a spot in the Worlds. There were four boats in close contention, and a tacking duel ensued. I made a quick tack to cover another boat, and one of my tiller straps snapped. I believe I said, “golly heck” or words to that effect. I decided to sail as fast as I could, minimizing rudder movement by using heel and trim, and avoiding tacking. I managed to finish, but lost two boats for a Third, and Third overall.
After that, I used two sets of tiller straps, as allowed by Class rules. The new metal tillers are much better!
Bummer! "Golly heck" indeed! The real weak link in all these rigs is the rubber universal fitting that joins the tiler extension to the end of the tiller handle. They fatigue and then snap. Had this happen five minutes before the start of our local Districts and had to tie the rig back together with a shoelace until I could make a proper repair. These days I do a visual check each time I go out, disconnect the rig for off-season storage and change it every year or so whether it needs it or not. The double straps for a wood tiller a good move, but the straps of the aluminum tillers seem fine as is. It is moot for me as I race with a wishbone, class legal tiller. It has a great solid feel and is very strong.
btw, in the pic, you can see I needed to had a band of the soft sided Velcro, as since the old tiller straps aren't in use, it keeps the tiller from scraping across the aft deck. Keeps the tiller "just off" the deck, even if I accidentally sit on it!