Carbon Tiller for the Laser
Steve explains why this tiller performs so well.
The Laser tiller is the one piece of equipment that Laser Sailors are prepared to spend their money on. But why?
The big problem for Laser Sailors is; to get the maximum power out of the rig in medium winds, they need to get maximum leach tension on the sail. This is achieved by using the mainsheet to tension the leach alone. Kicker tension simply reduces the leach tension as the boom is also a pusher into the mast (bending it) as well as a 'puller down'.
So the obvious answer is to use the mainsheet. However, in marginal hiking conditions the mainsheet keeps pulling the boom into the middle of the boat, due to its action from the ratchet block and the traveller system which encourages the boom into the centre of the boat (the natural highest place). Some sailors find it easier to just use kicker to keep the boom on the corner, but unfortunately they loose pointing ability and speed due to the lack of leach tension. In an ideal world the traveler should be higher at the edges – thus allowing the boom to want to stay outboard. Unfortunately the Laser tiller gets in the way. The higher the tiller – the higher the traveller in the middle. So that is why top Laser sailors spend amounts of money on a carbon tiller so that it can be as low as possible and still stiff enough not to bang on the traveler cleat.