Tiller Lengths

I sailed in Peter Barlow's Blaxe Mk II the other day and it 'felt' very different to my own MK II. I've since compared it also to my son's Mk1 boat and this felt closer to my own Mk II despite a lot of detail differences between the Mk II' and the MkI. Paul Hemsley also remarked on a very different 'feel' when he upgraded from Mk1 to Mk II recently (and sold his converted Mk1 privately in less than a week!).
I've had a think about this and have noticed that while all Mk II boats have the new RWO rudder stock I've got the only one with a tiller the same length as the Mk1 boats (as it was the prototype it was probably copied exactly) Subsequent production Mk II stocks have a shorter tiller fixed to them.
Now this is all up to personal taste and is not controlled by the rules but you might like to measure the length and let us know what you think - to me the shorter tiller made the boat feel a little 'dead' on the helm.
However its often what you get used to that determines what you like. The advantage I can see for a shorter tiller is when you are screaming along on a broad reach and are right at the back of the boat - it will be much easier to control + the cockpit is a little more spacious. Still aluminium stock tube is not expensive and you may like to experiment. For the record my own Mk II's tiller is 1070mm overall (overall tube length) and it projects 933mm forward of the stock. I'm not suggesting this is correct merely that perhaps we do not know the optimum length yet.
The other observation about the RWO stock is that it allows the rudder blade to project forward of the vertical when the rudder is 'fully down' - if you occasionally find the high wind 'feel' a bit twitchy especially in waves this is the cause without doubt. (been there etc) Helm will be nice and light as its partially 'balanced' either side of the pivot point which projects vertically down from the pintles - BUT it can very easily get much too sensitive when it blows, especially if you do not (or cannot !) keep the boat absolutely flat.
My advice is to glue, with impact adhesive, a small block of hard foam in at the front of the stock so that when the blade is properly vertical its stops against it. About 7-8 mm of a synthetic wine bottle 'cork' does wonderfully ! It will ensure you do not overdo the downhaul.
Paul Taylor will be sending - by 'snailmail' - a renewal form to you in the next 2 weeks for 2003. The association is run by volunteers, (who often abuse the facilities of their 'employers' to keep costs low!) to organise racing, training, technical trouble-shooting, website, pursuit of sponsorship and even this forum - we charge a very modest £ 16 per year and keep your costs at events to the absolute minimum.
In short its a bargain - so please help us to keep helping you by getting back to him promptly. If your address has changed or perhaps you are new to the Blaze and we may not have your details yet please get in touch with him via his contact details on the website. If you do not get a letter within 3 weeks please contact Paul anyway.
Regards - Mike Lyons