Originally Posted by christian.hess
the long tiller is probably cause the po liked it that way...
a lot of racers and dinghy sailors and small keelboaters use tiller extenders(which is better than just a long tiller) as it pivots but the long tiller is because a lot of helmsmen like to sit up forward by the coaming or cabin...it also allows solo sailors for example to be close to the main halyard winch, or sheets etc if lines are led aft for a quick adjustment or douse...etc...
I prefer tiller extenders usually with a foam grip...the best we made on the j24 we raced for example was a very light aluminum tube with a rubber strap cord running through it and into the tiller end...it will pivot in all angles and be flexible
in any case these are my ideas on why you have a long tiller...having said that with you having a helper on board there is no need for such a long one as space will be cut down as you already know
i believe the boats originally came with that tiller. i, also, would prefer a shorter tiller with an extension. but, i do see the point for a longer tiller for solo sailing. however, the traveler is in the stern, so the mainsail's control lines are all easily reached from the stern. also, there are winches, for the jib, close to the stern. i think it could be easily single handed with a shorter tiller. it is true that the longer tiller would allow a solo sailer to sit closer to the cabin, moving his weight forward for up wind sailing. but, in a boat that weighs 5400#, i am not sure how much the weight of one person would affect the handling.