The only rule preventing the use of carbon fiber tiller extensions at this time is general rule 11.1 (non-conductive material), so IMO, the performance and cost issues are really irrelevant. If someone were to build a tiller extension right now that was made from an exotic, non-conductive material, and that extension weighed a 1/4 pound, retailed for $500, and was considered to have “no direct bearing upon boat speed”, that tiller would be entirely legal, correct?
No. Refer to IHCA General Class Rules 1, 2 and 4:
1. ONE-DESIGN CLASS RACING
The design and development of Hobie Catamarans are directed towards strict one-design classes where the true test is between sailors and sailing skill, and not boats. Any alterations to the hull form, construction, equipment, spars, sails or running rigging, as supplied by the builder except as is specifically authorized by these rules, are a breach of these rules, both in spirit and in substance, and are prohibited.
2. INTENT AND OBJECTIVE
Hobie Catamarans are designed to be easy to sail with the least amount of trouble to owners. Boat and component changes, which have no direct bearing upon boat speed, are the only changes allowed. The intent and objective of the
INTERNATIONAL HOBIE CLASS ASSOCIATION (IHCA) RULES are:
a) To keep each boat as equal, simple and cost free as possible by rigidly maintaining, without deviation, the one-design features of the Hobie Cat for class racing.
b) To increase boat speed only through the use of racing tactics and sailing skills
IF YOU THINK YOU HAVE FOUND A LOOPHOLE, READ THE PRECEDING STATEMENTS AGAIN. THESE ARE THE BASIS OF THE RULES AND COVER ALL AREAS NOT COVERED IN THE RULES. GENERALLY, IF YOU CANNOT FIND IT LISTED IN THE RULES, IT IS NOT CLASS LEGAL. IF YOU ARE IN DOUBT, CHECK WITH THE IHCA FIRST. APPROVAL MUST BE IN WRITING.
A lot of people tend to forget that these rules are the basis of the Hobie One-Design concept.