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Tiller v Wheel steering. Why

on boats under 50ft?

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#101 boomer

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Posted 22 September 2012 - 12:36 AM

Mark is the best and one of the good guys....Alan had Ladybug dialed in as he usually did with his boats...he was a national champion in a couple classes way back in the day....Ladybug won it's class and Swiftsure if I remember correctly one year,the year before or after he was second,but I may be wrong on that...that was a long time ago....Alan got into windsurfing and moved down to Hood River back in the day...I imagine he's still down there.

#102 kimbottles

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Posted 22 September 2012 - 12:57 AM

Mark is the best and one of the good guys....Alan had Ladybug dialed in as he usually did with his boats...he was a national champion in a couple classes way back in the day....Ladybug won it's class and Swiftsure if I remember correctly one year,the year before or after he was second,but I may be wrong on that...that was a long time ago....Alan got into windsurfing and moved down to Hood River back in the day...I imagine he's still down there.


We finished second at Grand Prix one year because Alan and Ladybug beat us. It was kind of easy to lose to Alan because he is such a nice guy and classy sailor. We also rode bicycles together, my kind of guy.

#103 boomer

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Posted 22 September 2012 - 01:36 AM

Have you heard from him, is Alan still with us?....he had a long history of winning in Stars,before retiring from the racing scene.

He owned Spear Tech as well and his masts were some of the best for the hot Star sailors back then.

I believe he went to the Olympics in the Star Class as well.

#104 kimbottles

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Posted 22 September 2012 - 02:32 AM

Have you heard from him, is Alan still with us?....he had a long history of winning in Stars,before retiring from the racing scene.

He owned Spear Tech as well and his masts were some of the best for the hot Star sailors back then.

I believe he went to the Olympics in the Star Class as well.


Yes, he was an Olympic Star sailor I think in 1972. I have one of his Spar Tech Star masts in my back yard as a flag pole. I have not spoken to him in a long time, but he is still in the Seattle Yacht Club book for 2012 living in Bellevue.

#105 WHL

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Posted 23 September 2012 - 03:00 AM



While I love a tiller, on the 42' we cruise a lot on autopilot, off the wind in seas sometimes the pilot makes some pretty big movements. The wheel just spins. I couldn't imagine a tiller thrashing about the cockpit while we're trying to have lunch.

Our cockpit table is mounted to the pedestal. Mounting one to a tiller could likely result in spilt wine.


:D From a cruising perspective, I do believe we have the winning response right here !!! Nice one CL


What is this "cruising," Hung? Veiled racing as far as I can tell!


LOL.. I wont forget the dinghy race. Hilarious !!

#106 WHL

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Posted 23 September 2012 - 03:18 AM


Have you heard from him, is Alan still with us?....he had a long history of winning in Stars,before retiring from the racing scene.

He owned Spear Tech as well and his masts were some of the best for the hot Star sailors back then.

I believe he went to the Olympics in the Star Class as well.


Yes, he was an Olympic Star sailor I think in 1972. I have one of his Spar Tech Star masts in my back yard as a flag pole. I have not spoken to him in a long time, but he is still in the Seattle Yacht Club book for 2012 living in Bellevue.

My Star mast was a Spar Tech too. Very popular and people are still trying to buy one as a spare as soon as they see a used one listed anywhere.

#107 boomer

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Posted 23 September 2012 - 07:20 AM

Both the early version and the later version of Spar Tech's Star masts were top shelf... ..Holt and Gates designed the early spars using the best aerodynamic knowledge available at the time ....to improve the later generation Spar Tech Star masts,they went to Boeing's best aerodynamic engineer Arvel Gentry, who also designed 12 meter masts.

http://www.arvelgent...m/star/star.pdf

#108 boomer

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Posted 24 September 2012 - 09:22 PM

There used to be a guy in Seattle, Dan Brink. He raced very succesfully a Ranger 29 called TONIC. I'd watch him leave the marina, tiller between his legs, a beer in one hand and a cigarette in the other.
That image would not have worked with a wheel.


Sometimes I read a bit to fast and miss key words...You meant a different Dan Brink, if he was still alive would be about 80,he was a lawyer in Seattle,had some well known work in his profession.....,he was related to the Portland Brinks originally out of Minnesota. Besides being a good sailor,he stayed on the task....was famous for go overboard,and got hauled back onboard with the same line that tripped him clenched in his teeth.....now that's determined.

#109 reis123

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Posted 24 September 2012 - 11:31 PM

My primary reason for using a tiller is Butt Steering. See the attached video here for an example of a gybe aboard S'agapo in which the three of us are having a nice calm light-wind race down the coast of California. Try doing what the helmsman is doing with a wheel. It's not possible. In the same boat with a wheel you'd be carrying an additional 180 pound crew member to perform the same jobs, in addition to the added weight and complexity of the steering cables, binnacle, etc... and inherent lower reliability.

As to some of the other points made earlier:

Because people drive cars with wheels: Yup, aircraft designers have gone to great length to put wheels in the cockpits of planes because people understand them even though any taildragger pilot worth his salt will only fly with a stick between his legs. (I didn't really mean that the way it sounded.) Planes with wheels vs sticks (have exactly the same argument with almost all the same "points", except no butt steering.)

Because your neck hurts with a tiller: Doh! turn your body. Geesh, it is trivial to steer facing forward with a tiller or tiller extension. I've had to re-train a few skippers I naviguess for, but it only takes five minutes to get them to face forward some of the time. Guys get sore neck sitting sideways at the wheel too. You also get the MOF's (Mighty Fine Owner) fat ass further to windward with a tiller in general because they aren't standing up in the middle of the boat trying to sail where they can't see the tell tales.

Because you need more gear reduction that an tiller can give you: Nope, you need a better rudder! The wheel is fixing the wrong problem. If a yacht designer give you a boat that you can't steer with a 5' long tiller, you need a different yacht designer. I sailed aboard RAGTIME when she had a tiller and we called it the Whale Cock. It was terrible. That had nothing whatsoever to do with the tiller and everything to do with folks in that era not understanding how to do a good balanced spade rudder. I've no idea why the Current MFO screwed her up with a wheel, I'd revert to tiller in a second.

Because a tiller takes more space in the cockpit: Nope, it takes a different kind of space. The wheel takes a lot of space, it just runs across the boat rather than along the centerline. As a result, it's so hard to get outboard that folks are building broad-assed cruising boats with two wheels! It is also so hard to move fore-n-aft that folks put two wheels in to make a walkway through the cockpit, now isn't that a pretty expensive and heavy solution when a stick of wood or two work do just fine?

Because it whacks you in the privates when moving astern: Well, on my Moore-24 (and on the Santa Cruz 27, 40, Olson 30) one can spin the rudder all the way around so when moving astern it is facing the correct direction. This is really helpful when sculling the boat around with the rudder, but also solves the "whack in the privates" problem. I must admit not having a lot of sympathy for someone who stops steering while moving astern at high speeds.... just saying.... no offense.

Access to winches: Almost every design I've seen has vastly better access to winches while sailing from a tiller than from a wheel. If the winches on a boat with a wheel are within easy reach of the person at the helm, then they are probably aft of the wheel and out of reach of the rest of the crew unless the wheel is mounted at the front of the cockpit. Putting a wheel in the front of the cockpit is putting a big barrier running across the cockpit between the cabin and the seats, not popular at all.

Keeping the MFO out of the stern: A tiller generally moves the helms person forward, getting the MFO out of the stern of the boat and keeping the weight forward, a good thing in most boats. It also generally allows for end-boom sheeting aft of the cockpit and crew, another good thing as that requires a lot less purchase and reduction due to the longer lever of the entire boom.

The binnacle is a nice place for instruments: With all due respect the instruments should be up on the mast where the entire crew can see them. The compasses (and there should be two) should be on the back edge of the house for the same reason. Having the helms person as the only one who can see the instruments is a big mistake for a couple of reasons. I can't tell you how many times someone will say: "Did you notice that the water depth has dropped 20' in the last few seconds? You sure we're in the right place?" Or: "Is there some reason we're sailing by the lee all the time?" The helms person is supposed to be sailing, typically by looking at the waves and tell tales on the headsail. Leave the task of reading instruments to the Naviguesser, or if you're only cruising at least put the instruments where folks in the crew can actually help out and be entertained as opposed to where only the helm can see 'em.

Finally, one needs to look at boats where the cockpit was designed for a tiller, not at boats where the designer was told "Folks want a wheel" and started from there. In the video posted above you can see that the person on the helm can steer with their hands or butt, reach both sets of winches and the traveler from a comfortable standing position in the center of the boat. But, that boat was designed for a tiller.

My personal favorite reason for having a tiller is that you can simply feel what the boat is doing much more accurately and respond much more quickly. Pulling the tiller hard over takes about one second while spinning the wheel takes two or three; that can be the difference between a broach and a fun ride down a wave. That and by pushing the tiller up to vertical it is utterly and entirely out of the way and becomes a single vertical stick rotating around its axis, as opposed to a wheel spinning back and forth catching the hands of those silly enough to reach through it.

BV


Jeez, I truly think you must be retarded, whoops, cough, cough, I mean retired.

#110 Bob Perry

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Posted 24 September 2012 - 11:46 PM

Boomer:
Yes, the Dan Brink I remember was lawyer. He was a very good racer.

#111 Jon Eisberg

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Posted 24 September 2012 - 11:53 PM


My primary reason for using a tiller is Butt Steering. See the attached video here for an example of a gybe aboard S'agapo in which the three of us are having a nice calm light-wind race down the coast of California. Try doing what the helmsman is doing with a wheel. It's not possible. In the same boat with a wheel you'd be carrying an additional 180 pound crew member to perform the same jobs, in addition to the added weight and complexity of the steering cables, binnacle, etc... and inherent lower reliability.

As to some of the other points made earlier:

Because people drive cars with wheels: Yup, aircraft designers have gone to great length to put wheels in the cockpits of planes because people understand them even though any taildragger pilot worth his salt will only fly with a stick between his legs. (I didn't really mean that the way it sounded.) Planes with wheels vs sticks (have exactly the same argument with almost all the same "points", except no butt steering.)

Because your neck hurts with a tiller: Doh! turn your body. Geesh, it is trivial to steer facing forward with a tiller or tiller extension. I've had to re-train a few skippers I naviguess for, but it only takes five minutes to get them to face forward some of the time. Guys get sore neck sitting sideways at the wheel too. You also get the MOF's (Mighty Fine Owner) fat ass further to windward with a tiller in general because they aren't standing up in the middle of the boat trying to sail where they can't see the tell tales.

Because you need more gear reduction that an tiller can give you: Nope, you need a better rudder! The wheel is fixing the wrong problem. If a yacht designer give you a boat that you can't steer with a 5' long tiller, you need a different yacht designer. I sailed aboard RAGTIME when she had a tiller and we called it the Whale Cock. It was terrible. That had nothing whatsoever to do with the tiller and everything to do with folks in that era not understanding how to do a good balanced spade rudder. I've no idea why the Current MFO screwed her up with a wheel, I'd revert to tiller in a second.

Because a tiller takes more space in the cockpit: Nope, it takes a different kind of space. The wheel takes a lot of space, it just runs across the boat rather than along the centerline. As a result, it's so hard to get outboard that folks are building broad-assed cruising boats with two wheels! It is also so hard to move fore-n-aft that folks put two wheels in to make a walkway through the cockpit, now isn't that a pretty expensive and heavy solution when a stick of wood or two work do just fine?

Because it whacks you in the privates when moving astern: Well, on my Moore-24 (and on the Santa Cruz 27, 40, Olson 30) one can spin the rudder all the way around so when moving astern it is facing the correct direction. This is really helpful when sculling the boat around with the rudder, but also solves the "whack in the privates" problem. I must admit not having a lot of sympathy for someone who stops steering while moving astern at high speeds.... just saying.... no offense.

Access to winches: Almost every design I've seen has vastly better access to winches while sailing from a tiller than from a wheel. If the winches on a boat with a wheel are within easy reach of the person at the helm, then they are probably aft of the wheel and out of reach of the rest of the crew unless the wheel is mounted at the front of the cockpit. Putting a wheel in the front of the cockpit is putting a big barrier running across the cockpit between the cabin and the seats, not popular at all.

Keeping the MFO out of the stern: A tiller generally moves the helms person forward, getting the MFO out of the stern of the boat and keeping the weight forward, a good thing in most boats. It also generally allows for end-boom sheeting aft of the cockpit and crew, another good thing as that requires a lot less purchase and reduction due to the longer lever of the entire boom.

The binnacle is a nice place for instruments: With all due respect the instruments should be up on the mast where the entire crew can see them. The compasses (and there should be two) should be on the back edge of the house for the same reason. Having the helms person as the only one who can see the instruments is a big mistake for a couple of reasons. I can't tell you how many times someone will say: "Did you notice that the water depth has dropped 20' in the last few seconds? You sure we're in the right place?" Or: "Is there some reason we're sailing by the lee all the time?" The helms person is supposed to be sailing, typically by looking at the waves and tell tales on the headsail. Leave the task of reading instruments to the Naviguesser, or if you're only cruising at least put the instruments where folks in the crew can actually help out and be entertained as opposed to where only the helm can see 'em.

Finally, one needs to look at boats where the cockpit was designed for a tiller, not at boats where the designer was told "Folks want a wheel" and started from there. In the video posted above you can see that the person on the helm can steer with their hands or butt, reach both sets of winches and the traveler from a comfortable standing position in the center of the boat. But, that boat was designed for a tiller.

My personal favorite reason for having a tiller is that you can simply feel what the boat is doing much more accurately and respond much more quickly. Pulling the tiller hard over takes about one second while spinning the wheel takes two or three; that can be the difference between a broach and a fun ride down a wave. That and by pushing the tiller up to vertical it is utterly and entirely out of the way and becomes a single vertical stick rotating around its axis, as opposed to a wheel spinning back and forth catching the hands of those silly enough to reach through it.

BV


Jeez, I truly think you must be retarded, whoops, cough, cough, I mean retired.


Got any pics of REBECCA to share yet?

#112 Weyalan

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Posted 25 September 2012 - 12:32 AM

Different strokes. Pros and cons to both (as has already been stated).

For me (with a similar style boat to theoriginal poster), I still prefer tiller. The single most compelling reason, for me, is the ability to steer adequately with the tiller between the knees, leaving both hands free for other jobs. This is particulary useful for, say, jibing a big spinnaker short handed - you can steer, jibe the main, ease the pole forward and drop the pole down while your crew does "the rest". You can also give your full attention to a bowl of hot chow and a spoon.

#113 Ishmael

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Posted 25 September 2012 - 12:34 AM

Different strokes. Pros and cons to both (as has already been stated).

For me (with a similar style boat to theoriginal poster), I still prefer tiller. The single most compelling reason, for me, is the ability to steer adequately with the tiller between the knees, leaving both hands free for other jobs. This is particulary useful for, say, jibing a big spinnaker short handed - you can steer, jibe the main, ease the pole forward and drop the pole down while your crew does "the rest". You can also give your full attention to a bowl of hot chow and a spoon.


That must be interesting to watch in big wind.

#114 boomer

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Posted 25 September 2012 - 01:03 AM

I've done it single handed in about 15 or less,but prefer 12 or less,and wouldn't jibe a kite in bigger wind unless I've got at least one crew...

But there are sailors that do....I took enough thrilling risks doing other hobbies,figured no need to push my luck sailing.

Dan on Great White probably jibes his kite singlehanded in bigger wind then I do.

#115 Great White

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Posted 25 September 2012 - 01:16 AM

I've done it single handed in about 15 or less,but prefer 12 or less,and wouldn't jibe a kite in bigger wind unless I've got at least one crew...

Dan on Great White probably jibes his kite singlehanded in bigger wind then I do.

I have pulled off some jibes instrong winds, but don't have any pics to prove it.

I do have this one in 10 knots, but I am cheating since I have the autopilot on the TILLER. It becomes a bit more sporty when racing rules won't allow me to use the autopilot.


And another one, also cheating with the AP:

http://www.youtube.c...BQ&feature=plcp

#116 Jose Carumba

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Posted 25 September 2012 - 01:25 AM

Nice.

#117 boomer

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Posted 25 September 2012 - 01:45 AM

Nicely done Dan! I need to get one of those GoPros....

#118 Great White

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Posted 25 September 2012 - 02:15 AM

Nicely done Dan! I need to get one of those GoPros....

The first vid is actually my little Flip Camcorder hard mounted on the stern rail. The second is the GoPro mounted on my Redneck Engineering DIY :) levelling mount. I have fine tuned the dampening on the mount since then and it does a much better job. The wide angle of the GoPro shows a lot more of what is going on at the expense of the distortion.

There are many more onboard vids on my YouTube Channel.

#119 boomer

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Posted 25 September 2012 - 02:45 AM

Would you mind posting a pic of your DIY mount? So we can get a little insight on mounting one.

#120 Great White

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Posted 25 September 2012 - 02:53 AM

Would you mind posting a pic of your DIY mount? So we can get a little insight on mounting one.

EDIT
I don't have any stills of the mount, but I do have a video early in th development. I have since shortened the lever arm and increased the weight, made the weight position adjustable and changed the dampening to make it adjustable. It clamps to the stern rail with ubolts.

I do have some video of it in operation, but have not downloadedd it yet.

Here it is:
http://www.youtube.c...F4&feature=plcp

#121 boomer

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Posted 25 September 2012 - 03:20 AM

Cool ! Do the weight's come with the mounting kit? Weight dampening,just like the steady cams.

#122 Great White

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Posted 25 September 2012 - 03:33 AM

Cool ! Do the weight's come with the mounting kit? Weight dampening,just like the steady cams.

Almost everything you see is DIY. The weights are a 3" zinc anode button and some lead fishing weights. The gimbel is mostly CPV piping parts with some formed aluminum bar. The dampeners are stacks of nylon and rubber gaskets compressed with nylock nuts. Most of the parts were scrap material that I found in my shop.

#123 boomer

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Posted 25 September 2012 - 04:38 AM

Thanks for the vid Dan....now I see what I've got to do...Looks fairly easy to make...I like it!

#124 hobot

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Posted 25 September 2012 - 05:37 AM


I've done it single handed in about 15 or less,but prefer 12 or less,and wouldn't jibe a kite in bigger wind unless I've got at least one crew...

Dan on Great White probably jibes his kite singlehanded in bigger wind then I do.

I have pulled off some jibes instrong winds, but don't have any pics to prove it.

I do have this one in 10 knots, but I am cheating since I have the autopilot on the TILLER. It becomes a bit more sporty when racing rules won't allow me to use the autopilot.


And another one, also cheating with the AP:

http://www.youtube.c...BQ&feature=plcp


Golf_f**king_clap!!

#125 Beau.Vrolyk

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Posted 27 September 2012 - 04:22 PM

GreatWhite-

Nice gybing dude!!

BV

#126 Joli

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Posted 27 September 2012 - 06:40 PM

Nice job Great White. Curious though, why dip instead of end for end? You're using lazy sheets and guys so the pole can be unloaded.

#127 Bob Perry

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Posted 27 September 2012 - 09:22 PM

Let's see,,,end for end while single handing?

#128 Veeger

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Posted 27 September 2012 - 10:15 PM

I was 'trained' out of white socks waaay back in high school. Not gonna repeat that one! Sandals and slippers don't get socks but boat shoes, yeah, well, to quote a hero of mine, "I yam whut I yam!" (Besides, no socks = stinky shoes and they end up in my cabin eventually and, uh, I gotta breathe man!!)

#129 Great White

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Posted 27 September 2012 - 10:55 PM

Nice job Great White. Curious though, why dip instead of end for end? You're using lazy sheets and guys so the pole can be unloaded.

You are right, most of the local J35's and similar size boats end for end.

That was the way that the boat was rigged when I bought it. To end for end, I would need a new pole and I would have to change the mast car to a ring(it is a toggle now). May not seem like much to some, but it is an expense that I have not under taken.

When I ask the racing crew about changing, they say that they are used to dipping and really don't see the need to change. We have gotten pretty innovative about how we jibe and especially our reach-to-reach jibes are very smooth.

I always consider the dip pole jibe as a "thinking man's jibe".

#130 Joli

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Posted 28 September 2012 - 12:51 PM

Sure, GreatWhite is free flying the kite on the sheets while the guys are unloaded. The reason I like end for end is you don't have to mess with the pole lift or go to the bow to switch guys but whatever people are used to.

On Joli we dip.

Posted Image

Let's see,,,end for end while single handing?



#131 Anomaly2

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Posted 29 September 2012 - 02:27 PM

Tiller. Reason 23b-- I get to install a deck prism.

Reason 23a (mentioned earlier) was that I got to sell off all the stuff that goes with the wheel steering setup. Reason 23b involves the fact that after you sell off the pedastal, you have a rather large hole in your cockpit sole. What to do about that hole?

Fill it with a deck prism!

Attached Files



#132 deluxe68

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Posted 29 September 2012 - 07:17 PM

Back in the 90's my wife and I started out by going to a weekend class on a J80 at J-World in San Diego. My wife hated the tiller and never got used to the backwards steering, the instructor said that she was typical of all the women going thru the classes there.

#133 Beau.Vrolyk

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Posted 30 September 2012 - 04:17 PM

Delux,

WOOOO HOOOOO, I'm not saying anything that 'round my Admiral. BTW, a great way to "teach" folks how to drive with a tiller is to stop talking to them and just let them steer the boat. I've done it with a LOT of people and talking actually makes it worse. If they just get the tiller in their hand and have to drive the boat around things for an hour under power they won't have a problem at all.

This "It's backwards" nonsense is really a stupid argument, IMHO. Does every person who buys an outboard motor get a lecture about how to steer when using the tiller on the motor on a small fishing boat??!! Geeesh, of course they don't. They get in start the motor and go fishing. Tiny children, and YES even Women, manage to drive boats with outboard motors. Why are we "sailors" so special and so stupid that we can't drive with a tiller. I guess all those crackers who go fishing are smarter than we are.

Ok, Rant off, I'm headed back out on the water now.

BV

#134 Cavelamb

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Posted 30 September 2012 - 04:31 PM

Delux,

WOOOO HOOOOO, I'm not saying anything that 'round my Admiral. BTW, a great way to "teach" folks how to drive with a tiller is to stop talking to them and just let them steer the boat. I've done it with a LOT of people and talking actually makes it worse. If they just get the tiller in their hand and have to drive the boat around things for an hour under power they won't have a problem at all.

This "It's backwards" nonsense is really a stupid argument, IMHO. Does every person who buys an outboard motor get a lecture about how to steer when using the tiller on the motor on a small fishing boat??!! Geeesh, of course they don't. They get in start the motor and go fishing. Tiny children, and YES even Women, manage to drive boats with outboard motors. Why are we "sailors" so special and so stupid that we can't drive with a tiller. I guess all those crackers who go fishing are smarter than we are.

Ok, Rant off, I'm headed back out on the water now.

BV


That's actually a pretty good rant, BV.

I've been teaching ASA 101/102 classes and run into the "backwards" issue often.
And not just with women either.

Two things that have worked for me...

One, start with the outboard and let them see the motor "pushing" the stern side to side (turning).

The other is describing a line running through the rudder and the bow of the boat.
When the rudder is moved, the line "curves", rudder this way, bow the other.

Then, just be patient with them and let them practice.
Within an hour or two everybody has it figured out for themselves... :)

Richard

#135 floating dutchman

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Posted 30 September 2012 - 08:13 PM

I've found that woman usuall pick up how to use a tiller faster than men.

+1 for giving the newb the tiller, once they can keep the boat in a straight line (about 15 seconds) walk away and leave them to it.

#136 Jon Eisberg

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Posted 01 October 2012 - 01:28 AM

Speaking of "backwards", how about Etap's Vertical Steering system?

Gee, that helm seat looks comfy, no?

Posted Image

#137 Bob Perry

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Posted 01 October 2012 - 02:04 AM

That is plain wrong and I don't care how well it works.
The seat looks like it was designed for a ten year old.

#138 Ishmael

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Posted 01 October 2012 - 04:41 AM

Speaking of "backwards", how about Etap's Vertical Steering system?

Gee, that helm seat looks comfy, no?

Posted Image


And a tiller extension that works backwards from real tiller extensions. That would take some getting used to.
I love the ad copy...

The steering of the sailing yacht can be realized by means of an ergonomically profiled helm that moves in a athwartships vertical plane.



#139 Jose Carumba

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Posted 01 October 2012 - 03:30 PM

Hell, I grew up on tiller steered outboards. When I went to get my drivers license I kept turning the wheel the wrong way and crashing. After several cars I got used to it though... ;)

#140 Tucky

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Posted 01 October 2012 - 03:37 PM

Spent some time on my brother's twin jet drive powerboat this last week (thread on going south which see). Steers normally in forward but in reverse the buckets drop in a way that reverses the steering, meaning the only way I could remember how to steer in reverse was to turn my body around to face aft and grab the bottom of the wheel and treat it like it was the top.

This on a boat that goes about 6 knots in idle forward and about the same in reverse and has no real idle unless you pop the clutches on the jets (and only one jet's clutch could be popped electrically from the helm due to a water drip). Holding position in the Inland Waterway for bridge openings was an a bit exciting for me- having people look at you while a big light blue 50' powerboat spins in circles was interesting, but at least it would spin in one place.

Made me wish for a tiller, even the old whipstaff yacht club launches had on one side.

#141 SailAR

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Posted 01 October 2012 - 04:23 PM

Spent some time on my brother's twin jet drive powerboat this last week (thread on going south which see). Steers normally in forward but in reverse the buckets drop in a way that reverses the steering, meaning the only way I could remember how to steer in reverse was to turn my body around to face aft and grab the bottom of the wheel and treat it like it was the top.

This on a boat that goes about 6 knots in idle forward and about the same in reverse and has no real idle unless you pop the clutches on the jets (and only one jet's clutch could be popped electrically from the helm due to a water drip). Holding position in the Inland Waterway for bridge openings was an a bit exciting for me- having people look at you while a big light blue 50' powerboat spins in circles was interesting, but at least it would spin in one place.

Made me wish for a tiller, even the old whipstaff yacht club launches had on one side.


There's a Little Harbor Whisperjet in Rowayton, CT for sale. They converted it from 3 jets to 2 fixed shafts, removing one 440hp Yanmar. It was apparently uncontrollable at low speed and had bounced off more a than few things in its day. There's another one in our club mooring field with the Hinckley joystick. At the start of the Vineyard race a few years ago, he had a "software malfunction" and bounced off of Bell 32 a few times... Think I'll keep avoiding the jet drives.

The launch tillers are fun. Our hinckley launches have them... never had a software mafulnction with them!

#142 bert s

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Posted 04 October 2012 - 10:04 PM

Upon launching a twin jet fish boate for the first time and backing out of the travel lift slip, we went into a near death spiral until someone figger'd out the helm was plumbed backwards. Lots of big eyes on the nearby yachts!

#143 demacsea

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Posted 06 October 2012 - 07:25 AM

It's a fashion thing, nothing more; it's certainly not for any pragmatic reasons.
Have you noticed how wheel-steered sailboats have emergency tillers? I've never seen a tiller-steered sailboat with an emergency wheel. Tell's you something, doesn't it? Here's a few more compelling tiller versus wheel arguments....

#144 SayGudday

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Posted 07 October 2012 - 02:09 AM

I enjoy tiller steering with my sportboat, but there is something about being able to sit in the far corner of a boat and just have your fingertips on the wheel in a nice displacement keel boat.

I also think in a cruising environment, a mid cockpit tiller skipper blocks off more space than a back-of-cockpit wheel skipper takes.


Hmm, not sure I agree completely. I have spent a lot of time steering my tiller from standing on the transom . Admittedly that's not 'normal' for most people but it's one of my favorite places to steer from. Not saying that we should all start this as a new fad, just making the point that the tiller doesn't always need to be handled that way. You can often sit far back in the cockpit and steer just fine. At least on my little boat, anyway.

#145 JBE

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Posted 07 October 2012 - 09:01 PM

It's a fashion thing, nothing more; it's certainly not for any pragmatic reasons.
Have you noticed how wheel-steered sailboats have emergency tillers? I've never seen a tiller-steered sailboat with an emergency wheel. Tell's you something, doesn't it? Here's a few more compelling tiller versus wheel arguments....


  • can't be geared down to make high steering loads manageable

a small point. I've come across a couple boats with ' excessive weather helm' over the years and they were fixed by lengthening the tiller ( which of course is the same as gearing down a wheel)

#146 Heavy Metal

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Posted 08 October 2012 - 03:42 AM


It's a fashion thing, nothing more; it's certainly not for any pragmatic reasons.
Have you noticed how wheel-steered sailboats have emergency tillers? I've never seen a tiller-steered sailboat with an emergency wheel. Tell's you something, doesn't it? Here's a few more compelling tiller versus wheel arguments....


  • can't be geared down to make high steering loads manageable

a small point. I've come across a couple boats with ' excessive weather helm' over the years and they were fixed by lengthening the tiller ( which of course is the same as gearing down a wheel)


I trust you eased the sheets first :P

#147 JBE

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Posted 08 October 2012 - 07:05 PM

Heh, yeah.

No they weren't my boats ,and lengthening the tiller was the idea of one of our local( and well repected) yacht designers as a retro fix. As far as I know it mitigated the problem on a pretty hard mouthed design.

#148 Cavelamb

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Posted 09 October 2012 - 03:43 AM

Same experience here. I spend a couple of days sailing a Pearson 385 this summer. Not my absolute first time on a wheel, but you wouldn't have know it. I'll stick with the stick. (Courtney, have you considered this one? Center cockpit, roomy)


Oooh, no I hadn't. Only one for sale on YW, though, and it's a lot of cash-o-lah. But I'll add it to the list, not a bad looking boat and so comfy!

Guys, I breezed this thread and didn't see anyone mention how to heave to with a wheel. My Islander heaves to well with a tiller, I just let the tiller free with the main let out just a tad. How would you heave to with a wheel?



Only time I've ever hove-to was in a Catalina 27 for the class.

How often have you really done that, Courtney?

#149 Ishmael

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Posted 09 October 2012 - 02:30 PM


Same experience here. I spend a couple of days sailing a Pearson 385 this summer. Not my absolute first time on a wheel, but you wouldn't have know it. I'll stick with the stick. (Courtney, have you considered this one? Center cockpit, roomy)


Oooh, no I hadn't. Only one for sale on YW, though, and it's a lot of cash-o-lah. But I'll add it to the list, not a bad looking boat and so comfy!

Guys, I breezed this thread and didn't see anyone mention how to heave to with a wheel. My Islander heaves to well with a tiller, I just let the tiller free with the main let out just a tad. How would you heave to with a wheel?



Only time I've ever hove-to was in a Catalina 27 for the class.

How often have you really done that, Courtney?

I heave to all the time, for a bit of relief in heavier weather, lunchmaking when I don't want to go much of anywhere, pee breaks, and to avoid getting too close to pods of orcas. Main out, wheel driving up (same as tiller down), jib counteracts and drives off, repeat. PShift heaves to really well. I haven't had a boat that would't heave to, tiller or wheel.

#150 Courtney K

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Posted 09 October 2012 - 04:04 PM

Only time I've ever hove-to was in a Catalina 27 for the class.

How often have you really done that, Courtney?


I hoved to once in July, as I was waiting for slack tide through Agate Pass, on my way to Port Madison for the night. Since I was planning on single-handing up to the San Juans, I figured it was time to learn this little maneuver. Safety first is my rule. I had my 150 genoa up, and tried backwinding, but that sail was way too big, so I dropped it. Went below deck to grab my How To sailing book (yes, I'm that much of a nerd) went back into the cockpit and read up, and decided to hove to under just the main. My boat preferred to have the tiller free, not lashed down amidship. It worked wonderfully, I bobbed about in some good wind (felt like I was wasting it, though) at less than one knot.

#151 Joli

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Posted 10 October 2012 - 11:43 AM

I like the tiller for starts especially, it's just easier to put the boat where you want because rudder movement is faster. For starts, I prefered standing on the side deck or seat to better see how things were stacking up. Downwind in a breeze with waves and the kite up, the wheel is more comfortable, again being able to stand makes it easier see the line. After a few miles on either there is no transition from one to the other.

#152 Jim in Halifax

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Posted 10 October 2012 - 11:54 AM

My last boat (27') had a tiller and I really loved sailing that way - so plugged into the boat, feeling everything. My current boat (37') has a wheel. Took a bit of getting used to, especially the exagerated movements when rounding up to the mooring. This spring I had a chance to sail my old boat - a sistership actually. Now I am glad I have a wheel on my current boat. For me, its kinda like standard vs automatic transmissions on cars; I still argue that standard transmission give more control and is more fun. But now I drive an automatic. Getting old and lazy.




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