for brief moments of self-steering:
an overview of suggestions from our best W cruisers
updated: 26 June 2016
I am trying to find the advice that one of you guys? sent me – a system to hold the tiller briefly in place while I do other things while sailing solo. Any ideas for me?
Uncle Al W3854
From: KEN-Krist. H. Jensen
Several ideas - just back from Norway sailing W3822 and also the advanced W10390 having sideways adjustable tiller-system, and also silent El-engine via battery being charged/supplied by solar-panels on the frontdecks.
W1348 has a shock-cord
hooked on the tiller (a system about 60 years old for
me). Steering adjustment by using the
tiller-extension/leaning to adjust vessel's waterline,
trimming down to get smaller, roller-reefed mainsail
only and CB-setting for 3 -4 knots of trolling speed
Do not fall in if solo or you may need your floating VHF as the W sails away to leave you behind !
All the best. Ken the older
has a family-tiller just reaching to the
forward(cockpit) side of our aft bulkhead making a
roomier area aft of the
centre-thwart, when we W-camp-cruised with
Grand-Ma plus 4. The
slacker position will allow "ready
about" and going about to establish a new heading.
by CB and/or heeling + roll tacking !
K. the older
W1348 has a family-tiller just reaching to the forward(cockpit) side of our aft bulkhead making a roomier area aft of the centre-thwart, when we W-camp-cruised with Grand-Ma plus 4.
The slacker position will allow "ready about" and going about to establish a new heading. Sometimes assisted by CB and/or heeling + roll tacking !
K. the older
Have a bungee cord across the aft bulkhead. Grab it in the middle, twist it once (180°) and hook the loop over the tiller's end. The joystick's hinge will prevent the cord from sliding aft. With a little tension the bungee cord has just enough grip to hold the tiller more or less steady but if you move the tiller by hand, the cord will slide to a new position.
Ton's is the system I worked from, making the slight change of creating a permanent loop by
having the two loose ends overlap and held in place with whipping line seizings as can be seen above.
In my case the cord is a loop. The the bottom part of the loop is used to pull up the aft end of my hiking straps, making it easy to slide my feet under it. The cord also doubles as a storage place for sail binders and sometimes I stick stuff behind it to prevent it from blowing away (e.g. sail bags).
The set-up allows me to set and retrieve the Spinnaker when sailing single-handed, on a broad reach with three sails set. Yes, I know, it is a show off, but fun never the less. Obviously I perform this trick in light winds only. (Al's note: Ah, Ton! You are truly a guy after my own heart!! Though I don't want the hiking straps lifted lest I trip over them during a show-off roll tack.)
Hope this helps.
From: Allan Parry
I found that having a large black Labrador sit in the way of the tiller worked pretty well , for a while. Unfortunately, he had no comprehension of the necessity to tack or gybe. This was inconvenient, and it was made even worse by his propensity to sit on the mainsheet. We had some very exciting Wayfarer moments with Charlie.
From: Richard Harrington
Al....I've employed the shockcord method for many years in various forms. In moderate conditions it works well is and is the optimum in simplicity. I've had heavier cords with more initial tension and lighter duty types, all set up pretty much as the others have described. Since the main idea is to prevent the tiller from quickly heading off to leeward and rounding up the boat, there is usually a two step process; which is to grab the cord and drop it over the end of the tiller and then when convenient tweak the tiller with a little shove or two one way or the other as needed to get back on course. So there's a kind of optimum point in cord diameter and tension that allows easy slip and adjustment. I'm currently using a 3/16" dia. cord doubled back upon its self which makes two cords in tandem over the end of tiller. (The old piece was shot and at the time this was what was handy.) I actually think this works better than the single cord.
From: T M Graefe
I am adding Tom Erickson, as I think he has an actual ‘tiller tamer’ installed.
Let me know if you’d like me to send a picture.
I used to have a "TillerTamer". Line from each side which ran through a pulley mounted near the end of the tiller with an adjustable tension knob. Worked well but what I didn't like was the fixed line blocking the front to the rear compartment (my favorite spot for lazy day sailing). Went to the shock cord method. Works just as well One loop over the tiller holds it in place but loose enough to adjust.
Tom E. W275