View Full Version : outboard tiller question

03-17-2011, 10:27 AM
is it possible to move the tiller of an outboard further left? i'd like to sit right in front of the engine and control it. i know it's possible to get a tiller extender, but i've never heard of any modification that would allow me to do this. have any of you? thanks.

03-17-2011, 12:16 PM
I suspect it would be easier and cheaper to go for remote cable steering - you might be able to pick up a used set on Craigslist.

Tell us more about the boat, outboard, and setup in the boat.

wizbang 13
03-17-2011, 12:39 PM
I've seen some new OBs that have the tiller coming out the center.
I believe the correct place though, is to sit on the stbd side, left arm(elbow DOWN) on handle. Has to do with saftey in a high speed turn/ right hand prop.
Peeve of mine, folks sitting on port side, in a hard right turn,the tiller handle will hit ones right hip.
Seeing an elbow up helmsman inspires the same kind of confidence as a bright orange cheap PFD.

03-17-2011, 01:32 PM
i'm thinking of building iain oughtred's "puffin". it comes in 10' 2.5" and 10' 10" versions. I have no idea if one length would have any advantage over the other. I saw a drawing drawn to scale. The beam was listed as 48". with a ruler and some algebra, i figured the width of the transom to be 36". I'm a small guy at 5' 6", but even so, i don't know if it will be comfortable to sit to the right of an outboard on this boat and operate the outboard. I don't like the idea of having to sit askew, at a 45 degree angle to the motor.


1. any thoughts on the shorter vs. longer version of the boat?

2. thoughts on the width of the transom?

3. thoughts on similar designs (which are also aesthetically pleasing) that might fit the bill better?


03-17-2011, 01:44 PM
We are kind of backing into this one.

Tell us more: What will you use it for, how transported & stored, size of outboard, use with oars and sail, or just outboard, etc ???

Boats designed to row easily may not take an outboard at all, or only a very small one, and may not handle well under power. If you want a skiff for outboard-only use, get one designed for that.

Most small boats need a tiller extension to avoid having all the weight PLUS the downward thrust of the outboard concentrated in the last 2' of the boat. Only if you have crew or heavy cargo in a small boat will you be able to sit right back with the outboard.

http://www.cabelas.com/product/Boating/Boating-Outboards-Accessories/Boat-Steering|/pc/104794380/c/104752980/sc/104602680/HelmsMate8482-Tiller-Motor-Extension-Handles/699658.uts?destination=%2Fcatalog%2Fbrowse%2Fboati ng-boating-outboards-accessories-boat-steering%2F_%2FN-1100540%2FNs-CATEGORY_SEQ_104602680%3FWTz_l%3DSBC%253Bcat104794 380%253Bcat104752980&WTz_l=SBC%3Bcat104794380%3Bcat104752980%3Bcat10460 2680

03-17-2011, 02:06 PM
What Thorne said. The few inches LOA diff your talking about isnt gonna change much relevant to where you sit and operate. Even in a boat twice the size, you'd have the same issues: sit aft or use a tiller extension or install a wheel.


03-17-2011, 02:21 PM
i'll be using the boat mainly w/ a small outboard, and oars as a backup. i want to use it for these purposes:

transporting myself and a lady to an island for picnics

transporting myself and one or two others + camping gear to islands

trolling with an electric trolling motor

being able to resist currents in near-shore areas of long island sound (i'm not sure what size outboard i'll need to do this. i'm guessing 5-10 hp)

i won't be zipping around really quickly in it.

thanks for your quick replies so far.

also, regarding cables: are there such systems that allow for throttle adjustment as well?

03-17-2011, 02:29 PM
also, regarding cables: are there such systems that allow for throttle adjustment as well?

yes, remote throttles are available. And while "anything" can be rigged if your inclined, you will find that the very smallest motors dont always have the built-in ability to be converted to remote operation. Plus, in a ten foot boat, I'll just say that, for me, going to remote controls would take up too much space, complexity and money. My opinion, for your consideration.


03-17-2011, 02:38 PM
i think what i need is a boat with a wider transom than the puffin. i was attracted to this boat for its light weight. i like the idea of being able to load it onto my car with one or two other people, rather than being committed to having to use a trailer on 5+ hour rides.

John B
03-17-2011, 03:18 PM
Put the whole outboard out to port. Won't make any difference to the performance at that size and you'll have less visits to the chiro.

03-17-2011, 03:38 PM
Cartopped? ARRRGH!


Listen, a boat large enough to take 3 people, their camping gear and an outboard across Long Island Sound will be too big and heavy to cartop. We get these requests constantly, which is why the frustration, as we go through the below process nearly every time.

Most of us use trailers even for boats that might be cartopped for a number of reasons:

1. Storage. Presumably it won't live on the car, so where and how will you store it? Unless hoisted up into the rafters, you can store most small boats more easily on their trailers -- which can be rolled around to access gear or the storage space.

2. Loading/unloading. Unless you are built like Der Previous Gubernator ob Kali-fornia, you may find loading / unloading a chore in windy conditions, particularly when sailing solo. Any slips or mistakes are instant damage to the boat, car or both.

3. Boat size. Something large enough to handle 3 crew with gear in any bad weather or large powerboat swells will be too large to cartop comfortably, and launching won't be much fun either. Trailer launching is easy, safe and fast, plus gear can ride in the boat instead of in or on the car.

I'd guess that you'll want a skiff designed for an outboard, which won't row well but you'll be able to get around under oars. Probably 12-14' long with some built-in flotation since you'll be out on the Sound. There are a number of boats meeting those specs, so take a look and let us know more what you are looking for.

03-17-2011, 05:57 PM
cool beans, guys! thanks for all of your advice.