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Thread: Longer Tiller? Oar Steering

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
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    Default Longer Tiller? Oar Steering

    I sailed my Dion Dory again today in more breeze. It is very stable heeled over and very responsive. Breeze was SSW F4, puffy. I thought I wanted a longer tiller or an extension, as I'm sitting on the floorboards and reaching back. While tacking into the inlet, a puff hit, the boat rounded up a bit, I pulled on the tiller and it snapped like a twig, right at the rudder. The boat heaves to naturally, so I just let it. I made sure the anchor was ready, unshipped the rudder and tried steering with an oar in the transom notch. Not easy, tacking into an inlet with traffic, shifty wind and tide eddies requires better. I tried the oar in an oarlock, still iffy. So I shipped the rudder (fun) and lashed an oar to the head. Acceptable. Now the question: How long to make the tiller? I'm tempted to bring it to my sternum while seated on the bottom. That would be way too long for steering from the sternsheets, and I'm not sure it raises enough to go over my head. Of course, better too long than too short, as I can cut it down.
    What works for you? (Especially Dory Sailors.)

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    New Hampshire
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    1,232

    Default Re: Longer Tiller? Oar Steering

    Dory's can be tough with the reversed transom. The problem is getting full range of the rudder without having to go to the lee side. As an example, I, as a performance sailor, enjoy longer tillers so I can sit forward for upwind performance but then they can make hard-over a chore with bodily excursions to the lee side. Extensions with non-wobbly junctions are very helpful and precise. Push-Pull also solves this problem, depending on how you feel about them (I can be ambivalent about push-pull depending on the boat) but in this case they are a nice solution.

    Are you interested in joining us at the SRR with this very sweet dory of yours? You would be most welcome. Long drive, I know.

  3. #3
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    Dec 2003
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    Default Re: Longer Tiller? Oar Steering

    Thanks Call. I'm not too worried about the arc, as she turns quickly with just a bit of helm.
    I hadn't any plans of going to the SRR, my wife had hoped to go to Delaware, but that may be off. I'll keep it in mind.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Longer Tiller? Oar Steering

    I decided to replace the tiller today. I was poking around the basement/garage looking at teak, walnut, searching for a locust stick I know is down there. I was also thinking of just using a tool handle to test for length. Then my eyes fell on the stack of mismatched oars in the corner. I picked out a dense one, cut the edges off the blade, sanded and varnished it. It fit snugly into the rudder head, is longer than the old tiller, and already shaped.
    So I really will be steering with an oar!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2006
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    Ballard
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    7,501

    Default Re: Longer Tiller? Oar Steering

    Norwegian push pull tiller shall be your salvation.
    Quote Originally Posted by James McMullen View Post
    Yeadon is right, of course.

  6. #6
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    Dec 2003
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    Default Re: Longer Tiller? Oar Steering

    Perhaps in time. Generally I don't modify a new boat much, giving myself time to learn her ways. I would not have replaced the tiller yet had it not broken.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
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    Default Re: Longer Tiller? Oar Steering

    You could make a tiller that can slide through the rudder head so you can adjust the length as needed. I had this on my Elver canoe yawl and it was rather handy. You obviously need some stops to keep from losing it completely.

    Brian

  8. #8
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    Dec 2003
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    Default Re: Longer Tiller? Oar Steering

    Thanks. There is some room on this, could be more if I plane it. I am not fastening it to the rudder head. I'll just put a lashing on the aft end.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2000
    Location
    Cushing, Maine
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    Default Re: Longer Tiller? Oar Steering

    The typical 20th century solution to this is a tiller extension which works just fine. The 19th century solution was to have a dory mate. Rare it would be to solo sail. Failing the dory mate, a yoke and a set of tiller lines was the normal solution.
    Ben Fuller
    Ran Tan, Liten Kuhling, Vernon Langille, Josef W., Merry Mouth, Imp, Macavity and a quiver of unamed 'yaks.
    "Bound fast is boatless man."

  10. #10
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    Jun 2003
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    Central Coast, Ca
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    Default Re: Longer Tiller? Oar Steering

    Quote Originally Posted by Yeadon View Post
    Norwegian push pull tiller shall be your salvation.
    Yeadon is right, of course.

  11. #11
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    Dec 2003
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    Default Re: Longer Tiller? Oar Steering

    Thanks. The new tiller is a bit longer, I can cut it down if necessary. I also put a piece of broomstick in the boat to lash to the tiller for an extension.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Longer Tiller? Oar Steering

    If you can find a bit of bamboo, an old xc ski pole is perfect, you can run a cord up the center, maybe up into the next cell, then knot it after drilling a hole in the side. Put a whipping around the end of the bamboo where the cord exists. Then drill a hole in the tiller and run the cord through it and clove hitch it to the tiller. Set it up tight and you have a nice non invasive universal joint.
    Ben Fuller
    Ran Tan, Liten Kuhling, Vernon Langille, Josef W., Merry Mouth, Imp, Macavity and a quiver of unamed 'yaks.
    "Bound fast is boatless man."

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Longer Tiller? Oar Steering

    Thank you Ben.

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Longer Tiller? Oar Steering

    Quote Originally Posted by Ben Fuller View Post
    If you can find a bit of bamboo, an old xc ski pole is perfect, you can run a cord up the center, maybe up into the next cell, then knot it after drilling a hole in the side. Put a whipping around the end of the bamboo where the cord exists. Then drill a hole in the tiller and run the cord through it and clove hitch it to the tiller. Set it up tight and you have a nice non invasive universal joint.
    We have lots of invasive bamboo growing around here. Please come and take some.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
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    Default Re: Longer Tiller? Oar Steering

    I sailed the dory again tonight in a light breeze. The new tiller is fine, reaching just to my aft shoulder when I am seated on the floorboards aft. I also rowed the boat again, I think it is faster than it seems, judging by coming along the dock.

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