Sailerman, I use a long tiller due to the balance of my boat. When I originally started building it, I had planned on sitting in the rear seat. However, when I sit there, the bow comes up and the boat feels unstable. It feels more stable when sitting in the middle. I had considered a short tiller (about 5") but made it long to reach from the middle seat. Jimq, I am only 16 and still in school so I am only open in the summer. I considered trying to get on with a crew as a volunteer, just to get experience and have fun. However, I have yet to find a situation like that to take advantage of.