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post #3 of Old 05-14-2003
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Steering Pedestal

If a small boat is kept in balance by sail selection and trim, a long tiller that sweeps the cockpit may not be necessary. Try sailing with the tiller cocked up at a higher angle which effectively reduces its length. We routinely sail our 30-foot sloop with the tiller at a high angle reducing its effective length to about 2-feet and this is with a keel-attached rudder which is about 30 inches tall by 24 inches wide. We maintain just enough weather helm to assure good feed back. When the air is heavy and we can''t keep the boat off of her ear, its an simple thing to lower the tiller for greater leverage. If this works for you maybe you don''t need wheel steering or a long tiller unless, of course, you want the wheel steering for its own sake. If the short helm is too heavy for comfortable steering, a simple and inexpensive whipstaff can convert the horizontal arc to a vertical arc requiring a lot less space and with lots of mechanical advantage depending upon its geometry. Just a thought. Regards, George
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