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post #3 of Old 03-25-2005
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Tiller vs Outboard for steering

I don''t think there''s one right answer, OBob.

When backing out of my slip it''s nice to be able to turn the OB when reverse thrusting because I don''t have a lot of room before I hit the boats in the next dock over. HOWEVER, I would not try it with tiller locked, because my rudder is pretty big and would diminish steering if locked in straight position. I could also get out of the slip well enough using an Inboard technique of backing up straight until some way is on, then swinging the tiller over to turn the stern.

When coming in I like to do it slowly using accumulated momentum if possible so the OB prop is usually in neutral, so I have to use the rudder. It (the OB tiller angle) can be set at an appropriate angle in case I come in too fast and need to back thrust at a certain angle quickly.

If your boat has a smaller rudder or one that can pivot up (like a MacGregor) steering/maneuvering with the OB alone is probably feasible.

Ideally, a rig like the EZ steer would give the optimum maneuverability:

You could also try to make your own link between the OB and boat tiller depending on their relative location.

There can be such a thing as too much maneuverability, i.e. don''t get so obsessed with maximizing your boat''s cornering and turning abilities that you neglect to get a feel for how boats turn, slow, speed up, and move under the influence of wind, tide, etc. Developing an intuitive feel for how your boat maneuvers will give you a lot more peace of mind than relying on a lot of motor and tiller thrusting and yanking.

Allen Flanigan
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