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post #1 of 25 Old 10-03-2007 Thread Starter
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Tiller too long?

I am new to sailing and I have a question regarding the tiller on my recently purchased O’Day Widgeon. I have only sailed her a few times, but it seems like the tiller is too long. The Widgeon has a centerboard trunk and the mainsheet cam clamp that is mounted at the rear of the cb trunk. The tiller extends sufficiently close to the cb trunk that I am having trouble getting around it when I change sides after tacking. I will be sailing the Widgeon single-handed most of the time so the longish tiller may be appropriate. The only other sailing that I have done was on a Sunfish. It had a tiller extension which allowed me to fold it back out of the way when I changed sides.

My question is should I cut off the end of the wooden tiller handle to shorten it?
Or do I just need more practice moving around in the boat?
Is there a down-side to shortening it?
If I cut down the handle, should I reattach the loose end as a tiller extension?
Where can I find the hardware needed to add a tiller extension?

I would like to hear the advice of those with experience before making an irreversible change to my tiller.

Thanks,
John

O'Day Widgeon
Amanda-Jane
Blue Bell, PA
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post #2 of 25 Old 10-03-2007
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John-

A photo would really help. The downside to shortening a tiller is that you will have less leverage with a shorter tiller. If your boat is well-designed and doesn't have any serious helm balance problems, then shortening it a bit probably shouldn't be a problem. YMMV, as I have never sailed the boat in question.

Given that you're fairly new to sailing, and probably don't have a lot of experience with sailing and moving around a tiller-steered boat, I get the feeling that it is more a question of you getting more practice moving around the boat than anything else. I'd leave it alone until you've gotten some more experience sailing.

BTW, the photo posting function on Sailnet is less than usable. I generally recommend poting the photos to a photosharing site, like Flickr.com and then posting a link to the photo using the icon. However, be aware that you can't post links or links to photos until you've gotten 10 posts under your belt.

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post #3 of 25 Old 10-03-2007
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I don't know why you could not cut it and hinge the cut so it could fold up or down on itself as needed... but I do not have much experience with tillered boats.

- CD

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post #4 of 25 Old 10-03-2007
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CD-

if the boat really needs a long tiller, the hinge has to be fairly substantial to handle the torque without tearing out of the tiller or twisting under the load. Stick to the catalinas...would ya...

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—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)

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post #5 of 25 Old 10-03-2007
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Sorry, my input may not help, I am not familer with the O'day Widgeon, however on my O'day 26, I can just raise the tiller handle up do a quick duck-switch and bring it back down. timing and practice, and with me only required when having more than 3 in the cockpit, and I dont have the centerboard trunk to dodge. I would go with Sailingdog's advice, and try different things before you start cutting, new tiller handles can be $$
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post #6 of 25 Old 10-03-2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sailingdog View Post
CD-

if the boat really needs a long tiller, the hinge has to be fairly substantial to handle the torque without tearing out of the tiller or twisting under the load. Stick to the catalinas...would ya...
Well, I would probably put more than just a hinge on it. You could have something fabricated pretty easy that would exceed the strength of the wood and still allow it to fold back on itself. I am not so worried about it working, just whether or not it would look good or be functional enough.

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post #7 of 25 Old 10-03-2007 Thread Starter
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Quote:
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John-
However, be aware that you can't post links or links to photos until you've gotten 10 posts under your belt.
I doubt that the 10 post rule will be much of a problem.

Saildog and CD

Thanks for the quick replies. I will get some more practice before making any changes. If I do decide to modify the tiller, I think CD's idea of a simple hinge might work well (it's also a cheap fix which is always appealing). I'll post a photo after a few more posts.

- John

O'Day Widgeon
Amanda-Jane
Blue Bell, PA
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Quote:
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Sorry, my input may not help, I am not familer with the O'day Widgeon, however on my O'day 26, I can just raise the tiller handle up do a quick duck-switch and bring it back down. timing and practice, and with me only required when having more than 3 in the cockpit, and I dont have the centerboard trunk to dodge. I would go with Sailingdog's advice, and try different things before you start cutting, new tiller handles can be $$
joeybkcmo,
I can also raise the tiller on my Widgeon (which by the way is only 12'), but I still have trouble avoiding the cb trunk, main sheet, boom, and tiller handle. I expect I just haven't gotten the knack of it yet.

Lets see, I'm up to 4 posts already.

- John

O'Day Widgeon
Amanda-Jane
Blue Bell, PA
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I didn't realize the Widgeon was so small. I think it is just a case of learning to move around the boat to start with...

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—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)

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Here is just some quick thoughts on what I might design... just having some fun with it. THis way you could keep your length and still have a strong, functional arm when necessary...

- CD


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