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Go Back   SailNet Community > Skills and Seamanship > Seamanship & Navigation
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Seamanship & Navigation Forum devoted to seamanship and navigation topics, including paper and electronic charting tools.


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  #1  
Old 11-21-2011
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Our own boats are always easy to handle!

No one else in my family (wife, three grown boys) has an interest in sailing -- except as passengers occasionally -- so for the past five years I've done mostly single handing of my 1975 Newport 28. In those years I've moved lines around so that I can do everything from the cockpit except pull the main down those last few feet. I'm very comfortable with her, even in winds up to 25 or so (though those are a good workout).

This past weekend I actually had a crew member, an experienced sailor from my old group in Baltimore. So, we're motoring out of Rock Creek into the Patapsco in nice winds around 5-8 or so, and I throttle down to idle to raise the main, and ask her to bring her to the wind. I've just about got the main all the way up when WHOOPS! Off the wind she falls and my crew tells me "I can't hold her!" This surprised me a bit, because I usually hold her to the wind by putting the tiller, um, behind me while I raise the main. But the crew is not used to the boat, so I wait until she comes back into the wind and finish raising the main -- only to have her fall off again and make a complete circle.

I'm sure I was looking a bit doubful at this point, because my crew tells me, "She's really sensitive to the tiller. I'm more used to a wheel in a boat this size." Well, maybe, but a 28-footer is certainly not beyond tiller length.

We sailed for an hour or so, and my crew never took the tiller again. The wind picked up to about 15-18 or so, but I didn't bother with a reef as we were heading in anyway. She heeled a bit every now and then, but nothing drastic. At one point my crew asked me if I'd had any of the ASA courses, which made me chuckle to myself, as I've had both the ASA and US Sailing keelboat and coastal cruising classes over the years.

It was an interesting experience, getting another sailor's opinion of my boat. I had the feeling my crew was a bit intimidated by her, or perhaps not totally confident in me, because I say things like "I don't worry excessively about sail trim," and will leave the tell-tales fluttering a bit on a side rather than fussing to get them perfect. If the sails are drawing well, I'd rather enjoy the ride.

It was a beautiful day, though. Too bad the afternoon light is gone so quickly.
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Monrovia, MD
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  #2  
Old 11-22-2011
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Interesting. That is what I like about single handing- no one to comment or complain about things. A lot of people I take sailing are expecting some type of freakin bare foot wind jammer cruise. Its nice to just go out and sail how you want and not have to cater to someones desires, or listen to their comments (had one crew questioning why I was trying to sail up wind while I was tacking- she said she thought you should always sail downwind).
My dog makes great crew!
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Last edited by casey1999; 11-22-2011 at 02:18 PM.
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Old 11-22-2011
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I've seen wheel folks have issues with a tiller before. I've seen newbies have more problems with a tiller than a wheel too.
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Old 11-22-2011
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Grew up tiller sailing, OB running or windsurfing. Had a tiller on my SJ21 and P28. My wife was very good at tiller steering by the time we purchased our Ericson 35-3. It had wheel steering. We both had some minor problems at first because we both like to sit down on the lee side and steer by holding the wheel at either 10 o'clock(on stbd) or 2 o'clock(on port). Well, you push or pull the wheel opposite what a tiller requires. We figured this out very quickly but my point is that you can get used to anything. Change is the real challenge.

For those who cannot get used to steering by tiller, how do they steer their OB tenders?
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Old 11-30-2011
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I have a very light 24 footer which steers like a dinghy with its tiller.

When I have had experienced keel boat sailors on the helm, I notice they are slow to react and tend to rely on the keel instead of the tiller to keep things trim.

Its unnerving to me while they hold still and the yacht heels in the gusts when I would point higher keeping her flat and fast.

Eventually I figured out its best to lay on the windward deck and have a sleep, after a few hours the new helmsman gets a bit faster on the tiller and figures out flat is fast.

Different people handle yachts differenty, if everyone was like me it would be a boring world. Don't overthink things.
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Old 11-30-2011
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well if its any help, ive always sailed tiller. i like to think im a moderate sailer. but when i took over steering for a friend (and slip neighbor) on his boat (first time at a wheel) i kept falling off too... dang goofy footed driving lol all he could do was laugh at me
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Old 11-30-2011
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Steering wheels are for cars! I love my tiller & can control it so easy while single handed ---Dale
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Old 12-01-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CharlieCobra View Post
I've seen wheel folks have issues with a tiller before. I've seen newbies have more problems with a tiller than a wheel too.
That's the issue with my wife. To her, using a tiller is just not intuitive, and when she makes a little mistake, she gets spooked, and doesn't want to do it again.

And usually (I say usually) I don't get mad at her to make her get spooked -- honest!
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Old 12-01-2011
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Using a tiller, one thing that has helped me is the following- note this only works in reverse. When reversing, sight down the tiller (looking towards the stern of the boat) and aim it like you would a rifle. Where you aim is approximately where the boat will head. Does not work in forward as direction is reversed.
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Old 12-01-2011
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Quote:
When I have had experienced keel boat sailors on the helm, I notice they are slow to react and tend to rely on the keel instead of the tiller to keep things trim.

Its unnerving to me while they hold still and the yacht heels in the gusts when I would point higher keeping her flat and fast.
That's because you don't come up in a gust with a keelboat like a dinghy, you actually steer down a bit to counteract the weather helm and maintain a straight course.
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