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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am finding my way around my recently acquired PSC34 and unfortunately the PO wasn't able to show me the systems on board. So far so good, but I am trying to find out how the emergency tiller works.

Is there a special tool required to open the hatch to the rudder post? I have attached a pic of the cover, I presume that this is where an emergency tiller would go?

I also found a hefty angled metal tube with a slotted end which I presume would function as the emergency tiller once I get the hatch open?

Thanks
I'm glad that you posted the first photo. I am in the process of dropping my rudder, and as part of that, I thought I'd enlarge the access ports. As they are, they are virtually useless. Measuring to see how big I could go with the new access ports, I noticed that the rudder post is not centered in the opening under the helmsman's seat. I wondered what was going on, but I see that yours isn't centered either. Must be a problem in the deck mold. It's not far off, but seems that somebody screwed up.

-- Bill
Belle Voile
PSC 34
 

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The opening port for the emergency tiller typically drains into the bilge. If you have to use the 'E' tiller in nasty conditions, any boarding sea will end up in the bilge. Would not want to make the hole to access the rudder post any larger than absolutely necessary.

Buy the pin wrench that RichH posted. Anything less won't have enough leverage to get a stubborn cover moving. If you really need a lot of torque or impact to loosen the cover, you can stand with one foot on top of the pin wrench and kick the handle.

Try out the 'E' tiller when you are actually out sailing. Some boats have required removing the pedestal to be able to steer the boat. It may also require disconnecting the steering cables to overcome any restriction in the system. The 'E' tiller may need to be installed 90 degrees out of a regular tiller and best to figure that out when it's not an emergency.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
The opening port for the emergency tiller typically drains into the bilge. If you have to use the 'E' tiller in nasty conditions, any boarding sea will end up in the bilge. Would not want to make the hole to access the rudder post any larger than absolutely necessary.

Buy the pin wrench that RichH posted. Anything less won't have enough leverage to get a stubborn cover moving. If you really need a lot of torque or impact to loosen the cover, you can stand with one foot on top of the pin wrench and kick the handle.

Try out the 'E' tiller when you are actually out sailing. Some boats have required removing the pedestal to be able to steer the boat. It may also require disconnecting the steering cables to overcome any restriction in the system. The 'E' tiller may need to be installed 90 degrees out of a regular tiller and best to figure that out when it's not an emergency.
Sorry, I probably wasn't clear. I am thinking about enlarging the access ports that are on either side of the rudder post access (see the photo). Even so, on a PSC 34, the rudder post access does not expose the bilge to any risk of taking on water. The access ports on either side of the post allow inspection of the quadrant, but are a bit too small to allow any real work to be done to the quadrant (e.g. reattaching a cable to quadrant). I'm thinking that it would be nice to have better access to the quadrant, especially since getting into that space from below is extremely difficult.

I think my only concern about increasing the size of the access ports is what I might do to the structural integrity of the upper support of the rudder post. Although it appears that that area is about 1.5" thick, so I suspect there would still be plenty of strength.

-- Bill
Belle Voile
PSC 34
 

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Or, from McMaster-Carr (My favorite hardware store) https://www.mcmaster.com/#pin-spanner-wrenches/=1a355pd Then click on "Dual-Size Adjustable Pin Spanner Wrenches for Holes on the Face"
You can get the Groco spanner at Go2marine for half of West Marine's price: Groco - Groco Spanner Wrench. Defender's price is 2/3 that of WM.

We have a Groco spanner and it is a lot better than the bent wire style spanner that came with a deck plate like the OP showed in his thumbnail.
 

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We’ve got a couple of chrome plated bronze deck plates like in the OP thumbnail. They are used to access the keel pennant—one when the keel is up (i.e., on the hard) and the other when it’s down (don’t ever want to use that one.) The upper one is opened every 10 years and has never presented a problem on our 27 yr old boat, but it wouldn’t hurt for the OP to grease the threads for insurance. Winch grease out to work fine, but any grease should do.
 

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I would replace that bronze tiller opening with a standard fiberglass model available from WM and a host of other sources. Much easier to open, and still provides an excellent seal and strength.

Gary :cool:
 

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I would replace that bronze tiller opening with a standard fiberglass model available from WM and a host of other sources. Much easier to open, and still provides an excellent seal and strength.

Gary :cool:
Those bronze deck plates are bulletproof, even when the chrome plating goes south. You could keep the spanner wrench tethered nearby and there would be no worry about opening it, even if it had been ignored for a long time.

No need to replace it if it ain't broke.
 

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Yep, they're bullet proof, but when you haven't opened it in years, they tend to freeze solid with corrosion from the saltwater dousings. The last one I encountered I had to open with a propane torch, a hammer and a punch and it took hours. The fiberglass inspection plates, which is what they are, are very, very strong, durable, and don't corrode. I had the same problem with my pumpout opening, which took some heat and a homemade wrench to open. I replaced the cap with an ABS plastic one and never had the problem again.

My old tub was originally a tiller boat, so I still have the exposed tiller head projecting through the seal in the deck. Takes me about 10 seconds to switch from wheel to tiller. Thank goodness I only had to do that one time when the locator pin in the wheel shaft sheared. The pin was replaced with one made of Cobalt Steel and I no longer have to worry about that problem again.

Good luck on whatever you decide upon doing,

Gary :cool:
 
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