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I don't discuss my member
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
How do you guys do it? I know, a tiller pilot would be the best thing, but I have other projects that'll take up the $400 a pilot would cost. I'm looking for something to hold a course if I need to get a drink, trim a sail, raise the jib, go foreward, etc. Not lookingn for something that'll take long to adjust or set up, or cost me a bundle.

The layout is fairly simple, I already have 2 cleats at the corners of the stern, and a toe rail the entire length of the boat. I was thinking of using a heavy duty shock cord or bungey instead of regular line. Does this work or should I stick with a no stretch line? Anyone have pics of their setup?
 

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I don't discuss my member
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Faster, thanks for the link. I like the idea, but I don't think it'll work in my boat.

Don, I saw that site, it is interesting and I like it better than just looping line around the tiller and then going back to the stern cleats. I think I'll have to try out a couple things next time I'm on the boat. I'm not crazy about drilling more holes in the tiller, or having lazy line and a block dangling around though. But it doesn't look like I can get around drilling.
 

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blue collar cruiser
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To have your boat sail itself simply by tying off the tiller you are going to need a very well balanced boat and have the sails adjusted perfectly or not be gone too long. Anything else will require some sort of input to the tiller, like electronic autopilot, mechanical windvane or sheet-to-tiller arrangement. Sheet-to-tiller is clearly the least expensive but takes a while setting up.
 

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Just a Sailer
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I use the "Cheap tiller tamer" as described in don's link. It works well for me. Sure you have to drill a couple of holes, but a bit of silicone leak proofs the system.

Steve
 

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Telstar 28
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You might want to look at getting one of the books on self-steering for small sailcraft, like Lechters.
 

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I've used my Tiller Lock for one season now, and I love it. It's rigged with shock cord instead of regular line, so I can make small corrections without even disengaging the lever.

It's the one design I've found that can be disengaged instantaneously. Like from a floating line clipped to the Tiller Lock lever and tossed over the stern railing to trail behind when I'm singlehanding. Nothing like a little insurance :D to keep the boat from sailing on by itself.
 

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I use 1/4" Trophy braid- the fuzzy stuff with a short bungy on either end and 3 wraps around the tiller. hook the bungies to the lifelines and no holes drilled. I bought a tiller tamer last year and didn't want to put more holes in the boat or drill into my freshly refinished tiller. Get the sails balanced and relax.
 

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Steer from anywhere on the boat CHEAP

I used to have a 21 footer that I set up so I could steer it from any spot from bow to stern.

I tied a 25 foot length of 1/4 inch nylon 3 stand (stretchy is good) to my tiller with a clove hitch then led the other end through a cheap block that I tied to the starboard stern cleat. I carried the rest of the line forward and tied the end to the bow cleat. I did the same on the port side.

Once I was under sail, I fiddled with the two clove hitches until the boat held a steady course. If I wandered to the bow (harnessed of course) I could make slight steering adjustments by pulling on the 1/4 lines. If I pulled on the starboard line, the boat would steer to port. After making the correction, the spring of the nylon brought the tiller back to the center position and no further adjustments were needed for a while.

This worked fine. I enjoyed many days lounging ahead of the mast on long tacks on Long Island Sound and in the Keys. The only issue you'll find is when the boat begins to heel sharpley and the line you need to reach is on the leaward side of the boat. I nearly tumbled off the low side on a few occasions, so shorten up your harness tether.
 

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Barquito
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We have used a couple solutions on our catalina 22. The boat originally had a locking mechanism that would hold a tiller extension (hiking stick) in position to one side only (it was on port side). That was easy to adjust and could be engaged quickly. However, we didn't use the tiller extension much. The other solution has been a bungie tied off on both sides with a small metal plate under the tiller that would keep tiller in place by friction. Only problem with bungie is that C22's develop a lot of weather helm when heeling, which would easly over-power the bungie and boat would head up. With really tight bungie it is difficult to set up.
 

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I've done one singlehanding trip, about fourteen hours. About eight of those hours was spent on long tacks in fairly open waters, with the tiller tied down and the helm more or less balanced in about 15 knots. I just ran a 3/8" laid dock line from a spinnaker cleat (nicely lined up with the end of the tiller) to the tiller with a clove hitch. The boat oscillated between +5 and -5 degrees off course, but it was easy to adjust but rarely needed any attention, except when changing course. Gave me plenty of time to change headsails, reef, visit the head, set up the dodger (underway), grab some victuals, etc. I wouldn't take a nap of course. But if all you need it for is odd jobs on day sails, it should be sufficient. I haven't tried it in rougher conditions, btw... I don't expect it would be able to handle waves pushing the bow off.

<a href="http://picasaweb.google.ca/lh/photo/_lHi0KxneINEgd8CgmJFjA?feat=embedwebsite"><img src="http://lh4.ggpht.com/_kd_c_qPRHcQ/SI2CcXlRFOI/AAAAAAAACLM/zZFXbZP0mcs/s400/DSCN2139.JPG" /></a>
 

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Old thread, but I didn't see a better stop to post this simple knot system I rigged up.

I use two knots:
Alpine Butterfly - a secure loop you can tie in the middle of a line
Adjustable Grip Hitch - a sliding grip knot like a taught line hitch but arguably better

You put the alpine butterfly around the tiller and make two adjustable loops with the grip hitches to port and starboard. They can slide up and down the line manually but grip once set. You adjust the tiller by adjusting the size of the two loops.
 

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Bristol 45.5 - AiniA
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If someone is looking for true, cheap self-steering for tillers (as opposed to just tying off the tiller in some way), look for a book called Self-Steering for Sailing Craft by John Letcher. It is long out-of-print but details two systems for steering the boat (one on the wind and one off) using a few small blocks, some line and shock cord. I tried his stuff on a 22 footer in the '70s and it worked well.
 
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