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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
this thread is about my 1971 cal27. the tiller is really long. around 51". it takes up most of the cockpit. if i sit in the boat and my girlfriend sits next to me, with me closest to the tiller, it will jiust miss her, if she sits plastered to the back of the cabin. but, if i am pulling the tiller towards myself, say as if i was going to tack, it traps my legs and is uncomfortable close to my body.

i have seen a T2 with a wheel. basically the same boat with a taller rig and a different cabin arrangement. i would have to move the travelor to behind the companionway, like on an outbord equipped c27. however, i have never sailed with a wheel before and i don't know if i'd like it. plus it's a bug expense and a lot of work. something i'd rather contemplate after a season sailed as is.

but, i can see that long tiller being a real PIA. so, the question is, can i run a shorter tiller and how short could i go? i need to replace the one i have. it's really toasty. so, i could go for a shorter one....but can i, without making the baot hard to steer?

opinions?
 

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2 things. I saw 26 ft sailboat with an axe handle for a tiller that I didn't notice till it was pointed out (it was used for years). Wheel. There are other configurations for a wheel like a wheel connected to the tiller connection (horizontal ). And other wheels with gears connected to the tiller connection. If I find pics i'll sent them to you.
--Just some ideas. I like a wood wheel for lightening purposes. With a wheel you can get a big "Captain hat",sip whisky and Bark orders at anybody who will listen !
 

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the long tiller is probably cause the po liked it that way...

a lot of racers and dinghy sailors and small keelboaters use tiller extenders(which is better than just a long tiller) as it pivots but the long tiller is because a lot of helmsmen like to sit up forward by the coaming or cabin...it also allows solo sailors for example to be close to the main halyard winch, or sheets etc if lines are led aft for a quick adjustment or douse...etc...

I prefer tiller extenders usually with a foam grip...the best we made on the j24 we raced for example was a very light aluminum tube with a rubber strap cord running through it and into the tiller end...it will pivot in all angles and be flexible

in any case these are my ideas on why you have a long tiller...having said that with you having a helper on board there is no need for such a long one as space will be cut down as you already know

cheers
 

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The longer tiller gets the helmsman's weight out of the stern more amidships, and provides maximum mechanical advantage. The only downside of a shorter tiller would/could be the effort to control it when the boat loads up the helm. Not sure if the C27 has a properly balanced rudder - if it does then a shorter stick won't be any trouble at all.

Really don't think going to a wheel is the answer here.. the boat's a bit small for that and your limited budget would be far better used for just about anything else. Also, on a boat of that size it puts the weight of the helmsman AND the steering system well aft where it does most harm.
 
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
2 things. I saw 26 ft sailboat with an axe handle for a tiller that I didn't notice till it was pointed out (it was used for years).
that is good evidence that it can be shortened.

Wheel. There are other configurations for a wheel like a wheel connected to the tiller connection (horizontal ). And other wheels with gears connected to the tiller connection. If I find pics i'll sent them to you.
--Just some ideas. I like a wood wheel for lightening purposes. With a wheel you can get a big "Captain hat",sip whisky and Bark orders at anybody who will listen !
i have been searching the web to try to find a wheel set up, like that, which i could manufacture, myself, with the least actual modification of the boat. if you find said pics, that would be great. thanks
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 · (Edited)
Could you make a curved tiller, with an extension, to give yourself enough room? Like this:

Karl's Cape Cod Boat Shop -- Custom sailboat tillers increase your steering control!
that's kind of what i was thinking about. a shorter tiller that curved sharply, so that it would raise the tiller height. i was just concerned about losing the leverage of a longer tiller.

duckworks carries one, too. it's of a little bit different design, i believe.

If you do switch to wheel steering, make sure you keep access to the rudderhead easy, so when the wheel gear fails you can easily install an emergency tiller.
that's one concern i have about going the wheel route. not only am i concerned that i won't like it but i prefer simplicity. less to go wrong. you can't get much simpler than a tiller. but, i suppose, if i did eventually choose a wheel, having an emergency tiller would help with that; as would proper maintenance.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 · (Edited)
the long tiller is probably cause the po liked it that way...

a lot of racers and dinghy sailors and small keelboaters use tiller extenders(which is better than just a long tiller) as it pivots but the long tiller is because a lot of helmsmen like to sit up forward by the coaming or cabin...it also allows solo sailors for example to be close to the main halyard winch, or sheets etc if lines are led aft for a quick adjustment or douse...etc...

I prefer tiller extenders usually with a foam grip...the best we made on the j24 we raced for example was a very light aluminum tube with a rubber strap cord running through it and into the tiller end...it will pivot in all angles and be flexible

in any case these are my ideas on why you have a long tiller...having said that with you having a helper on board there is no need for such a long one as space will be cut down as you already know

cheers
i believe the boats originally came with that tiller. i, also, would prefer a shorter tiller with an extension. but, i do see the point for a longer tiller for solo sailing. however, the traveler is in the stern, so the mainsail's control lines are all easily reached from the stern. also, there are winches, for the jib, close to the stern. i think it could be easily single handed with a shorter tiller. it is true that the longer tiller would allow a solo sailer to sit closer to the cabin, moving his weight forward for up wind sailing. but, in a boat that weighs 5400#, i am not sure how much the weight of one person would affect the handling.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Since the current one is toasty, I'd cut 6" at a time of it and see how you like it. I see no reason why you couldn't go down to 37-38" without issue....
that's a good thought. replace the tiller after i have sailed it and experimented with various lengths to see what i like best.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
The longer tiller gets the helmsman's weight out of the stern more amidships, and provides maximum mechanical advantage. The only downside of a shorter tiller would/could be the effort to control it when the boat loads up the helm. Not sure if the C27 has a properly balanced rudder - if it does then a shorter stick won't be any trouble at all.
you just pointed out all of my concerns.:) i will have to see if i can find a good pic that would allow me to see just where the pivot point is, on the rudder. it turns easily enough, when not moving but, that proves nothing at all. but leverage is my real concern.

the cockpit is small. so, i am less concerned with my body weight than i am with being able to sit in it, comfortable. you might be able to cram 4 people in it, comfortably, if two weren't worried about sitting on the windward side.

Really don't think going to a wheel is the answer here.. the boat's a bit small for that and your limited budget would be far better used for just about anything else. Also, on a boat of that size it puts the weight of the helmsman AND the steering system well aft where it does most harm.
well, that's why a wheel would be something for consideration after a season of sailing. added weight in the stern is always an issue with a wheel. plus, it's worse for single handed sailing.

and, at this point, i don't need to spend any more money or add any more work, to what i already will need to invest.

in addition, i have always sailed with a tiller. i like them. i'm used to them. plus they look all old timey salty. :laugher

seriously, though, a wheel would only be the course of last resort. however, having seen a T2 with a wheel, i feel better that, if i do have to go that route, it obviously works for these boats.

depending on the mechanical advantage of the wheel, the helmsman wouldn't have to stand behind it. he ( meaning me ) could sit to the side and in front and steer with one hand. but i do think the tiller would be best.
 

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Have access to trees? Look for an oak, ash, elm or hickory branch with a likely shape & cut it now while the sap is not running, let it be seasoning 'til you're ready to shape & fit it. :) If nothing else, you could use it for an emergency tiller.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Have access to trees? Look for an oak, ash, elm or hickory branch with a likely shape & cut it now while the sap is not running, let it be seasoning 'til you're ready to shape & fit it. :) If nothing else, you could use it for an emergency tiller.
that's a good idea. i could see if i can find one that is already in the general shape i need. perhaps it's a good time to take a hike.
 

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1) There is a Monty Python skit where there are five guys in a lifeboat

"How long is it?"
"Kind of personal don't you think?"

that is what I though of when I saw the thread title

2) Mentioned already that a long tiller gets you to the center of the boat (closer to the mast)..

I wonder if there isn't a leverage benefit of a longer tiller. Didn't Archimedes say: "Give me a long tiller and a place to sit and I will steer your world"

Edit:Neither here nor there... I wonder why when you do a google image search for boats...some you find mostly sailing pictures and others you find mostly in a boat slip (what I found with your boat).. Not sure what that says about a given boat, but I guess if I was searching a boat I wanted to buy and half the pictures were of capsized boats... I would change my mind
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Here is pic of Hickory axe handle. 3ft long. One end is flat & fits between tiller to bolt on.
Handle is curved a bit similar to a store bought tiller. Not a joke. Or a wheel can be fit on a shaft coming up from tiller fitting. If you don't like the $10 Hickory I'll send you the $10.
True Temper® - 36 inch Hickory Single Bit Axe Handle People's lives depend on it not breaking.
that would actually make a nice looking tiller. $10 beats a hundred. it would take some spacers to fit the tiller bracket but that's a solid idea.

i had considered a shaft hooked straight down on the fitting. but it would sit pretty far to stern. of course, the wheel could be mounted on the front of the post, instead of the rear. i'd still have to figure out gears to go from the wheel to the shaft. i am sure that something else, totally unrelated, might have such gears which could be canabilized; perhaps the rear end from some sort of go cart.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
1) There is a Monty Python skit where there are five guys in a lifeboat

"How long is it?"
"Kind of personal don't you think?"

that is what I though of when I saw the thread title

2) Mentioned already that a long tiller gets you to the center of the boat (closer to the mast)..

I wonder if there isn't a leverage benefit of a longer tiller. Didn't Archimedes say: "Give me a long tiller and a place to sit and I will steer your world"

Edit:Neither here nor there... I wonder why when you do a google image search for boats...some you find mostly sailing pictures and others you find mostly in a boat slip (what I found with your boat).. Not sure what that says about a given boat, but I guess if I was searching a boat I wanted to buy and half the pictures were of capsized boats... I would change my mind
a longer tiller does have a leverage advantage. during archimedes time, when rudders were not balanced as many are now, that was very important. if my rudder is balanced, it wouldn't be that important.

i would hazzard a guess that the reason you mostly see pics of these, older, cal 27s in the slip is that most of those pics come from sales ads. most ads don't contain nice pics of the boats sailing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
It seems like it shouldn't be much of and engineering problem to make a tiller that has an extension that would make the tiller longer (for a longer lever arm) when needed.
no. it wouldn't. no harder than adding a tiller extension to a shorter tiller. but, if the boat needs a long tiller for leverage, that would end up being a useless modification. you'd always have to have it extended.
 

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snip

i would hazzard a guess that the reason you mostly see pics of these, older, cal 27s in the slip is that most of those pics come from sales ads. most ads don't contain nice pics of the boats sailing.
I think you are right about the ads --- but the wrong ads. Most of the ads you come across in a google search are used boats.

Funny story. The last time I was out in my boat in 2013, I capsized. I had already decided to move up a size (12 ft to 15 ft), but the capsizing removed any doubt.

I had been waiting for a friend to go with me, so I put up the sails and took a couple pictures (the only pictures I took of the boat rigged on the water)... and the camera (with sd card) is on the bottom Lake Colby... so when I listed the boat on Craigslist I only had pictures from my front yard.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
I think you are right about the ads --- but the wrong ads. Most of the ads you come across in a google search are used boats.

Funny story. The last time I was out in my boat in 2013, I capsized. I had already decided to move up a size (12 ft to 15 ft), but the capsizing removed any doubt.

I had been waiting for a friend to go with me, so I put up the sails and took a couple pictures (the only pictures I took of the boat rigged on the water)... and the camera (with sd card) is on the bottom Lake Colby... so when I listed the boat on Craigslist I only had pictures from my front yard.
wow. that's kind of tragic, really.

yeah. i was referring to used boat ads. there aren't a lot of these out there. you tend to see sailing pics of boats that are either unique or belong to a large 'fleet' of boats. for instance, there are tons of pictures of lasers sailing. and you can find pictures of the Bluenose sailing.
 
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