The tiller extension seemed like a good idea, but
it busted out the first time it I took it sailing. I suspect that the tiller
hung up on the aft hatch and busted when I pushed on the extension. So I've
decided to run a line around the perimeter to amidships and back to the rudder.
That way I'll be able to steer the boat from anywhere in the aft half of the
I used the 2/1 pulley set up to decrease the
sensitivity of the steering. More line pulled for the same rudder deflection
compared with just a direct connection.
The red disks are the tops of pulleys that just
direct the line around the boat. I left them open so I wouldn't have to string
the line through a bunch of pulleys to rig the steering. This way after rigging
the aft pulleys and T-bar I just loop the line around the perimeter
The 2/1 setup turned out to be difficult to
actuate. So I went to a 3/1 setup to try to gain some mechanical advantage.
In response to an E-mail that I sent to the smallsailboats group
on yahoo, Russ Ashworth pointed out:
"A more effective method to get mechanical advantage is to increase the
length of the T-bar. This also reduces the loads on the pulleys and so reduces
the friction and thus the force required to move it. In fact doubling the length
of the bar and using no pulleys will reduce the force required compared to now.
Depending on the friction in the pulleys increasing to 3/1 might not gain you
He is right. :( This is a situation that can be described by
"I couldn't see the forest for the trees"
"Just because you can do something doesn't mean you
I had become so focused on turning pulley wheels out of
plastic, and making pulleys that I didn't take a real critical look at what I
was doing. I suspect the friction in the pulleys is what is causing the high
operating forces. A longer T-bar would have been MUCH faster and simpler. I
forgot KISS. :(
Guess what the next modification is likely to be.
Another problem that showed up during testing was that with
the lines rigged this way, steering was counterintuitive. If you pulled on the
port line the boat turned starboard and visa versa. Even though I knew how the
steering was set up, while sailing I kept turning the rudder the wrong way. I
will have to devise some sort of crossover to reverse the action of the
Here is the next variation.
The T-bar is about twice as long, and mounted on the Center
Line of the rudder pivot. The lengthened T-bar would probably have been
adequate, but I love to complicate the issue, so I reinstalled the 2/1 pulley
system. It works quite well.
When I pull on the starboard line, the boat turns
When I pull on the port line, the boat turns port.
Thanks to the 2/1 pulley system, and the extended T-bar, it
takes about a 2 foot pull on the line to go from center rudder to the
Since nylon rope stretch when wet, one end of the line is
fixed, and the other is fastened to the aft belay pin. If the line gets
too loose underway, it is an easy thing to take up the slack.