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Old 14-12-2009, 16:42   #1
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Question Tying-Off a Tiller?

I have only been out on my boat like about 4 or 5 times now in light winds. Today the winds where light enough where I felt like trying something I read somewhere about tying off the tiller it worked pretty well in the light winds I had on the way back to anchoring spot. Can you tie one off in stronger winds? Say 10+ knots? It worked well enough for me to go up on the deck on give it a quick scrub down.

Ken
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Old 14-12-2009, 16:48   #2
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this will vary from boat to boat. A great deal depends upon how well the boat tracks. Full-keel boats track better than swing keel boats like your Macgregor. The other consideration is weather helm. The more weather helm you have, the less likely that you will not have to tend the tiller.

If it's windy and you want to be able to tie off the tiller, shorten sail first so that the boat doesn't want to round up. That said, when you're singlehanding on a windy day you probably shouldn't be swabbing the deck. Especially not on a 21 footer as light as your boat.
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Old 14-12-2009, 16:58   #3
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Oh okay, I was curious about it. I have no clue as to the wind speed when it was tied off. All I know is that is worked well enough, but I did have to go back and make a couple of minor adjustments. I know it would never be the same as a wind vane or an autopilot. But both of those would be silly to install on a daysailor.
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Old 14-12-2009, 17:56   #4
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OK on my boat which has the under body +/- of a folkboat. Upwind no problem, no matter how strong the wind (except in extreme gusty conditions she may tack). Off the wind impossible. We have a rake-like arrangement that can be used to keep the tiller from banging sthg when let lose. It is OK for like half a minute then she will do her own thing.

b.
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Old 14-12-2009, 20:01   #5
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G'Day KC,

Long ago I had a Catalina 22 (hull number 61... that's how long ago it was!), and I wanted the same sort of semi-self steering performance that you seem to be looking for. I found a great book called "Self Steering for Sailing Craft" by a chap named John Letcher, who was an aerodynamicist at MIT at the time. In it he goes over all the factors in providing self steering, starting from very basic principles. Part of what he describes is usually called "shhet to tiller" steering, and it worked pretty well on my trailer sailer. Doesn't take much gear, just some rubber tube (like used in spearguns) and some rope to take a signal from either the jib or main sheet. Later in the book he talks about designing and building your own wind vane, and eventually (two boats later) I did just that. That simple bit of kit drove Insatiable One for about 50% of the 86k miles we did in her...

Anyway, if you can find the book, it will set you on the road to simple self-steering that you can afford!

Good luck with it,

Jim and Ann s/v Insatiable II lying Burnett River Qld Oz
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Old 15-12-2009, 05:38   #6
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On my ODay 222, I set up a deal with a couple of bungee cords run from the coaming on each side to a bit of twine tied around the tiller with a clove hitch. With the sails set properly, I could adjust the length of twine on each side by twisting the clove hitch one way or another. The boat would sail herself well until the wind changed.
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Old 15-12-2009, 10:06   #7
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Thanks for the info, I'll check into that book. I seem to remember reading about a home brew system that used the same type of cord you described. Yesterday I just used a single length of line fixed between two cleats on opposite sides of the boat looped around the tiller handle once. When I noticed I had wandered off course I just went back and made a manual adjustment and fixed the line around the tiller again. It worked well in light winds on the way back to port.
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Old 15-12-2009, 11:50   #8
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Use a clove hitch instead of just a loop. The clove hitch will stay put until you decide to adjust it.
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Old 15-12-2009, 12:08   #9
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Check out:
Dinghy Cruising Association - Huntingford Helm Imeder
or
http://www.freedom21.info/F21HelmImpeder.pdf
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Old 15-12-2009, 12:15   #10
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Self steering

For those that are interested, I have a self steering tutorial on sailfar.net. I use it on my Compac 23 all the time. Funny, when I first got her I thought she sailed "squirrelly" The more I sail, the more she seems to sail in a straight line. I wonder what has changed?
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