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Old 24-11-2009, 17:46   #31
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Mine is probably the best tracking boat in the world. Upwind, no toys required - I 'jam' the tiller and she will sail by herself for hours. Off the wind only the auto and the wind-vane do the trick - the sheet to tiller I tried for ages and it was never good enough.


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Old 24-11-2009, 18:00   #32
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after about a year of managing my tiller with rope and a bungy i broke down and bought a simrad tiller pillot. damn if i knew how excellent this thing was would have spent the money straight away. i can go below make some tea fix the sails etc... never a worry if the wind picks up or the current sets you off course the tiller pilot will correct. its a beautiful thing in my world

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Old 14-01-2010, 23:24   #33
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Self steering

It seems to me that a solo sailor needs three self-steering arrangements.

The first is a wind-vane of some sort, for open-space sailing; ergo, anywhere where there's at least 10NM between you and land, and no other bugger around.

The second is an electronic helm, to be used for close-quarters sailing or as a temp back-up for a failed wind-vane....temp meaning, while you fix the wind-vane.

Third. When all has gone to hell in a hand-basket, bungi steering.

I must admit I kinda quite enjoy playing with this method. Sure, about the best one can hope for, unless the wind is both steady and true (which happens once every 802 years) one can expect a best result of about 30 degrees either side of a chosen course. But hey! So long as you're pootling around in a few thousand square miles of clear ocean, what's a 60 degree yaw between friends.

I've found that my old girl will play along very happily on a tight reach with bunji. I use up to four wraps of 6mm bunji from tiller-end to solid taff rail. With a jamb cleat to allow me adjustment.

In lighter winds I might use three turns from taff to tiller then cleat. In high winds, especially gusty and moving 10/20 degrees, I might use six turns.

Sure, there's a lot of pissing around with sail-trim, but once there, I can often get an hour out of the system keeping me on a generally true heading.

But when it all gets just too much, and I need some rest or sleep, and I'm miles from everywhere, I simply hank a number four headsail onto the inner forestay, stow all other sails, sheet in the little'un, go about, leaving the little'un sheeted to weather, lash the helm to leeward and chill out for as many hours as I feel the need.

The leeward lashed helm wants to make my old girl go about, so up she comes into the wind. The windward sheeted headsail say, 'No way'! and pushes her nose to leeward again. Helm and headsail tussle it out, but neither ever wins, and I can relax for as long as I want, while I imagine dark thoughts about the maker of the self-steering dingus which has failed.

This practice, well known by ancient mariners such as myself, is known as 'Laying-ahull'.

One can use this tactic even in confined areas when all self steering has failed, the crew has got a dose of the conniptions (and thus useless) and when one needs a few minutes to get something done.

Even in a 30/40Knt breeze, when laying ahull, you boat will make less than 2 knots.

If you need to do this with the main still up, that's okay. Just let the main fly free then sort it out when you're ready to come back on the wind.

And when you've done what you need to do, you simply flip off the windward headsail sheet, sheet in again to leeward, and go about your business.

I've laid ahull in some quite furious conditions. The more furious the smaller the headsail, but the result is the same. And remember, when laying ahull, you're nearly always pointing in a similar direction to a broad reach, so you're quartering the seas.
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Old 15-01-2010, 08:31   #34
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See Letcher's book on Self Steering. If you have a boomed fore stays'l it is easy. A small line from staysl boom to windward to a block on the rail, down the windward gunnel to taff rail block, over to tiller, wrap several times around the tiller. To leeward a piece of surgical tubing or bunji cord from tiller to taff rail. Mess with it a few minutes until you get the proper tension. Go get a book. Total cost is probably nothing, since you have what you need in your junk locker.
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Old 15-01-2010, 08:36   #35
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dpex- are you laying ahull or heaving too? Usually you have all your sails down when laying ahull, but offset the main and jib with heaving too. You also place the tiller to leeward. Is this what you are talking about? I find laying ahul during a storm to be releasing control of the boat, and very unsecure, even in my Valiant. I much prefer heaving too, and if that doesn't work get out the drouge.
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Old 15-01-2010, 10:30   #36
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For just a few minutes, look at this:
Tiller-Tamer™ by Davis
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Old 15-01-2010, 10:32   #37
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ive used the tiller tamer not too bad if the wind and sea is behaving but when it starts to kick up i found it pretty much useless.
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Old 02-02-2010, 19:34   #38
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Jack I think the problem is you don't know what you are doing-It's ok we all start that way- look at all the great things you can learn. Find some old books on self steering and balancing a rig and boat. get an experienced single hander to take you out your boat or hers- The reference to jaming the tiller down included the consept of an adustable tiller extension which is deployed at 90 degrees to tiller I have even seen a fitting to attach to cockpit or seat back where tiller end slips into to hold in place. I personally use three methods on my present boat. #1-A tiller tamer a line that runs from seat backs(jam cleats on seat combings) through fitting on tiller that can adjust tension and either lock or make it harder to move tiller - this allows for tiller to be placed in variable positions. #2 an adjustable tiller extension #3 a tiller autopilot- If it is just a short trip foreward # 1or2-for spinaker set or take down #3- for lazzy sailing I tighten #1 and just change tiller possition with sl. adjustments now and then- this also works with weather helm I can crank in most of the correction and only need minor tweeks if not too gusty. With a little knowlge and the right gear you can single hand boats up to and maybe beyound 60 ft open ocean racers. Im only in my 70's and think nothing of single handing a J/44 with full rig and for a while I did that with hank on jibs and spinaker and pole. Understand your boat and rig and it all gets easy. Its for our perposes simple mechanical-fluid and force(vector physics)

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