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Old 08-08-2013, 14:04   #1
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Tiller Height

I'm in the process of completing a wheel to tiller conversion, and now its time to order the tiller handle. I have to decide on how much rise i want in the handle.

Is there a rule to how high a tiller handle should sit above the cockpit floor? Does anyone have a tiller that they wish was higher or lower in comparison to their body?

What about length of the handle? Longest possible without interfering with the companionway?
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Old 08-08-2013, 14:13   #2
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Re: Tiller Height

When I had a tiller, I often steered with it between my legs; you can work the primarys, engine controls etc that way. So maybe well above the knee. As far as length goes... how easy is your boat on the helm? Do you want to steer in the protection of the dodger? (at least somewhat) , keep in mind steering with the tiller requires people to move out of your way in the cockpit... especially while docking in a marina etc... so length is a compromise.... also, longer it is, the more you have to move it from side to side. You can always cut it back though.... hard to make it longer!
If I was designing one from scratch, I might have the tiller head (termination of rudder post) high, like lazerette level and a fairly straight tiller.
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Old 08-08-2013, 15:10   #3
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Re: Tiller Height

I feel like a lot of this would be up to personal preference. As long as it can do all the things a tiller needs to do (like sweep out a usable range of the rudder, be able the generate enough leverage so that you can use it in all conditions, is somewhere where you could connect a tiller tamer or tiller pilot, etc.) I think it would pretty much be up to whatever felt comfortable to you. If I were doing this, I'd probably go down to the boat with a bunch of cardboard and cut out some samples to make sure the ergonomics were correct.

That said, I like where the tiller is on my boat. It leaves enough room that at least two people could sit at the forward end of the cockpit without getting in the way, yet it's long enough that I can also still reach the tiller and the cabintop winches at the same time. I can move it through quite a wide range at its resting height, and if I want to put it way over, like I might do if I'm going to be heaved to, I can just lift it a bit (it's hinged). I wish I could lift it all the way to get it out of the cockpit when at anchor, but it's a transom hung rudder and the traveler goes over it, so it only goes up maybe 30 or so.
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Old 09-08-2013, 10:28   #4
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Re: Tiller Height

A number of issue to ponder :Hinged at rudder allows various positions;very desirable (VD).
Long enough to get helmsman out of the weather and under the dodger; (VD).
A tillier pilot is such a desirable feature that tiller height when steering from usual positions should be at able to engage the pilot without any contortions; (VD).
As suggested the helmsperson should be able to steer the boat while straddling the tiller( VD )
Tillers are the best invention that a single hander could have; think about one had on each jib sheet (one releasing and one hauling the other)as the boat comes thru stays.So who is steering? Your butt! One can win races with this technique or at least impress your friends. (somewhat important)
Laminating a curve into your tiller may increase the cockpit space when not underway,mine is so shaped that the curve allows the outermost end to align with the backstay freeing up the cockpit for dancing.( reasonably important)
It should be beautifully crafted and tactile since many hours will be spent fondling .
It had better be strong !!! ( most desirable)
.................................................. .............cheers mike......................
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Old 09-08-2013, 11:47   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Freerider View Post
I'm in the process of completing a wheel to tiller conversion, and now its time to order the tiller handle. I have to decide on how much rise i want in the handle.

Is there a rule to how high a tiller handle should sit above the cockpit floor? Does anyone have a tiller that they wish was higher or lower in comparison to their body?

What about length of the handle? Longest possible without interfering with the companionway?
Not too long, you don't want it crimping your style with a guest or when Otto is driving. However, I have a 40' boat with a tiller, and find that I really prefer to stand on the cockpit seat/ coaming for close quarters maneuvers or when I'm trying to get in or out of the harbor (I'm in close proximity to the kayak/ SUP rental place, and dodging the tourists can be an issue).

My tiller handle is long enough that I can stand and comfortably grip it and the grab rail on the aft end of my hard top dodger at the same time. Not sure the size of your boat, but this is a key for visability ahead for us. I have a removable extension for when I really want to drive from completely under the dodger. I find that harder to do though, because I can't see the sails or feel the wind under there.

Also, plan ahead for where your engine controls will be. Mine are set so that I can stand on the cockpit floor and work the throttle with my foot. The bottom of the recess for the throttle lever is about six inches off the cockpit floor. It's a good argument for single lever throttle... It's easy to hop up and down from standing on the seat to work the throttle, or to reach the foot down from standing on the seat to adjust.

Oh, and think about reverse. We have a barn door for a rudder, and if you don't watch yourself and keep a firm handle on the tiller while in reverse, the rudder will slam over and throw you out of the boat. Make sure you have enough leverage available to deal with the rudder size going backward.

I've attached of the admiral taking us out of an anchorage so you have an idea of what I consider a good compromise tiller length.

JRM

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Old 09-08-2013, 12:46   #6
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Re: Tiller Height

Build a mock, try and test, then build the real thing.

I think what has been said about holding the tiller between legs is important.

I think considering (any) shaft rake is very important.

Then think about how you want to extend - very important unless your boat is very narrow at stern.

Our tiller is below chest/above waist when we sit. I like this height.

Etc. I would build a mock out of pcv tubes up first.

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Old 09-08-2013, 12:52   #7
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Re: Tiller Height

Many tiller heads have an adjustment that limits how far down it can swing, so that you don't have to settle for one height. Further, I've seen metal tillers that telescope, so that you can adjust the length as well. Not as aesthetic as a nice timber one, but very strong and functionally superior.

Lots of possibilities...

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Old 09-08-2013, 15:05   #8
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Re: Tiller Height

Cheechako pretty much covered it. Only thing I can add is try and keep it short enough so you can move in front of it, not have to step over it. Have a 48" tiller on my boat which comes to the forward end of the footwell. Awkward to move in front of it while standing in the cockpit. Should have made it a couple inches shorter.

Good idea to mock up a tiller out of a two by four at the maximum length that will fit. Take the boat out and give it a good workout. Start wacking length off the tiller till you get a length that feels good. Most tiller mounts have a screw stop that allows you to raise or lower the height of the tiller.

I like an 'S' shaped tiller. Easier to step over at the back end if the rudder stock is in the cockpit sole.
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Old 09-08-2013, 15:35   #9
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pirate Re: Tiller Height

I second the tiller height... about halfway between knees and crotch... if it will clear everything... as to length... about 4ft into your cockpit..
All depending on your cockpit layout/size.....
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Old 13-08-2013, 11:10   #10
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Re: Tiller Height

Thanks for the ideas. My rudder post comes up through the cockpit sole, so i only extended it about 6" above the floor. I figured this way it would be easier to step over just as Roverhi has suggested.

I'll likely order one from Rudder Craft, and their tiller with 9.75" rise should work. The tiller head is angled upwards, so that will bring the handle above the knee and below the waist.
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