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Old 29-07-2013, 20:48   #1
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Anyone Know Why....

The tillers on outboard motors are (usually) mounted to port?

In a small boat like a dinghy, this makes it difficult to sit on the port side, (not enough room) so you sit to starboard, with your BACK facing any vessels you have to give way to.

This just strikes me as weird. Is there a sensible reason most outboards are set up this way?
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Old 29-07-2013, 21:17   #2
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Re: Anyone Know Why....

I think it's because the left hand is gripping the throttle, the right hand is available for hanging on.
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Old 29-07-2013, 21:24   #3
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Re: Anyone Know Why....

I always figure when I'm in a dinghy I'm giving way to everything no matter where it's coming from.
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Old 29-07-2013, 22:11   #4
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Re: Anyone Know Why....

And chalk up another reason for our buying a Torqeedo with its center-mount tiller on the Travel 1003...

But... Ever notice how left-handed folk (like my wife) sit on the dinghy's portside and operate the tiller/throttle with their right hand - opposite of right-handed folk? They seem to find the room. Just saying...
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Old 30-07-2013, 06:30   #5
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Re: Anyone Know Why....

I believe it has to do with prop torque.

Early power boats tended to be narrow and prop torque would create a slight list if the boat was balanced. So putting the helmsman on that side compensated for the torque from the prop.

As in a great many things, it became the norm and is still used today.
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Old 30-07-2013, 06:45   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by svmariane View Post
But... Ever notice how left-handed folk (like my wife) sit on the dinghy's portside and operate the tiller/throttle with their right hand - opposite of right-handed folk? They seem to find the room. Just saying...
I'm left handed and drive with my left. I can't seem to operate an outboard on the port side at all, but I think that has something to do with the proximity of the handle.
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Old 30-07-2013, 07:45   #7
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Re: Anyone Know Why....

That's weird! I'm right handed and have always driven my o/b powered dinks sitting on the port side. Not sure why I started that way... in later years I've been aware of the right of way issues and prefer to have unrestricted vision to starboard. Maybe some years riding motorcycles and twisting throttles with my right hand... who knows?

Interesting question!

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Old 30-07-2013, 07:55   #8
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Re: Anyone Know Why....

Isn't it simpler than all that? Basically all boats (that have off-center steering or controls) are right hand drive because the "steer board" was on the right. Ever see a crab or lobster boat with left hand drive? It's just a little easier to work on the starboard side. Traditional reasons.

After of many years in right hand drive boats, sitting to port in a dingy feels weird to me.
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Old 30-07-2013, 08:25   #9
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Re: Anyone Know Why....

Quote:
Originally Posted by 44'cruisingcat View Post
The tillers on outboard motors are (usually) mounted to port?

In a small boat like a dinghy, this makes it difficult to sit on the port side, (not enough room) so you sit to starboard, with your BACK facing any vessels you have to give way to.

This just strikes me as weird. Is there a sensible reason most outboards are set up this way?
I switch from port and starboard, whatever suits my fancy, wind and wave action also dictates. I like the middle tiller position idea, but never used one.
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Old 30-07-2013, 08:40   #10
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Re: Anyone Know Why....

The reason I have always understood it to be is the prop torque. If you watch a light inflatable with someone on the port side, the boat crabs along with the centerline not in the direction of travel. Sitting on Stbd side cures that. The throttle twist grip devolved from it being on that side, some older outboards had a throttle lever. All twist grip machines open throttle towards operator. As for visibility to Stbd, I use something called a neck, it works quite well.
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Old 30-07-2013, 08:47   #11
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Re: Anyone Know Why....

Does it have anything to do with early outboards were pull start?

Right handed people would stand/sit on the starboard side to use their right hand to start the engine and the tiller would just be in the way if mounted on the starboard side so it ended up on the port side.

????
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Old 30-07-2013, 10:47   #12
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Re: Anyone Know Why....

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Cate View Post
That's weird! I'm right handed and have always driven my o/b powered dinks sitting on the port side. Not sure why I started that way... in later years I've been aware of the right of way issues and prefer to have unrestricted vision to starboard. Maybe some years riding motorcycles and twisting throttles with my right hand... who knows?

Interesting question!

Cheers,

Jim
+1 on this, except that the throttle twists the other way, which takes some getting used to when you switch back and forth.
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Old 30-07-2013, 10:55   #13
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Re: Anyone Know Why....

easy one: Most people sit on the stbd side and steer with their left hand... leaving the right hand for the fishing pole, bailing, grabbing the kid before he falls out, tossing the painter to someone on the dock etc....
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Old 30-07-2013, 15:39   #14
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Re: Anyone Know Why....

I figure it's just more government stupidity, like standardizing bicycle front brakes on the left, the opposite of motorcycles, and worse, making motorcycles shift on the left, contrary to all that is right and proper.
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Old 31-07-2013, 10:20   #15
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Re: Anyone Know Why....

There is a bit of a safety reason with sitting on the starboard side while steering. When steering from the starboard side, a hard turn to starboard requires the steerer to lean into the boat, thus shifting their weight toward the "high" side of the boat. And a hard turn to port requires the steerer to lean away from the boat, again shifting their weight toward the "high" side of the boat.

Steered from the port side, the operator is always shifting their weight in the more dangerous direction.

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