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Old 16-03-2017, 23:41   #1
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Why are Outboards Made to be Operated with the Left Hand?

ok - truly silly question I suppose.

Outboard engines are made to be operated with the left hand - the throttle is made to be twisted towards yourself when held in the left hand - sitting on the other side of the boat you have to twist the throttle away from yourself using the right hand - awkward.

But when sitting on the starboard side of the boat and using the left hand to work the throttle - you have your back to traffic coming from starboard.

You have to give way to traffic coming from starboard - meaning you are constantly twisting your body and ending up in contorted positions to keep even a mediocre watch.

Why? if the throttle worked the other way - you be facing traffic coming from starboard and you could keep an eye on everything

Is this a case of the manufacturers just not thinking or is there some deep dark maritime secret that noone has told me about
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Old 17-03-2017, 00:01   #2
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Re: Why are Outboards Made to be Operated with the Heft Hand?

Left hand for the outboard, right hand for the beer or fishing or whatever takes your fancy. The outboard is only a means to an end that that end is reserved for the right hand.
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Old 17-03-2017, 00:02   #3
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Re: Why are Outboards Made to be Operated with the Heft Hand?

Maybe because small outboards where originally used a lot for fishing and you can hold the rod in your right hand when trolling?
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Old 17-03-2017, 00:04   #4
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Re: Why are Outboards Made to be Operated with the Heft Hand?

I asked the same thing years ago. Never saw a sensible answer.
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Old 17-03-2017, 00:58   #5
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Re: Why are Outboards Made to be Operated with the Heft Hand?

To me...i think they got it right....

Right hand is generally the strongest...better use for holding on when sitting on the tube and skipping over a chop

Left hand throttle orientation twist allows you to throttle down faster

Your operating a small dingy or fishing skiff with all round visibility and highly maneuvering.... Sitting on the starboard stern seat or tube is not a big deal.

Bonus, when backing up in shallow water holding 15hp outboard partially tilted up and backing towards surf beach while anchor rode is paying out..... Your strong right arm is controlling the tilt ready for full tilt lock up and shut down.
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Old 17-03-2017, 02:37   #6
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Re: Why are Outboards Made to be Operated with the Heft Hand?

I've always seated myself on the port tube and driven with my right hand on the tiller and throttle. Why would you not do so? Works fine for me!

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Old 17-03-2017, 02:45   #7
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pirate Re: Why are Outboards Made to be Operated with the Heft Hand?

Get a tiller extension and then it don't matter...
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Old 17-03-2017, 02:50   #8
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Re: Why are Outboards Made to be Operated with the Heft Hand?

To be honest Jim, I've sat both ways with out problem, but with the tiller/throttle arm offset towards the port tube, I find it more comfortable to sit on Stbd tube and straight arm my left hand across to the tiller while holding on with the stronger right arm.
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Old 17-03-2017, 03:21   #9
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Re: Why are Outboards Made to be Operated with the Heft Hand?

It is easier to twist the throttle towards you with your left hand than it is to twist it away from you with the right.
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Old 17-03-2017, 03:45   #10
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Re: Why are Outboards Made to be Operated with the Heft Hand?

Quote:
Originally Posted by carstenb View Post
ok - truly silly question I suppose.

Outboard engines are made to be operated with the left hand - the throttle is made to be twisted towards yourself when held in the left hand - sitting on the other side of the boat you have to twist the throttle away from yourself using the right hand - awkward.

But when sitting on the starboard side of the boat and using the left hand to work the throttle - you have your back to traffic coming from starboard.

You have to give way to traffic coming from starboard - meaning you are constantly twisting your body and ending up in contorted positions to keep even a mediocre watch.

Why? if the throttle worked the other way - you be facing traffic coming from starboard and you could keep an eye on everything

Is this a case of the manufacturers just not thinking or is there some deep dark maritime secret that noone has told me about

I've always driven using the right hand to control the outboard, its just more intuituive. to speed up you twist the throttle towards you. to slow down and then shift into reverse you just twist the throttle way from you. Granted when sitting on the port tube you have your back to most traffic. I think if you were sitting to starboard and controlling with the left hand you'd constantly be having to roll the grip away from you to speed up.
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Old 17-03-2017, 04:16   #11
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Re: Why are Outboards Made to be Operated with the Heft Hand?

Perhaps:
As a standard right-hand prop turns, the port side (left) of the boat tends to get physically pushed down in the water by 2˚ or 3˚. If the driver is on the starboard side (right) of the boat his weight tends to balance that and make it level.
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Old 17-03-2017, 04:28   #12
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pirate Re: Why are Outboards Made to be Operated with the Heft Hand?

Quote:
Originally Posted by GordMay View Post
Perhaps:
As a standard right-hand prop turns, the port side (left) of the boat tends to get physically pushed down in the water by 2˚ or 3˚. If the driver is on the starboard side (right) of the boat his weight tends to balance that and make it level.
To logical Gord..
That can't be right..!!!
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Old 17-03-2017, 04:28   #13
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Re: Why are Outboards Made to be Operated with the Heft Hand?

Because I cannot operate the damm thing with my right hand.....
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Old 17-03-2017, 05:33   #14
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Re: Why are Outboards Made to be Operated with the Heft Hand?

Most folks I know stand up and have a tiller extension made from a piece of pvc pipe.

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Old 17-03-2017, 05:36   #15
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Re: Why are Outboards Made to be Operated with the Heft Hand?

As a lefty I appreciate the one product on the planet designed for me. So all you whiners can go back to your scissors, three ring binders, ball point pens, number pads on your keyboards, one-piece school desks, can openers, CC swipers (always mounted angled right), measuring tapes (numbers are upside down for lefties) and stop complaining!
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