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Old 24-07-2012, 08:16   #16
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Join Date: May 2012
Boat: Tom Thumb 24'
Posts: 9
Re: center-cockpit tiller

Thats great Nickn! I also have a Tom Thumb (24) as well. I didn't build her, but i did buy her cheap and needing lots of work. I plan on doing the work myself (i.e. not hiring out other people to do most of it) And you are the first Tom Thumb owner i have been able to find (online) who is actually currently doing the work on one as well! I found my motivation to do the work in the fact that i have nowhere else to live! Of course i didn't have to start at building the hull. I assume you are building out of mild steel, she looks so shinny in the photos! Will you be building your own rigging? Im in the middle of welding up 5/8 ss rod cleats. and an anchor winch. ripping out the interior and grinding out the light rusting through out the whole hull. Center cockpit sounds brilliant! Are you keeping the rudder external? Those trim tab wind vanes are nice and makeable. but nice to digitally meet you, you can see my tt24 photos in my profile. I'd love ta hear how your project goes. We need a Tom Thumb group page..

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Old 27-07-2012, 22:16   #17
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Join Date: Feb 2012
Posts: 2,441
Re: center-cockpit tiller

Originally Posted by nickn View Post
... it makes sense....Would it be an advantage to have some sort of ratio built in so that 45 degrees on the whipstaff is 30 on the rudder.
Depending what degree of rudder balance you have, it could be worth thinking about, methinks. What you could do is build the link on the torque tube from the tiller long enough for the ratio you want (eg make the radius 45/30 vis a vis the corresponding dimension on the rudder link), but with a hole or holes further in, to make it easy to shorten, if you find during sea trials that the steering needs to be more direct.

Another advantage of a whipstaff is that it makes it much easier to rig steering lines, either round the cabin top (say for docking under sail, single handed) or to connect to the sails (for old-school self steering)

Originally Posted by nickn View Post
As I am building this boat with only 2 berths (one for me on the port tack and the other for me on the starboard tack .. hah..hah) the aft cabin is mine to do with what I like so a shaft doesn't bother me. In fact I wanted to have an emergency tiller inside the aft cabin so I can steer when going sideways and upside down around cape horn (all other conditions I prefer the cockpit).
Yes, the ability to easily fit extra tillers, eg in the aft cabin or on the aft boarding platform, is another big plus. I'm designing such a boat at present, where the tube through the aft cabin (which, as in your proposal, doubles as a foul weather refuge) splits around a 'survival chair', providing foot pedal steering to supplement the conventional self-steering if the watchkeeper senses an imminent broach. In my case, the tube is of substantial diameter, and will also serve as a supplementary cockpit drain. (Flange connections will have O rings).

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Old 28-07-2012, 02:48   #18
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Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: Western Australia
Boat: Tom Thumb 26
Posts: 23
Re: center-cockpit tiller

It's aluminium (or alumiNUM which I believe is very similar )... Originally I was going to build a wooden boat as I was more familiar with fiberglass-epoxy-ply work, but then my son built a small aluminium boat as part of his pre-apprenticeship training and I ended up welding (with a TIG welder) some parts of it while he was recovering from hand injury. TIG welding aluminium is easy if you can use 2 hands. I have done electronic soldering since I was old enough to pick up the cold end of an iron so I found it pretty easy. The best part about aluminium is you can do things that would rust in steel because you don't have to paint it, for example you can use box sections as deck beams.

I will be making my own wooden mast(s), mainly because it is too hard to get deliveries out this way. I got a quote for $1000 for a suitable extrusion and $1500 to deliver it! I'm going for a ketch rig because it seems right with a center cockpit and all the usual advantages. I'm buying second hand sails, that's one good thing about the racing crowd, they throw away good stuff all the time. I'll probably have a bit of a bowsprit and a bit of a platform at the back (if you look at the TT web site you'll see one)

I'll keep the rudder pretty much as in the plans, but I may see if I can balance it just a bit and probably go for the trim tab wind vane.

Glad to see that you are allowed to live aboard even if it is ashore, they seem to have all sorts of funny rules here (in Western Australia). After many years of working out of a garage (that never saw the car) and in the drive, when I moved out here (to the bush), before I even bought any materials, I built a decent shed. I could fit 2 boats side by side and still have about 40sqm of workshop space and there's a 40sqm mezzanine.

Agree with you about a TT group.

and I agree with you about doing as much as possible yourself. My kids (who are somewhat nautical) always have a laugh at some of the youth round the world attempts and say that they should first get a job and pay for at least part of the boat, then be involved in the construction or fitout and they should understand and be able to repair all systems before they leave home.

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