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Beginner Technique

How do you pull in the sail beyond your arms length without taking your hand off of the tiller. Yesterday, I was wedging the tiller against the side of my thigh, but this was a bit dicey. Had a great day sailing the minifish. 14-16 knots all afternoon. It's nice to have as much wind as you want when you want it.
 

Cactus Cowboy

Well-Known Member
That's a nice bit o' breeze there... I like the 15-20 knot range, things never get dull that way, lol. As for sheeting in your main, make like a belayer in technical rock climbing and repeatedly bring lengths of line to your other hand while it's on the fore end of the tiller (or even on the extension). Alternately, tuck the fore end of your tiller under your knee or wherever, and haul line as fast as ya can with both hands... shouldn't take long to sheet 'er in as far as necessary. :rolleyes:
 
Ohhh that makes sense. It was a bit hairy to take your hand off the tiller with the boat heeled over and water splashing over the coaming. Now if I can just get my tacks a little less frantic, I'll be golden.
 

RogerMusser

Member
Two-handed trimming, while one of the hands is minding the tiller extension, is challenging. Best to practice on days with light winds. I couldn’t find any tutorials on Youtube, anyone seen any?
 

Sailflow

Active Member
I race a sunfish so it has a rachet. The tiller extension reaches to the front of the cockpit. Front leg is at the front of the cockpit. Both hands can be in front of you so it is easy to use both hands. In heavy air my tiller hand holds the sheet, my front hand is working the sail and between them is some slack line for easing in the puffs to keep the boat from heeling.
 
Here's a video clip and another of two handed trimming. Would have missed it if I didn't know what to look for. I can see why you need a universal joint as it makes it easier to bring your tiller hand forward in order to belay the rope. Sheesh tiller extensions ain't cheap. If I bought the universal joint, has anyone ever DIY'd the extension itself?
 

Wavedancer

Upside down?
Staff member
Sheesh tiller extensions ain't cheap. If I bought the universal joint, has anyone ever DIY'd the extension itself?
A Ronstan Battlestick (extension) is about $50, but they last a long long time and add value to the boat.
For the DIY group, one can make an extension from a (broken) golf club, fishing rod, bamboo pole etc.
 

RogerMusser

Member
Our sailing club, with 9 seaworthy Sunfish boats in the fleet has quite a few shabby tiller extensions. If we just had one Sunfish it would not be such a burden to get a new, quality tiller extension but I hesitate to ask the club to spend hundreds of dollars on new tiller extensions. Plus, many of our 420 and Flying Scot tiller extensions could use a re-fresh.
Can anyone that has made their own tiller extensions recommend a source of economical parts? They seem to be fairly simple; some sturdy tubing, suitable grips, and some end caps.
 

beldar boathead

Well-Known Member
Is there a ski shop that could give you broken or non-matching ski poles they have on hand? Wood worked on Sunfish originally so you could consider wood too. Someone may know where to get bulk anodized tubing to cut to size.
 

Fremont

Active Member
I added a 24" bungee hooked into the bridal eyelets with a wrap around my tiller. It tames the tiller a lot! When Matt and I were up on Lake Superior a couple of weeks ago, he saw me struggling every time I tacked or tried to sheet in, couldn't release the tiller for a second.
 

Sailflow

Active Member
As a racer, we never let go of the extension or sheet as you are no longer in control. The longer extension helps with roll tacks and sheeting. It allows you better control to keep the boat driving forwards under control.
 
Ok, sounds like a good 1st upgrade for the minifish. I've never seen a universal tiller extension, but there seems to be multiple ways for the extension to connect to the universal. The Ronston stick seems to have a mounting pad that screws/bolts to the universal. This seems tricky to DYI. Is there an extension that slips inside a receiver on the universal? This seems easiest if you can find the right diameter rod. Any recommendation on a universal that would be easiest to DYI.
 

Sailflow

Active Member
The ronstan universal kit contains several pieces. A piece with a curve bottom and a flat top
that goes on the tiller to give it flat surface. Then the mount and screw both to the tiller. The universial will slide into the mount from the side. Next it is the cap that holds it all together. There is a pin and a heat shrink material when the universial is inserted in the extension you drill a hole put the pin in and heat shrink it. If you want to change the extension pop the cover slide the extension out. If you buy a new extension it will have the universal installed but not the base and there are different bases.
 

Wavedancer

Upside down?
Staff member
It's really very easy; even I could do it!
Just make sure the universal and the extension are of the same brand.
After the install wrap tape around to make sure it all stays together.
Not too long ago, I had one come apart during a regatta and had to retire because one can't be competitive without the extension.:eek:
 

Weston

Well-Known Member
Our sailing club, with 9 seaworthy Sunfish boats in the fleet has quite a few shabby tiller extensions. If we just had one Sunfish it would not be such a burden to get a new, quality tiller extension but I hesitate to ask the club to spend hundreds of dollars on new tiller extensions. Plus, many of our 420 and Flying Scot tiller extensions could use a re-fresh.
Can anyone that has made their own tiller extensions recommend a source of economical parts? They seem to be fairly simple; some sturdy tubing, suitable grips, and some end caps.
I used old ski poles. $5 on Craigslist
 
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lckeffer

Member
Ronstan joint is the best. But, a bit of line through a ski pole, or golf club handle can be attached to the tiller with a hole drilled in the tiller. Put the line all the way through the pole or club, put a knot in the handle end, drill the tiller, put the line through the tiller and tie off. Cheap and easy, but don't expect it to last long. Alternatively, you could lash any kind of stick to the tiller end in a pinch.
 

Weston

Well-Known Member
Ronstan joint is the best. But, a bit of line through a ski pole, or golf club handle can be attached to the tiller with a hole drilled in the tiller. Put the line all the way through the pole or club, put a knot in the handle end, drill the tiller, put the line through the tiller and tie off. Cheap and easy, but don't expect it to last long. Alternatively, you could lash any kind of stick to the tiller end in a pinch.
I found that the inside diameter of most golf club shafts is too small to fit around the Ronstan universal mount (14mm or 0.55”). However, the inside diameter of the ski poles that I found worked perfectly. They are larger in diameter.

here are some photos with measurements that may help

26287EA2-CA64-41FE-A92F-AF8469E95C08.jpeg

ski pole on top
Golf club shaft on bottom

521C5B48-60C1-439A-AADC-81F46397BC6A.jpeg
 

Weston

Well-Known Member
Is that a digital micrometer or measuring gauge? Damn, now I'm jealous... that thing would come in handy for measuring the thickness of the steaks I throw on the BBQ, lol. :cool:
I’m imagining you grilling Fred Flintstone sized steaks where you wouldn’t need a caliper like this, Cactus. I can even imagine you strapping a hibachi to your Minifish or Laser as you sneak off for a secret landing at South Coronado. Do I have that about right? ;)
 

L&VW

Well-Known Member
There is a pin and a heat shrink material when the universial is inserted in the extension you drill a hole put the pin in and heat shrink it. If you want to change the extension pop the cover slide the extension out. If you buy a new extension it will have the universal installed but not the base and there are different bases.
You'll need a "heat gun". Boiling water or hair dryers don't get hot enough. Propane torches, although hot enough, require a lot of care to get an even "shrink".

Heat guns are about $12 at Harbor Freight. :cool:
 

gzblack2

Well-Known Member
Here's a video clip and another of two handed trimming. Would have missed it if I didn't know what to look for. I can see why you need a universal joint as it makes it easier to bring your tiller hand forward in order to belay the rope. Sheesh tiller extensions ain't cheap. If I bought the universal joint, has anyone ever DIY'd the extension itself?
I recently sold a boat that had a diy golf club shaft tiller extension. I immediately regretted selling that one. I’ll be replacing that ASAP, already have a couple old shafts, now just need the time.
I’ve never done it myself but I’ve heard small diameter pvc can be used as a cheap tiller extension.
Really any tube with the right inside diameter should work.
 

gzblack2

Well-Known Member
Btw the inside diameter of 1/2” pvc is .602.
Might give this a shot also being its very inexpensive, plus it’ll probably work as a coupler joint on the above mentioned golf shaft.
 

L&VW

Well-Known Member
I recently sold a boat that had a diy golf club shaft tiller extension. I immediately regretted selling that one. I’ll be replacing that ASAP, already have a couple old shafts, now just need the time. I’ve never done it myself but I’ve heard small diameter pvc can be used as a cheap tiller extension. Really any tube with the right inside diameter should work.
My tiller extension needs are already settled; however, short sections of PVC, suitably prepared and bonded, would make good adapters.

Not a golfer, but If I were to sacrifice a golf putter as a Sunfish extension, I'd look for a putter made of wood. (Preferably oak or ash). ;)

Well, maybe there aren't any wood putters out there that haven't been splintered around a tree? :oops:
 

Cactus Cowboy

Well-Known Member
I’m imagining you grilling Fred Flintstone sized steaks where you wouldn’t need a caliper like this, Cactus. I can even imagine you strapping a hibachi to your Minifish or Laser as you sneak off for a secret landing at South Coronado. Do I have that about right? ;)
Steak size is correct, lol, and I had the grill available, but on those island voyages, ballast was a major concern, and so was the limited size of the Laser cockpit, little more than a footbath. Didn't want smoke to be seen, and there's such a thing as "light discipline" at night... remember, one is supposed to have permission from the Mexican gubmint to land on the Coronados. What I usually did was prepare gourmet food for the voyage, doing the grilling at the ol' hacienda prior to making each voyage. Many a time on the islands, I'd unwrap a big ol' burly sandwich or honkin' burrito that could feed a family of four... with the burritos, the hot peppers served to heat that $h!t up pronto, no Hibachi required, lol. Ah, those were good times... I still think it'd be difficult to duplicate those voyages nowadays, with 'los marinos y los marineros de la Armada de Mexico' down on pinche gringos more than ever. If you were caught out there today without the requisite permission, you'd probably see automatic boat confiscation and Tijuana jail time... cue the Pistols tune 'NO FUN!!!' :eek:

Meh, I'm happy right where I am, living in Redneck Paradise, lol... I'm off to post some pics of my cats at another site where I hang out, CHEERS!!! :cool:
 
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beldar boathead

Well-Known Member
You'll need a "heat gun". Boiling water or hair dryers don't get hot enough. Propane torches, although hot enough, require a lot of care to get an even "shrink".

Heat guns are about $12 at Harbor Freight. :cool:
Would a candle be hot enough?
 

L&VW

Well-Known Member
Would a candle be hot enough?
Certainly, but the result is often rough, and wisps of carbon-black can be left on the finished product. (As are accidental tip-overs, burning wax--and candles are often cited as a major risk for devastating house fires).

While butane lighters are convenient, my metal-shop instructor forbade every student from carrying one in our work shop.

"It's a stick of dynamite in your pocket"! :eek:

The heat-gun gives a clean, even, (and HOT) heat, and has many safe uses.

In many Florida locales, outside burning of brush is allowed. A heat-gun gets kindling dry--and a blaze underway.

Much more:

 
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