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Recently bought an older Sunfish, confusion over the Tiller (and lack of extension)

DerScuple

New Member
Hi guys, brand new to the forums and hoping maybe an expert could help me out!

I recently bought an older Sunfish for a very good price and can't wait to get it out on the lake in this coming week. Everything seems to be in very good shape, especially for the price, however the only issue I have is the Tiller. The rudder is in very good shape, but the tiller seems to be this strange Extendable rod and there is no tiller extension.

I am brand new to Sunfish sailing, I've only sailed 420s and Lasers at my club, so I figured maybe this was just a Sunfish thing. But upon more googling and youtube-ing, I've seen pleanty of Sunfish's with normal looking tillers and tiller extensions.

When fully extended, it measures about 42 inches from the base of the rudder to the front.

I've attached a few photo's. Would this work for sailing? Or should I look into ordering a proper tiller and tiller extension?
 

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klemsaba

Member
Welcome!

That’s a homemade tiller probablly from some sort of painting handle. I would be concerned how well it would hold up in stronger winds especially when extended. A proper tiller and extension with a universal joint would be safer and more convenient in all types of conditions.
 

DerScuple

New Member
Welcome!

That’s a homemade tiller probablly from some sort of painting handle. I would be concerned how well it would hold up in stronger winds especially when extended. A proper tiller and extension with a universal joint would be safer and more convenient in all types of conditions.
It feels fairly sturdy but yes that was my very first concern as well.

I will have to reach out to the person I bought it from - maybe they still have the original on hand or maybe its even in the boat cockpit. It's still in storage at my city since I still need to move it up to my folks house at the lake.

If not, are there any tips I should look for when buying a new one?

I've been watching videos and there seems to be a lot of options from varying prices as well. I don't think I would want wood, maybe a battlestick from Ronstan?
 

klemsaba

Member
Wood is the old standby. All 3 of my tillers are wood and original from ‘83, ‘74, and ‘68. I don’t know if the aluminum ones are better or worse.

It’s hard to tell from the photo in the link but I would think it should just swap out with one single bolt currently used on the rudder blade.
 

DerScuple

New Member
Wood is the old standby. All 3 of my tillers are wood and original from ‘83, ‘74, and ‘68. I don’t know if the aluminum ones are better or worse.

It’s hard to tell from the photo in the link but I would think it should just swap out with one single bolt currently used on the rudder blade.
Thats kind of what I'm thinking as well the more research I'm doing. The Rudder is in great shape, it might even be a recent purchase. (the pervious owner did say about replacing a lot of the parts over the years)

I think I'll shop around on that site and maybe send them a message about the Tiller I linked earlier or maybe they can recommend something else? I'm really not picky at this point, my skill level is pretty novice so Its not like I need racing level gear. Not yet anyway lol

I have new ash tillers with aluminum or carbon fiber tiller extensions. Contact me via PM or cjo1023 at yahoo dot com.
Ty I sent you a PM!
 

shorefun

Active Member
I am finding the 33" tiller extensions may be a bit too long unless you are always going to be hanging over the edge.
 

Sailflow

Active Member
Shorefun it depends on how you sail. I race so my extension is longer. I always sit at the front cockpit with the extension in front of me. I also having a hiking strap so in winds I still have the extension in front and I can sheet with both hands.
 
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