The tiller extension on my 69 sf

Thread starter #1
I hate it. I absolutely hate it. What's the point? I had one on a Hobie 16 where it made sense because those boats are 6 or 8 feet wide (I forget which), so you're rarely within arm's length of the tiller itself. But on the sunfish, you'd have to go overboard to be unable to reach a straight tiller. I want to replace my tiller/extension with a tiller that has the same combined length. Am I missing anything? Any reason not to?
 
#3
JohnCT is correct. When you sail you should be at the front of the cockpit. Sunfish now have hiking straps which you can add. Your 69 has just an extension bolted to the extension. Putting an new extension with a universal, sitting in the front you will find beneficial especially when hiking out and roll tacking.
 

Webfoot1

Active Member
#4
Your butt would get in the way of a non-extension tiller. I always make the non-extension part
of the tiller the full length shown in the plans then shorten it up till it fits my needs. Tiller length
for sailing with two people is shorter than one person. Experiment if you wish since you're only
using a couple dollars worth of wood. Better yet, just tighten the bolt/nut down on the standard
tiller extension and see how it goes.
 
Thread starter #5
These are good points. I sit all the way forward when I can. Maybe it's just that the tiller/extension feels so flimsy. Maybe I'll tighten it down a bit and see how it feels.
I think there's something missing from the whole assembly though because the foremost bolt in part of the assembly that's attached to the boat is wearing a pretty deep groove in the bottom of the tiller.
 

Webfoot1

Active Member
#6
Factory just drilled holes in the wood and did not use any bushings for
the bolt holes. I put brass bushings (3) in all the pivot bolts on my
rudders. They don't wear and the wood never splits. I don't think
the Sunfish were built with the expectation of individual boats operating
for as long as they have.
 
Thread starter #7
I'm not sure we're talking about the same thing, but I couldn't agree more. The lack of inside access and the idea of using a polystyrene block as a stringer alone makes it pretty clear these were more or less disposable. It's nice they've gone along for 60 or so years though. Mine's almost fifty years old and I put it through a fairly heavy stress test yesterday -- sailed through a squall line with 20kt gusts and two foot seas and it came out the other side in one piece.
 

beldar boathead

Well-Known Member
#9
the idea of using a polystyrene block as a stringer alone makes it pretty clear these were more or less disposable. It's nice they've gone along for 60 or so years though. Mine's almost fifty years old and I put it through a fairly heavy stress test yesterday
Obviously they were and are not meant to be disposable. It's not by accident these boats last almost forever. They were designed back when things were not disposable. They were and are designed to be easy to use, reliable and not very expensive. Your experience proves that they have been built to last.
 

Webfoot1

Active Member
#10
Like any product they were engineered to hit a acceptable price point
for their market niche. The majority have long exceeded the expected
life-time and that why we end up with inspection ports, replacing
rotten backing blocks and split hull seams. On the whole, they
have outlasted the wooden boats that came before. No reason why
many will still be sailing in 30 years if people are willing to do
a little work to keep them going. I think it was Time Magazine
that listed the Sunfish as one of the 40 best products built
in America. I'd put the Sunfish near the top of the list
along with the Telecaster guitar for best American inventions.
 

LaLi

Active Member
#12
Am I missing anything?
Well... nothing but the core idea of dinghy sailing, which is to balance (and steer) the boat with the weight of the sailor(s). You're actually close to getting the point when you say:
you'd have to go overboard to be unable to reach a straight tiller.
That's what sailing a non-ballasted monohull is quite a bit of the time: keeping your body weight as far as possible from the centreline of the boat, and not only should you reach a straight tiller from that position but also one that is angled way to leeward! Unless your arms are longer than most people are tall, you need something in between there...

This could become a very long post as we're talking something this fundamental, but I'll just give you one tip: if you want to improve both space and reachability, don't shorten the extension but the tiller. One counterintuitive thing about tiller/extension geometry is that a shorter tiller is easier to reach, which is because you don't have to move the end as much for a given rudder angle.
 
Thread starter #16
Well... nothing but the core idea of dinghy sailing, which is to balance (and steer) the boat with the weight of the sailor(s). You're actually close to getting the point when you say:That's what sailing a non-ballasted monohull is quite a bit of the time: keeping your body weight as far as possible from the centreline of the boat, and not only should you reach a straight tiller from that position but also one that is angled way to leeward! Unless your arms are longer than most people are tall, you need something in between there...

This could become a very long post as we're talking something this fundamental, but I'll just give you one tip: if you want to improve both space and reachability, don't shorten the extension but the tiller. One counterintuitive thing about tiller/extension geometry is that a shorter tiller is easier to reach, which is because you don't have to move the end as much for a given rudder angle.
This is a good point! I will think more about this before I change anything.
 
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