Tiller tamer?

Thread starter #1
I've been thinking of adding a Tiller Tamer and was wondering about others' experience with it. Probably the only times I'd use it is when hove to or when I need to keep the tiller neutral when paddling back to the dock (no motor for me!). Have those who have one found them useful? Where have you attached the ends of the lines? Used clam cleats or...?
tiller tamer

I double a bungee cord around the forward end of the tiller (secured by the hiking stick) and connect it to the main sail binnacle post. Simple, and it works. --Dave
Thread starter #3
Yeah, I've done that sort of thing too. Works for keeping the tiller in a neutral position, but I'd also like to be able to hold it to one side of the other (like when heaving to).
How long can you actually heave to in this boat? In my experience it falls of right away and I would not be comfortable leaving the helm like you could in something larger, the weight shift alone is enough to cause it to move, maybe my sails are not trimmed correctly when I try?
Thread starter #5
You know, as I think about it I don't recall heaving to in this boat. I've done it in a larger keel boat and assumed that I could in the C14, but maybe not. If it's not possible, then I'm worrying about nothing and I'll just go back to using a bungee to the barney post, which is fine for keeping the tiller in a neutral position. Save some money!! Thanks!!
I've never tried to heave to in this boat, either, think I'll give it a try next sail. I'm wondering why the same opposing forces of backwinded jib vs. tiller in the standard heave to maneuver wouldn't work on our Capris?? These boats are very responsive. My one and only capsize came when I got sloppy retrieving lunch from the cuddy and I don't plan on repeating that mistake so an HT would seem worth a try.

Also, I'm thinking you could use a short bungee to hold the tiller hard over if that's mostly what you wanted the tiller tamer for. I sure wouldn't try a tiller tamer if there were gusts or unpredictable wind direction changes when I sailed. I'm constantly tweeking tiller and sheet in those conditions. That's the price for speed and handling.

When I needed to keep the heavy truck tarp I cover with off the teak on my mod one after varnishing, I ran bungees on either side down from the sidestays at the spreader boots and hooked them under the lip on deck/hull seam. Mine's a mod one and the lip is thick and deep. There are bungees with plastic hooks that would be unlikely to damage the finish. I use them to draw the tarp close and tight under the boat, else I get kiddie pools as it fills and sags into the cockpit from Florida rains and that water gets darned heavy.
Thread starter #8
Thanks, Paul. Good to know that we don't need to reinvent the wheel! I'm anxious to give it a try next time on the water. I wonder if kdub's problem is that his jib's not fully sheeted in before tacking. Also, I was interested to see that Ed Jones' method didn't involve lashing the tiller to leeward. I was taught that to heave to you're actually making "two tacks"; the first made leaving the jib to wind (on the "wrong side"), the second (which isn't completed, leaving you hove to) by pushing the tiller over to leeward after the tack. When done it in a larger boat, I've secured the tiller in that position, but Ed seems to say that isn't necessary ("You can take your hand off the tiller if you wish, as the boat will sail slowly and peacefully along like a little duckling, but making a lot of leeway"). Is that right? He also brings up a good point that should be recalled by anyone trying this; be sure you have plenty of room to drift leeward before you heave to!
Yeah, I'm kinda jazzed about trying this myself now. I looked up the procedure in the American Sailing Assoc. beginner's manual and they say to lash the tiller aleeward, so it will be interesting to see the results both ways.

I noticed that on 2006 thread on this Paul linked us to, the words "heave to" are never used, and it was not tagged at all, so I added that to the tags for future seekers.
it's actually fun

I did it today, it worked fine in both very light wind and 10 mph gusts, and it did not require lashing the tiller aleeward -- I just had to push it hard over and it pretty much stayed there by itself. I probably was heaved-to (hoved?? I dunno) for 10 minutes and even without the tiller secured and the wind gusting the boat felt stable enough that I was comfortable standing up forward to straighten and adjust control lines at the mast.

In that time I'd guess I moved downwind maybe 250 feet. I think the stronger wind even pinned the tiller hard over more. I do think I'd need to try it a few more times with the handle just pushed over before I feel confident that it's truly safe that way.

It's kind of a weird feeling. As described in that linked post from 2006, the boat sort of "waddles" and just slips along. When the wind is light you hardly move, when it picked up it was a little disconcerting at first, but it was a basically a gentle movement and once the balance circuits got adjusted to the boat sort of tacking itself, it was really a rather pleasant experience. And, with the mainsheet completely loose, the main was sort of in the wind shadow of the jib so it was only luffing lightly. The main may even serve like the tail on a wind vane and add in some stabilizing effect of it's own.

A nice way to take a break and one more way this boat performs admirably.

jim / so. fla. / 1857 toshita
Thread starter #13
Thanks for the feedback! I thought this should work with our boats, but admittedly, I've never tried it in anything smaller than a 27 ft keel boat. Also good to know that you don't have to secure the tiller to lee. I'm anxious to try it too, but water temps are still pretty nippy in the upper Midwest. Hope to be able to get on the water by the end of the month, however.
Yes, the board stayed all the way down, and now that you mention it, probably contributed to the stability. Can't think of any reason to, or benefit from, raising it. Am I overlooking something??
Thread starter #16
No, I think you're exactly right. With the CB all the way down, I'd expect less leeward drift and better stability. I just wanted to make sure that I wasn't missing something!