How do I made a tiller comb or tiller lock for a smaller sailboat

Discussion in 'Sailboats' started by Zammie, Mar 5, 2015.

  1. Zammie
    Joined: Feb 2015
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    Zammie New Member

    Hello all. I have an older Snipe sailboat and REALLY need to be able to temporarily lock down that tiller (for sail adjustments, grab a new beer, man over board, etc...) I found this sample (see link below) but would like to consider other affordable options and see what you brilliant minds are thinking & doing!

    Cheers mate. Jason
    [​IMG]
     
  2. PAR
    Joined: Nov 2003
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    Tiller combs have been around for generations and making one up, shouldn't prove a terribly difficult engineering problem or fabrication project. They also have manufactured products, such as the "tiller tamer" and the like. For what it's worth, you should never (NEVER) lock down the tiller for MOB operations. The image above shows an excessive amount of comb, which just isn't reasonable. You only need enough comb to hold the helm at about 5 degrees to the centerline. That one looks like it could hold a 30 degree helm deflection, which is way over the top in terms of need.
     
  3. gonzo
    Joined: Aug 2002
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    gonzo Senior Member

    Traditionally, you hold the tiller with your foot or between your legs. Locking the tiller on a centerboard dinghy is never a good idea.
     
  4. PAR
    Joined: Nov 2003
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    In light air locking down the tiller isn't problematic, though most do it anyway, in spite of the potential issues. The same is true of cleating sheets, most do it, in spite of the potential issues. Everyone learns this lesson once they have to chase down a runaway boat, with it's sheet cleated and just after they've decided to inadvertently self practice a MOB drill.
     
  5. philSweet
    Joined: May 2008
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    philSweet Senior Member

    For casual sailing, a larger rudder is the single best thing you could do. Next comes a tiller extension. Mine was just a 1/2 x 1/2 strip of mahogany attached with a lashing to a hole drilled in the tiller. The extension allows you to take the tiller with you for 3 feet (or be 3 feet closer to it, at least). Lastly, you probably already have some way of locking the tiller for transport or when leaving the boat at the dock. I used a bungee straight down to the floor frame. The tiller had an eye on its underside. If the gf and I were dallying our way across the Florida Bay in light air for three hours with cameras, binoculars, tunes, and a couple of lines out, that bungee did just fine.
     
  6. Zammie
    Joined: Feb 2015
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    Zammie New Member

  7. tdem
    Joined: Oct 2013
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    tdem Senior Member

    You can just have a bungy/elastic that runs across the width of the cockpit underneath the tiller. When you want to lock it down take a turn or two around the tiller.
     
  8. OrcaSea
    Joined: Oct 2014
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    OrcaSea Senior Member

    I'm not close to rigging my 16' yet, but this is something I have been spending a lot of time thinking about.

    I will almost always be single handing my little boat, and I have wondered about tiller control while trying to adjust the vang or luff tension or jib block position, etc., on a boat when those things are not all ran through blocks, etc., to a central location.

    It certainly makes good safety sense to never cleat the main sheet, etc., but I can't see a way to not have some sort of temp friction lock, etc., on the tiller and properly trim & adjust while single handed and trying to keep a simple/inexpensive rig...? If there are ways to do it I'd love some pointers!
     

  9. coachjpg
    Joined: Jul 2018
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    Location: Boston

    coachjpg New Member

    [​IMG] '61 Friendship Sloop, 25' on deck.
     
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