Outboard. tiller or steering wheel

Discussion in 'Boat Design' started by FISHALOT, May 5, 2013.

  1. FISHALOT
    Joined: Jul 2012
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    FISHALOT Junior Member

    I am in the middle of rebuilding my 16' aluminum bass tracker. Its time to start thinking of what type of motor to get. I was think of a tiller handle type to save alot of floor space not having the console, or just going with the whole steering wheel thing. what are some of your thoughts and opinions? thanks for your time.
     
  2. Ike
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    Ike Senior Member

    A bass tracker what? They make everything from jon boats to super fast bass boats.
     
  3. messabout
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    messabout Senior Member

    If you go with modest power and sensible speed then the tiller is the clear most practical winner. If you are a speed demon and you are thinking big power, then a steering system is prudent.
     
  4. dskira

    dskira Previous Member

    I find the steering wheel on the side of the boat give a more natural position for the helmsman. No need for console, the wheel and the shift are on the side, the wheel not been at-warship but lengthwise against the side.
    I find tiller are uncomfortable on outboard. And to much weight on the transom.
     
  5. Ike
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    Ike Senior Member

    What type of steering you use depends a lot on the size of the engine. The size of the engine depends on the length and breadth (at the transom) of the boat, the transom height, and they type of boat. (flat bottom, or not flat bottom). Anything above 50 HP you don't want tiller steering. Too much torque to overcome. If you go with wheel a center console might be a good choice.
     
  6. FISHALOT
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    FISHALOT Junior Member

    Thanks for all everyone input. It is a 1648 all aluminum. ive taken all the wood out. Im looking for a 40-50hp. Ike i think your right. I didnt think about the amount of torque that would have.
     
  7. Mr Efficiency
    Joined: Oct 2010
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    Mr Efficiency Senior Member

    I think Mercury has "big tiller" control engines to 250 hp, which might make for an interesting experience ! :p
     
  8. PAR
    Joined: Nov 2003
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    Tiller steering has limitations, mostly trim related on small craft. It would be helpful if you could post a photo of the boat and list it's general equipment and configuration.
     
  9. michael pierzga
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    michael pierzga Senior Member

    Tillers are preferred for close in precise work. After 30 or 40 hp a tiller becomes dangerous.

    On a small skiff with low power the main benifit of a console steering wheel is weight distribution. . If you are building a boat for tiller steering be sure to keep weight...battery, fuel, junk out of the stern . Trim ballast forward may be desirable on a tiller skiff.
     
  10. whitepointer23

    whitepointer23 Previous Member

    steering wheel and comfortable seat for travelling any distance but I do like the simplicity of tillers. as far as tillers being dangerous above 50 hp , that is not correct. as mr e said, there are large outboards available and I am sure if there was a high risk they would not be on the market. the large motors have power tiller steering to overcome torque and there are aftermarket torque limiters which bolt to the steering tube on tiller motors. even without that, if your trim tab is set right the boat will continue in a straight line if you let go of the tiller.
     
  11. PAR
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    I don't think a tiller is acceptable on anything other than "portable" engines. Sure, you can mount a hefty and long enough tiller on anything, maybe a small block Chevy mud motor for some, but for most, sitting at a helm, with controls and gauges at the ready, is a much easier way to live.
     
  12. messabout
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    messabout Senior Member

    ^^ sage advice from PAR.

    The real criteria is the expected speed. A few degrees of tiller input at 20 Mph is a helluva lot different than the same few degrees at 50 MPh. If the tiller is long enough the trig will keep you from over doing steering input. Never mind,..... small engine = tiller, big engine = console steering.
     
  13. Easy Rider
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    Easy Rider Senior Member

    Where I've spent the last 7 years there are many skiffs on the bay and most all use tillers. I think they consider you some kind of sissy if you use anything else. I have a fairly heavy 16' aluminum skiff with a 40 e-tech. You can see in the pic that the tiller is very long. I've concluded Evinrude made it that way because of the strong torque from the engine that also comes in a 60hp version. Actually the high torque is mostly created by the low gear ratio and big prop. See big prop in 3rd pic. As you change the tilt angle fairly large changes are felt on the tiller arm. There is so much torque on my boat that when I'm alone in the boat in the stbd stern position (usual for OBs) my weight is insufficient to keep the boat level. The stbd side rides high. You can see where I sit on the red cushion.

    An OB w a higher gear ratio and smaller prop would feel less torque effects. A jet OB w no prop has no torque effect and very big engines can be used.

    I've read the word dangerous several times above and there is definitely bad things that can happen w a tiller that basically don't w a helm.
    One can turn very much faster than w a helm. Too fast for sea conditions and the capabilities of the boat to safely respond. Some boats can slide, trip and roll. Others can wind up going backwards. But probably the biggest danger is loosing your grip on the tiller handle. A domino effect of all the physical forces involved can lead to a wildly out of control boat. But in 7 years I have heard of no accidents related to the OB tiller handle.

    A big advantage of a fwd mounted helm (as already mentioned) is that of a much better balanced boat.
    The helmsman of a tiller OB sits sideways and can see the beach (or whatever) easily but to see to port ones neck needs to turn uncomfortably far. And evev looking straight ahead one's neck is twisted quite a bit. After a time the neck gets sore. For this reason the tiller should be used only for short trips. With a long tiller like the $700 Evinrude tiller one can stand further fwd than most tillers would allow and go 20 miles or so in relative comfort. A post to hold on to or a large dia line increases safety and comfort both.

    All that said I'm looking fwd to putting a helm in my boat w hydraulic steering.
     

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  14. whitepointer23

    whitepointer23 Previous Member

    one steering option that gets overlooked is the side mounted stick with fore and aft movement for left and right, I don't know the proper name for it but a modernized version could work well in a small boat and still give the space of a tiller steered boat.
     

  15. Ike
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    Ike Senior Member

    It's called stick steering and is popular in the bayous of Louisiana and in Florida, as well as a few other places. I have never tried it but I have talked to people who swear by it.
     
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