Features November 2008 Issue

The Hunt is on for a Quality, Well-placed Emergency Tiller

Practical Sailor’s search, 10 years in the making, turns up the good, the bad, and the shiny in emergency tillers, but the ideal arrangement still eludes us.

A decade ago, Practical Sailor editors began scouring boat shows for the perfect emergency tiller and an ideal stowage system for it. Little more than a simple lever arm that attaches to the head of the rudder stock, the emergency tiller is the device a sailor relies on in the event a steering cable parts or there’s some other steering system failure. Our seemingly simple search turned out to be a nearly fruitless enterprise. Boat after boat fell far short of delivering even an average emergency tiller. Here’s a look at our favorites and favorite offenders as well as our criteria for a good emergency tiller and where to keep it.

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