Chandlery April 2008 Issue

A New Tiller Tool

Practical Steer-iT slips into place where your tillerpilot would fit.

They say necessity is the mother of invention, and that is surely true in the case of the Steer-iT, a well-conceived device that keeps a tiller fixed in one position, yet allows it to be repositioned easily. Douglas Hicks, inventor of the Steer-iT, owns an Irwin 27 with a balanced rudder that refuses to stay put long when the boat is under power.

The Steer-iT
The Steer-iT requires just two drilled holes for a typical installation.

After some experimenting with design and materials, the Steer-iT was born. The Steer-iT looks like a tillerpilot without the motor. In fact, it connects to the boat (stainless steel pin slipping into bronze socket) and tiller (socket snapping onto a male pin on tiller) using the same size fittings as standard tillerpilots. The key element is the tensioner, a steel donut with an adjustment knob threaded across a slit at the top. The donut pivots vertically on a yoke, and since the yoke also rotates horizontally in its female socket, it functions as a universal joint. The steering arm is a slippery, UV-resistant acetal plastic rod that slides through the yoke. One of three holes can be used to fit the rod over the male pin on the tiller. A twist of the knob on the tensioner adjusts the amount of friction that keeps the tiller in place. We found it easy to dial in enough friction so that the skipper can still make minor course corrections without loosening the knob.

The steering arms come in two lengths: short (29 inches) for $50 and long (38 inches) for $55.

Bottom Line:

Easy to fit and ruggedly built, the Steer-iT is a worthy entry into the field of tiller taming devices.

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