Introduction: Replacement Tiller Extension

Picture of Replacement Tiller Extension

Recently I was given a small secondhand sailing dinghy. It was pretty much complete but was missing the tiller extension which allows you to steer the boat while sitting up the front.

Now boats being boats everything about them seems to be more expensive than they need to, so of course to replace the tiller extension was more than I wanted to spend. (I'm cheap). For example

Tiller extension

So I wondered if there was a cheaper way of doing it and it turns out there was! I made this for less than half of what a new one would cost.

This is my first instructable and I forgot to take pictures for most of it! Sorry about that.

Step 1: Parts Needed

  • The first thing I needed to find was the universal joint. These are rubber connectors that allow the extension to move around. My boat had a fitting for what looked like a Ronstan tiller extension so I purchased one of these: Universal Joint

You could also use a piece of rope if you wanted to.

  • I also picked up a 1m length of 16mm Aluminium tubing from my local hardware store. Aluminium tubing

You could also use some carbon fibre tubing if you wanted for lightness, but the aluminium seems pretty light.

  • Now the genuine tiller extensions have some nice foam padding on the end, for comfort I guess. I wanted something similar but couldn't figure out how to do it. Then one day while searching for quadcopter parts (another hobby) on bangood I found these Landing skid foam
  • I also got some chair end caps for the end of the tiller extension to keep water out and to help it float. I think they were 16mm end cap

Tools needed:

  • A hacksaw
  • An electric drill and drill bits
  • A heat gun or lighter

Step 2: Cut the Tubing (Optional)

I used a hacksaw to cut the tubing to 840mm which is the length of the original tiller extension. But if you want to keep the 1m length I'm sure that is fine.

Step 3: Install the Universal Joint

Picture of Install the Universal Joint

Ok so to install the universal joint, you need to first slide the plastic cap pictured over the rubber joint itself.

Then insert the round end of the rubber joint into the aluminium tubing.

Included with the universal joint kit will be a metal pin. Find a drill bit just slightly larger than it. Drill a hole through the side of the aluminium tube at the end where the rubber joint is inserted, making sure you drill through the rubber to the other side of the tube. Don't remove the drillbit from the tiller extension! Remove the drillbit from the chuck instead.

Now if you left the drill bit in the extension you can use the metal pin to push out the drill bit. This will make it easier to install the pin.

Once the pin is installed take the included heat shrink and slide it over the extension to cover the pin and joint between the rubber and the aluminium tube. Take your heat gun or lighter and shrink the heat shrink.

Here is a link to a good video (not mine) on how to install the universal joint https://youtu.be/Q60qyJ0hVLc

Step 4: Foam Handle and End Cap

Picture of Foam Handle and End Cap

On the other end of the tiller extension slide on one of the foam landing gear cover thingys and then put on the end cap.

Now your new tiller extension is finished! Time to attach it to the rudder.

Step 5: Installing the New Tiller Extension!

Picture of Installing the New Tiller Extension!

So if your tiller still has the socket attached like mine, installing the tiller extension is as simple as sliding the rubber end into the side of the socket as in the second picture. Then clip the plastic cap into place!

Step 6: Finished!

Picture of Finished!

And there you have it a finished tiller extension! Go forth and sail!

Comments

seamster (author)2016-01-13

Very nicely done! Any photos of your boat?

I'm not too familiar with sailing, but I've got a buddy with a large sailboat that I've helped him fix a couple things on. It's staggering how much money he's poured into that thing!

toasthall (author)seamster2016-01-13

Thanks for that! I've added some pictures of the boat to the intro. It's only a small (3m) boat and I haven't gotten to sail it yet but I am looking forward to it. Going to build a trailer for is soon.

Its amazing how anything to do with boats is automatically expensive, but if you hunt around you can usually find what you need cheap. One thing I haven't found cheap for sail boats yet is the halyard ropes, I got some from the local hardware store but it was too stretchy!

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