Last fall I got a call from a good friend who said he was about to sail singlehanded from Petersburg, AK to Port Townsend, WA taking the "outside" route non-stop. A few days later I was on a plane with my foulies and a sea anchor in my bag for what was to become one of the most gorgeous trips I've ever taken.
The boat is a beautiful wooden gaff ketch, but we were just two crew and headed offshore without a wind vane, but luckily, we had splurged on ten feet of surgical tubing just before we left, and before we'd put the islands of Haida gwai in our wake we had the tubing set up to stear the boat:
(Video of sheet to tiller in action using jib sheet)
Upon return we celebrated with a little water skiing. My parents always bragged about pulling a water skier behind their M-scow, so with a good fresh breeze we had to give it a try.
After scheming and dreaming a bit this winter we have a new(?) idea.
The big problem with sheet to tiller is all the lines strewn through the cockpit and all the added friction from the blocks that we use to reverse the pull.
So, with some input from a shipwrights and a naval architect, the new idea is to build an extension of the tiller behind the rudder post possibly with a horizontal member that runs athwartships. This would allow for not only a fair lead and a clear cockpit but also the ability to adjust the leverage by moving your point of attachment to the lever arm - not to mention, this should cost about $40, instead of 4000. I haven't seen this done before, though it seems like such a simple idea I'm sure someone has.
Here are some sketches of the old method and the new method that may or may not aid in the description:
The challenge now is to build it gracefully
Labels: Alaska, down wind, gaff, offshore, puget sound, sail, self steer, sheet to tiller, wakeboard, Waterski