Sunday, March 14, 2010

Yawlboat Tillers

There has been some talk lately, here at DoryMan, about steering systems for yawls. That pesky mizzen mast creates some problems for tiller design and there are many effective solutions.

We'll take as examples a handful of double ended yawl boats profiled here in the last year.
The subject came up as a reference to the Ness Yawl currently being built in Italy for a journey across Europe. Shipwright Roland Poltock is building the boat Giacomo de Stefano will use on this trip and although we have not yet seen the tiller arrangement, we'll assume for the sake of this discussion that it is similar to the tiller Roland designed for the Ness Yawl Giacomo used for his last trip, on the river Po.
Simple and graceful.

On Selkie, Chuck Gottfried used an articulating tiller extension on a tiller that fastens to the rudder perpendicular to the centerline of the boat. Chuck would say "why make it harder than it needs to be?"

Another traditional solution to the conflict of tiller and mizzenmast is a yoke on the mizzenmast. Kees Prins developed a pivoting tie rod arrangement for Laingdon Schmitt's Sparrow. The pivot on the mizzen became a bronze mast partner.

Less simple but oh, so elegant.

Bernie Arnell's Avocet uses a bow shaped yoke made of wood. The boat is steered with a symmetrical yoke on the head of the rudder post, from which runs a loop of line that circumscribes the boat. The line is tied to the ends of the rudder yoke, runs along the gunwale and loops around a pulley forward of the main mast.

This allows him to adjust the rudder directly at the yoke, or using the line, from any location in the boat - which is useful when single-handing.

Bernie just sent in photos of details for his Avocet and was spurred by the news about Giacomo's build. We've waited all winter for news of Bernie's finish work. One clever detail is his adjustable oarlock base.

A lot of love went into building all of these boats and the marriage of form and function is the proof.


Anonymous said...

Great post. The Sparrow rig looks very cool (and prohibitively expensive to do as a pro!) but elegant indeed. I did a similar post on my blog not too far back...lets it is!

doryman said...

Sparrow was built in Port Townsend, WA, by some of the best anywhere. It's nice to have the foundry just down the road!
All of these boats were built by very talented individuals and each has left their signature.