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Tiller Grip

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Sam.Spoons View Drop Down
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    Posted: 21 Sep 16 at 2:08pm
I'm a product of the old school, several years sailing Herons (transom sheeting) and OKs (centre mainsheet) in the '60s & '70s. For the last 8 years I have sailed a Topper Spice (preceded by a 30 year hiatus racing Windsurfers) which has a centre main, twin strings & an assay kite. I have always held the tiller with a 'frying pan' grip, even in the OK. Dagger grip just seems clumsy and un-natural to me and completely impractical with the 6' tiller extension on the Spice which, if it doesn't get tangled in the mainsheet or helm's trap wires, regularly pokes the crew up-side the head if I attempt a dagger grip. I do get the advantage of been able to sheet in with two hands but, for me that's more than outweighed by the loss of feel and control through the tiller extension. I'm thinking of buying a singlehander (Blaze is top of the shortlist just now) so I will definitely have to rethink when I get the new boat. What do others do?

Edited by Sam.Spoons - 21 Sep 16 at 2:09pm
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Do Different View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Do Different Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 Sep 16 at 2:38pm
Dagger, dagger, dagger; on both boats. 
Single wire, two person, three sail hiking helm. Feels to give better mobility and can quickly rotate to bring forward of body to take main for sheeting in and doing other tasks.
Contender. Had a carbon one from day one and with a dagger grip having extension above means during any minor, ah hem,  incidents I will never fall on it. No damage so far. 

+edit.
I have arthritis in my wrist which also makes panhandle painful, dagger needing minimal articulation.
Also, although I have some ethical objections to the practice, on the times I hike low and flat dagger seems the natural option with panhandle requiring serious contortions and restricted movement. 
Just because it is a dagger orientation doesn't mean it has to be held in a fist, thumb and finger tips.


Edited by Do Different - 21 Sep 16 at 3:57pm
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Sam.Spoons View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Sam.Spoons Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 Sep 16 at 4:38pm
Reading that I have just realised that it's not the dagger grip as such that I find difficult but the angle it places the extension to the tiller when held across your body and the loss of control, feel and power this causes. I do, now I think about it, use dagger grip when hiking/trapezing low, but with the extension aft of my body rather than across my chest. A tiller extension will always give most feel and power when it is at 90 to the tiller, when sat forward in light airs it can describe an angle of, maybe, 5-10 and you are no longer pushing or pulling it but 'cantilevering' it to move the tiller. In light airs with light loads and subtle movements being the order of the day this is not a problem but pounding upwind in chop and a breeze is another matter.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote piglet Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 Sep 16 at 7:07pm
Originally posted by Sam.Spoons

In light airs with light loads and subtle movements being the order of the day this is not a problem but pounding upwind in chop and a breeze is another matter.

When pounding upwind you won't be sitting in the middle of the boat.
I'm old enough to have had to re-learn and there is no way I would go back.
Strangely when I had the Contender I was in a minority of tiller across the chest Contenderers, though I only did it offwind, upwind I had the stick on my aft shoulder, but never frying pan.
Now the glory days are gone and I'm in the 200 I do all kinds of odd things when sitting across downwind. But always across the chest when sitting up.
Not sure if that helps.
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Sam.Spoons View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Sam.Spoons Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 Sep 16 at 7:41pm
Yes that does, I see a lot of sailors holding the extention across the chest which I definitely find awkward and harder to control. My point about light airs vs upwind was that when sitting in the boat in the light stuff you would probably have the tiller extension to windward of your body which would put it in a similar position to that when hiking with it across your chest. Upwind, hiking hard and sitting forward (as you would upwind in a hiking boat to maximise WL) with the tiller ext across your chest you still have a pretty small (big? close to 180 from pointing dead aft anyway) angle between the tiller extension and the tiller making control very difficult. As I said I have only tried across the chest in the Spice and found it difficult even when aft in the boat and planing but that boat does sometimes need some stick wiggling sometimes (usually when it's all gone a bit 'Pete Tong'). I will try it again when I get the new boat 'cos the advantage of being able to use both hands on the mainsheet is clear. I guess I need to get the crew trimming the main in the Spice to keep it on it's feet  Smile That way I could concentrate on not poking him in the ear with the extension.....

Edited by Sam.Spoons - 21 Sep 16 at 7:43pm
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Post Options Post Options   Quote ColPrice2002 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 Sep 16 at 8:09pm
Generally, you shouldn't need much force to steer, so the across the chest position gives you more freedom of movement.
If you need lots of force to keep the boat on course, either you're heeling, or the mast rake/centreboard position are suboptimal.

Flat boat = fast boat.
Lots of rudder is an effective brake.

If you're tacking wth a long tiller extension that won't easily go through the falls of a centre manager, try this way:-
1) as you tack and move into the centre of the boat, slide your hand towards the universal joint. As the boom comes over, rotate the extension over the transom and slide your hand along it as you move to windward side deck. Now change hands. You've been facing forward all the time.
2) "superman technique" start the tack, then facing the opposite side if the boat, stand up and walk to the opposite side with the extension in front of you. Steer out of the tack as you settle.
If the boat has a centre main running to the transom - like a laser - the extension cannot be too long unless you have a telescopic one.

Hth
Colin
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Sam.Spoons View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Sam.Spoons Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 Sep 16 at 8:51pm
Will try all these things. I do know the "flat is fast" mantra, I'm just not as good at it as I''d like (combined with a less than optimal crew). Hopefully that will improve when I buy whatever singlehander I choose.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Neptune Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 Sep 16 at 10:44pm
Dagger in my Musto unless the wind is very light and I am trapezing high then I switch to a frying pan
RS300, ex Musto Skiff
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Sam.Spoons Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 Sep 16 at 11:21pm
So do you hold the tiller extension across your chest at all times or behind you (aft of your body in boat-speak)? The Olympic Laser sailors all seem to hold the tiller across their chests whatever the wind strength or point of sailing? 

Edited by Sam.Spoons - 21 Sep 16 at 11:24pm
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Oatsandbeans Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Sep 16 at 7:37am
In 470s in light-medium conditions the frying pan grip is often used as the helm can put the extension on the side tank and "clamp" it there thus minmising helm movements. When it is across the body any movement of the helm tends to move the helm which is not fast.
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