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Author Topic:   13' - Tiller vs. Mechanical Steering
Pat Mac posted 01-15-2003 01:49 PM ET (US)   Profile for Pat Mac   Send Email to Pat Mac  
Any opinions on tiller vs. mechanical steering in a 13'.

Assuming the boat would not be used to ski with, would the tiller set up provide significantly more interior room?


Pat Mac

Bigshot posted 01-15-2003 01:55 PM ET (US)     Profile for Bigshot  Send Email to Bigshot     
No more interior room unless you removed the console and seats;)

Tiller is fun but very tiring. Because you are always sitting cocked and arm extended I get back and neck aches after an hour or so. You also can't let go for the most part to zip your coat, etc. I think tillers are neat on 12' alum boats but I would not chose one over a steering wheel.

Clark Roberts posted 01-16-2003 07:41 AM ET (US)     Profile for Clark Roberts  Send Email to Clark Roberts     
A 13' with 20-30hp and tiller (with extension) is a joy to drive and handling seems enhanced by the super quick steering! My last was a 1966 with a 2000 Merc 20 electric start and my neighbor begged me to sell it to him... so I did, and he just loves the boat (named the "Conch Bonker"..dubbed by Big Z). The boat is used most every day of the year as a work boat, for crabbing, fishing and just messing around. Try it, you'll like it!
Pat Mac posted 01-17-2003 11:53 AM ET (US)     Profile for Pat Mac  Send Email to Pat Mac     
I think I am going to pursue the tiller set up for a 13'.

I don't see too many around for sale. If I picked up a sport with bad steering would it be much work to convert. Is the placement of the reat seat different?



Clark Roberts posted 01-17-2003 05:49 PM ET (US)     Profile for Clark Roberts  Send Email to Clark Roberts     
Pat, I have run several with tiller and seat should be moved as far aft as possible... you may find that a 6 gal gas tank secured forward will help the balance~! Happy Tiller Whalin'... Clark... Spruce Creek Navy
jimh posted 01-17-2003 05:52 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
If a 13-foot hull was ordered without the console and steering option, the rear seat was moved back.

You can gauge how far from the photograph shown at

diveorfish posted 01-17-2003 07:02 PM ET (US)     Profile for diveorfish  Send Email to diveorfish     
Pac Mac: Don’t do it! Bigshot is right. Tillers are a pain in the neck, literally. I use to use an inflatable with a tiller to dive with. Every time I drove that boat I would dream about the day I could own a boat with a frick’n steering wheel. It was the only time in my life that I encouraged others on board to drive. The first time they always said “yeah, how cool, I get to drive.” Once they got wise though, we made it a game. We would flip a coin and the hapless loser had to drive.
Clark Roberts posted 01-18-2003 08:50 AM ET (US)     Profile for Clark Roberts  Send Email to Clark Roberts     
The "comfort factor" is a function of the set-up not whether it's tiller or wheel steering.. there are plenty of wheel set-ups that will fatigue also.. ie. wheel too low, too far away etc.this doesn't mean that wheel steering is no good!. a well set-up (proper throttle extension, seat location, seat etc) 13'Whaler with tiller is a joy to drive!!!! You can take that to the bank! Happy Whalin'... Clark.. SCN
Bigshot posted 01-21-2003 09:18 AM ET (US)     Profile for Bigshot  Send Email to Bigshot     
Good point about the bank Clark.....Resale will suffer greatly!
Kelly posted 01-21-2003 05:14 PM ET (US)     Profile for Kelly  Send Email to Kelly     
My 13' has a 15hp Nissan tiller. Here are my thoughts.

I like the tiller arrangement for simplicity and keeping the boat more open. I also like the tiller arrangement when trolling.

I don't like the fact that using the tiller places my 200+ pounds that close to the back of the boat. I have an extension, but I don't really like using it unless I am going a long way. I also think it is harder for young people to drive a tiller than a steering wheel.


timbo posted 01-21-2003 07:13 PM ET (US)     Profile for timbo  Send Email to timbo     
If youre looking for tiller set up why not the 11 foot, I love the steering wheel set up on my 13, i have no experience with tiller but my zodiac wasnt the greatest tiller experience ive had, For a 150 pound 15 year old the steering arangement is great, the addition of my 200 pound 40 yamaha is also alot to handle in my opinon with out the steering. my two cents (:
Sammy posted 01-23-2003 01:15 PM ET (US)     Profile for Sammy  Send Email to Sammy     
Pat Mac,

I've never owned a 13' with remote steering/controls so I can't comment on that configuration. I did own a 13' Standard powered with an '89 25hp Merc tiller for a number of years and it was a great set up.

There never seems to be enough room on any boat, let alone a small one. It appeared to me that a console would just take up valuble space on a boat that size - but I'm sure those with consoles will have a different perspective.

The 25hp Merc had an adjustable trim tab on the underside of the cavitation plate. When the tab was set correctly, the motor could be run at WOT without exerting any pressure on the tiller handle - not tiring at all and excellent control. As jimh mentioned, the side rails and thwart seats were set back a few inches closer to the stern than in the console models so tiller operation was very comfortable - in fact it was a blast.

I liked the ability to slide out the front seat and stow it between a side rail and gunwale to open up most of the interior. For fishing, that allowed you to stand up and walk around the entire boat (very stable); it worked great as a gear-hauling tender; or I could sneak off to a quiet back water, set a hook, stretch out and take a snooze in the sun (ballgame on the radio, of course).

A clean, simple, fuel sipping set up with minimal added weight/maintenance. If I hadn't been able to buy a solid 15' Sport project (outboard was toast) for turning around the 13' plus $200, I'd still have the boat. Sometimes I wonder if I outsmarted myself. sammy

Sam Collins posted 01-27-2003 05:36 PM ET (US)     Profile for Sam Collins  Send Email to Sam Collins     
Was not a stick steer offered on one of the early 13 footers?

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