YouTube video links:
Sunfish Stick Steering
Category: Sunfish, boats, tiller, steering, rudder
Problem: I decided to sit in the cockpit facing forward so I didn’t have to jump from side to side and it would be comfortable for a 72 year old 6’-4” 250 lb. skipper. However, that meant that grabbing the tiller extension and steering that way was pretty much impossible. Previously, I had made a longer tiller extension, which wrapped around and I could more easily manipulate it from the side. However, the range of motion was limited, the positive feel was reduced, and sometimes I still had to bring my arm way around my back.
Action: I decided to add a steering bar to the rudder assembly, which happened to be a Hobie Kayak Rudder, and then found a telescoping aluminum pole to use as the steering stick. In addition, I added Velcro nap to the end of the steering stick and Velcro hooks taped on the deck so the steering stick could be held in position while I was doing something else. Also, I eventually put strips of duct tape on top of the deck so that the end of the stick would not scratch the surface as I moved it back and forth.
Result: It worked almost great. It turns out that the arm attached to the rudder wasn’t really long enough to give me an easier turning feel so I extended the arm by about 5 inches and now it works great.
Additional Thoughts: See my modification to a regular Sunfish rudder, which will achieve similar results.
When idea was conceived: 6/7/14
How much time it took to develop: 2 hours
How much money it took to develop: None
Current status: Sold boat with this rudder removed
Since it was originally done: I have developed an additional Sunfish rudder modification.