Norman Eastwood improved his emergency tiller so he could steer in astern with the wheel steering out of action

A boat move in the marina required me to go astern the full length of a narrow fairway between two long pontoons and turn 90° to port at the very end.

My Jeanneau 45.2 has twin wheels but these were away having new leather covers fitted, so I was going to have to use the emergency tiller.

Now, the tiller supplied by Jeanneau may give just about acceptable leverage going forward, where the rudder tries to self-centre, but I doubt it would give enough leverage to prevent loss of control going astern, where the forces try to put the rudder fully over as soon as you get it off-centre.

I needed a longer lever. Fortunately I had half of a long mattock handle on board (I’d bought it to cut down for use in knocking down the chain pile when retrieving the anchor, in case you’re wondering).

A few minutes’ work with a small block plane and some sandpaper reduced the sawn end to a tight fit in the galvanised pipe that forms the emergency tiller, and a little over two feet of extra length made steering a lot easier.

I recommend anyone with a similar emergency tiller to make an extension as it’ll make safe steering much easier in the event of a broken steering cable. It’s a quick and easy project that could save quite a lot of grief in an emergency.

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