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Crafting an Emergency Tiller

When I purchased my 1969 B-39 I discovered the horribly rusted out emergency tiller deep inside on of the lockers. It was so badly corroded that it broke into 2 halves. I believe the plain steel emergency tillers where a standard part supplied by Bristol. I knew the replacement was going to have to be Stainless Steel. After not a lot of searching I located some 1.25" X .120 wall Square welded seam tube, type 304 (Try onlinemetals.com). This size will give you a few thousandths clearance and will slide easily over the 1" sqaure shaft. I cut a piece 6" long. With the square tube pinched in a drill vise between the diagonal corners I drilled out a 1" dia hole on the drill press (I used a 1" dia Bi-metal hole saw locally available at almost any hardware store for about $10.) The drill press was in the slowest speed it would go........about 300 RPM. After deburring the hole I inserted a 1" dia. x 0.065 wall polished stainless steel tube (same type used for pulpits, stanchions, etc.) about 4 feet long. I had intended to TIG weld the tube to the socket but the fit was so tight it proved unnecessary. A couple of hits with a center punch will also help stake it in. You should be able to make one of these for well under $50, including the drill bit and shipping charges from the metal supplier. For anybody that doesn't have a drill press available or is not so inclined I'll be happy to wip one up for around $75 and mail it out. Just let me know at dmsibis@aol.com.

Click Thumbnail to See Larger Pic

Click Thumbnail to See Larger Pic

I now have the emergency tiller mounted in the port locker and ready to go in an instant should the steering ever fail. I also replaced the original screw out deck plate with the old pump access hatch so just a quick yank will expose the rudder shaft. The original shaft also required a few swipes with a file to break off the sharp corners and allow the square socket to slide on easily. I can't imagine the terror you might feel sailing up a narrow channel or close to a dangerous obstacle and have the steering fail. Having a backup ready to go is good piece of mind.

Fair winds!

Dan Stadtlander

Unskilled and Unaware

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