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    The aluminium tiller stock is slipping further back into the rudder housing than it should.

    As a stop gap I have drilled a small hole thru both and currently insert a small brass nut&bolt to keep it from slipping back

    (If it slips back too far, the tiller part rubs of the buoancy tank lid).

    We have considered making a small stop of some kind in the rudder housing and cutting a V-groove in the top of the tiller to match. This would do away with the bolt& nut.

    Is there a better solution that anybody could recommend ?


    Hi Boris
    My rudder stock/tiller has a small-ish hole drilled through and through, and then a split pin (on a string) pushes through to hold into place.
    It is very simple, and is held in place with friction (stiction?) and takes a bit of a wriggle to get it in.
    This is how my W came to me, is very simple, and to date has been effective.


    Thanks Jon,

    It works alright – it is more a question of losing the nut & bolt the odd time when we capsize and perhaps ripping a wet suit on it.

    I agree that it works as is and I might stick with it like yourself have done; I was curious if there was another solution !

    Thanks for letting me know I am not alone !



    Hi Jon,

    Something I had missed on first read; your solution uses a pin instead of nut&bolt – therefore it would be an improvement on mine since it could serve a dual purpose pin and do away with fiddly nut..

    Given that I need a pin anyway for holding rudder “horizontal” in the pen when manouvring on launching trolley, I could use same pin for holding tiller in place when sailing using your technique.

    Final question – Is the hole straight thru top and bottom of the “tube” ?

    Many thanks !


    Hi Boris
    yes, my pin goes through top and bottom of tiller tube, and also through top and bottom of the housing.
    It is a split pin on a string, so stays with the rudder.
    It can be fiddly to put in sometimes, can take a bit of wriggling, but is seems simple and has worked fine to date
    Good luck!


    We had the same problem, resolved fitting a piece of dowelling up the hollow tiller drilling the tiller and wood with suitable sized holes (not right through tiller) and pushing in aluminium nails with large flat heads. The latter have the advantage that they lie flush with the tiller stock and don’t get snagged on the main sheet/trousers etc. Two is better than one in case comes out. Friction holds them in, screw driver blade prises them out.
    Good luck,
    Nick 9922


    I want my tiller to be completely free of even the slightest play. If the tiller isn’t snug in the rudder stock you will loose a lot of that all important “feel”. My solution is to ensure the tiller wedges in to the rudder stock. All it then needs is some pressure by a bungee to wedge it in and keep it in tightly without the slightest play. The bungee I need anyway, it is part of the downhaul and to allows the rudder to rise should I hit bottom.

    Just to be clear, I do not use a pin of any kind. In fact, a pin would be one of the first things to give a swimming lesson, should I buy another boat. They are the main cause of a wiggling tiller.

    My rudder stock has an aluminium pipe to receive the aluminium tiller. The pipe is open at the bottom. (A/o to allow the downhaul to pass). A long wedge shaped piece of plastic (could also be made from hardwood too) fitted to the bottom of the tiller wedges in to the cutout of the tiller receptor. I expected to replace this wedge every few years but so far it is still going strong after three years. It did wear a bit and the tiller is sitting a bit deeper then it used to, but there is still no play in it.


    Many thanks to all replies.

    Swiebertje, this wedge/stop is located at the “stern” end of the tiller housing if I understand you correctly ?

    Best regards,

    Dave Barker

    I think everyone needs to make clear what sort of tiller they have – the “traditional” W laminated wooden tiller or a tubular aluminium alloy version. The solution to this problem will be different in each case.


    Sorry until now I did not realise there was more than 1 type.

    My tiller and rudder housing is the aluminium kind with a strip and groove
    to prevent rotation.

    It is slipping back towards the stern.



    Dave, the old style wooden stock and tiller already wedge in by design unless a pin is stopping it from wedging in tight. Loose the pin, get a bungee.

    Boris, the new Aluminium tiller has indeed a PVC strip that fits in a receptor cut out in the PVC insert of the rudder stock. The receptor groove does not run all the way to the back of the rudder stock but it stops at some point where it changes to the width of a a saw blade. The narrow part of the groove should prevent the tiller from moving back any furter at some point. When new it should wedge the tiller before the PVC block in the tiller reaches the end of the groove, if not it is time to replace the PVC block on the tiller for a slightly wider version. This is also a good moment to introduce a slight angle (1 – 3 degrees). The new block could be made from PVC again but hardwood may last longer (Please note that I haven’t tried hardwood myself yet).

    Anyway, there are several solutions possible but I would consider only those solutions that guarantee a snug fit without any play. Usually that involves some kind of wedging mechanism. A pin most often prevents the tiller from tightly wedging in, and is often the cause of a wiggly tiller because it prevents the tiller wedging in deeper once it has worn a bit.

    The same argument is true for the rudder bolt. It should be as tight as to prevent the rudder from wiggling in the rudder stock to get that all important feel in our tiller. On the other hand, the rudder should also come up easy when we want to beach our boat. There is a compromise here and it pays to adjust the nut precisely. In my case I have slightly damaged the thread of the bolt to prevent the nut from loosening itself. Once adjusted it stays in place most of the time. Others have used a second nut or locktight to secure it.

    Then there are the pintels and gudgeons, they too should have no play but that is no problem with the new big black SeaSure blocks. It may be an issue with the old pintels and gudgeons that were made from sheet steel. The pintels often loosened from their crimp fit and we used to replace them with a long bolt and a nut if there wasn’t a welder around. Worse was the situation with the holes in the gudgeons, they got bigger due to wear and there wasn’t really a solution other then to replace them.

    If you pay attention to all these details you end up with a tiller that tells you exactly what the boat and the wind are doing rather then having just a pole to steer the boat. If you didn’t see a header coming, a good tiller without play will tell you.


    Thanks gentlemen,

    The reason I started this was that the tiller (when slipped an inch back or so) rubs the cover of the tank.

    This is not a problem if all is correct, but it makes me wonder ->

    What would be expected clearance be (when tiller is stopped in correct spot)
    between the tiller and the tank. It seems that on my Mk I +S there is very little clearance – could the tiller be bent downwards ?

    There looks to be a slight downward curve on the tiller – should there be ?

    The rudder is moving freely so I am assuming that the rudder position is correct in the vertical aspect.

    Thanks for all the help !



    @bfennema wrote:

    The reason I started this was that the tiller (when slipped an inch back or so) rubs the cover of the tank.

    Perhaps the tiller is bent?

    The receptor on the rudder stock is pointing slightly upward. If the tiller is straight it should pass well over the hatch regardless how deep it sits in the receptor.

    With the tiller taken from the rudder stock, look along its length with an eye close to one of the ends. Any bent should then be obvious. If it is bent just bend it back carefully until it is straight again. A Wayfarer tiller (wood or aluminium) should be straight (except for the occasional S-shaped ones some cruisers specially made to be able to open the hatch while sailing).

    Happy bending.


    Thanks Swiebertje – I surmise it is no longer straight then.

    What would be the best approach to straighten it ? I am afraid it would kink if I just put it over my knee – I heard lead pipes being filled with sand before being bend.

    Or am I overly concerned about kinking it as long as I take it slowly ?

    Thanks again.


    I am guessing the bend was caused by someone stepping or sitting on the tiller while it was mounted in the rudder stock. The bend is then probably close to the rudder stock. It may be easier to first try to bend it back up while it is in the rudder stock. If that fails or if you need to apply a too much force it is time to think about another strategy.

    A vise or better, a Black&Decker workmate may help. Use some old rags around the tiller to avoid scratching it. Filling the pipe with sand is a way of preventing a pipe from collapsing when bending it a tight curve. I don’t think it is necessary in this case but it wouldn’t harm either. You do need corks in the ends to put some pressure on the sand though. Tape the corks so they can’t pop out while you’re bending. And also make sure there are no voids in the sand filling.

    If all else fails heat may help. If nothing else, heat takes bending strains from Aluminium. You don’t need a welding torch for de-straining Alu, you can do it on a normal kitchen stove. It goes quicker if you take the cooking burner off and light the gas without it. This way you will probably get a nice pointy blue flame like a Bunsen burner, that will heat the Alu in seconds. But please remember to take al plastic parts off before heating it. When it gets dark red hot all strains leave the material as by magic. But lets hope you don’t need to heat it up.

    And finally, Aluminium pipe is also available in building/hardware/DIY shops and I guess at much better prices as the original sold by our chandlers. (For example Pinell & Bax sell it by the meter). Maybe you can find some identical pipe in a hardware shop and move all parts from the old to the new tiller. Make sure the pipe has walls as thick as the original pipe to ensure it will be strong enough. DIY shops often sell thin walled Alu- pipe which is good for hanging curtains from but definitely not strong enough for use as a tiller. To finish it, carefully rub it with 1000 or 1200 sandpaper until it lost all its gloss. Then leave it a couple of days to allow it to receive a nice patina (Alu- oxide coating). Maybe it is not as beautiful as the elox process Seldén/Proctor uses, but it will work. If not, use some varnish on it after rubbing it with sandpaper.

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