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Tiller Hinges and General setup


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I am an absolute novice sailor and I was given a Maricat 14 over a year ago on a promise that I gave it back if the original owner wanted it.

I took it out for a quick trial with an experienced sailor about seven months ago just to make sure it all the rigging/sails were OK, and again just after Xmas in some very calm weather to dust the cobwebs off.

Thinking the boat was in pretty good nick I went out again with my experienced partner late last Sunday afternoon on Lake Burley Griffin and asthe wind wind got stronger our ability to steer seemed to get worse. The two problems noted were:

1. The hiking stick is currently a length of orange electrical conduit and would bend rather than push the tiller. In hindsight it seems a bit flimsy for the job. Is this what is normally used? Would a more solid aluminium pole perform better?

2. I had replaced with some stiff plastic the original plastic tiller hinges as they had split. These new ones failed when the going get heavy and just folded up on themselves rather than turning the rudders. Are the rubber hinges (made for purpose ones) still the preferred method or are there other devices available now?

The tramp also started to disintegrate and I brought back some of the lake bottom in the top of the mast, must get that righting rope sorted :-)

Can you more experienced hands please advise how to set up a boat from scratch. What should I look at as a matter of priority and what are the fine-tuning things I can do later.

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Firstly I would get yourself down to YMCA sailing club. There are usually a couple of Maricats there. You can have a look and chat to the sailors. And it is always safer to sail with a club where they can rescue you is required.

The tiller should be aluminum, a 12mm length from the hardware store with some tape on it for grip....BUT if the rudders are that hard to steer then you may have another alignment problem. You don't need to buy the original steering arm rubbers, but they are available new ones from Mick (Humungus) or 2nd hand from Darcy.

Or make your rudder bar longer and use bolts (see photo) no need for rubbers.

For a righting rope either rig the original rope and pulley system or just tie a rope around the dolphin striker. So when you capsize you throw it over the top hull and pull it up. Simple, cheap and much better leverage than the under tramp pulleys.

Not sure what "disintegrate" for the tramp means. New factory tramps from Mick for about $450 or made to measure from Darcy for about $270. The new design tramps are diagonal cut, no centre lacing and have a front pocket....make the boat simpler and tighter.

Go to the tuning guide at the top of the Maricat forum and work through the rudder section. You need a bit of "toe in" and the rudders need to be locked tight when in the down position, with the leading edge angled forward a bit.

Bit hard to explain, I will add a couple of more photo tonight.


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The main cause of heavy or weather helm in cats is that the rudders are not locked down hard and are therefore trailing slightly. With the cat on the trailer, lock the rudders down then apply a light rearward load to the bottom leading edge, if the rudder swings aft at all, this is the cause of your heavy steering. If, at some later date, you rake the mast aft (which moves the centre of effort aft as in race tuning) you will need to modify the rudders, to further tuck bottom leading edge under the boat to reduce the weather helm.

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Thought I would stick my oar (sorry) in here, as I was about to post a similar thread;

The tiller elbows split on Friday (wasn't my day, discovered the I had forgotten the trailer rego the hard way :() and I have jury rigged them with a 6" length of clear, flexible pvc tube from Bunnings and a couple of hose clamps each elbow. Seemed to work just fine on Sunday, admittedly the winds were light though. What is the cost of new rubber elbow fittings, and should I bother?

Also on a tramp related issue, the tape around the tramp/rear bar join is perishing, though the tramp material itself seems fine. What's the best way to sort that?

If this is in any way hijacking the thread, could a mod move it to a new one? I just thought the questions/answers could well be helpful to both of us :)



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