Tiller-orama #1

Your right!

All this “orama” stuff seams like drama soap opera. And since I don’t watch any TV or series on the boob tube anymore, I might as well create a few for myself. The real McCoy!

DSC_0229DSC_0241This week has been a bit odd. The tranny drama (from the previous post)  got me into thinking about “stuff” and it’s all good. Even better when you hang with good company. Gustav and Hanna (no, not the hurricanes that hit Haiti a few years back) were back in town from New York (part of the prize you get when you win 3 awards making an outstanding movie like Shirley-Visions of Reality) and we hit the tavernas with ma Sis. Lots of good wine and conversation  (about modern communications habits and New York and yada yada).

But back to Zoot Allures. Since the tranny is dead for the time being, it’s time to start with a new project. Replacing the cockpit steering wheel with a tiller! Why? Because it just takes up too much space in the cockpit and it is hydraulic which takes the “feel” out of boating. It’s impossible to get proper balancing feedback from your sail trim without the “feel”. Plus I find tillers to be sexier than wheels! So there!

DSC01047Saturday I started taking it apart and disconnected various DC cabling which didn’t work anyway (compass light, horn button, windlass switch, a starter button(?) etc). Then I stared to bleed out some of the hydraulic fluids (ATF) from the lowest part…. the auto pilot. Well, DSC01048I’ll tell ya… there’s nothing worse than seeing you boat bleed! It pretty much conforms the fact that Zoot Allures is officially dead! No motor and no steering. Plus the boat’s a mess. So I went home, curled up on my sofa with a blanket and read a book to get my mind off things.

DSC01049DSC01050But Sunday morning I was back, bright and early, and with Kostas, continued with the “neutering”. Disconnected the hydraulic lines, took off the pedestal retaining bolts and voila!



DSC01053DSC01054It was actually pretty easy, a bit on the heavy side, we got alot of laughs! It’s not every day you do something like ripping the pedestal off a boat!! It was even funnier getting on the ground with leftover ATF dripping all over my face. But it’s off and my cockpit is huge!


Stay tuned …..for another exciting a “orama” series!

Capt Pete

ps…. Dead boats are a mind-fuck. But this is something I’ve been “dieing” to do for 2 years. So we’re even!

pss… Plus it was Kostas birthday. What a fun packed weekend!!

About Sailing Zoot Allures

A demoralized mechanical engineer/ bass player/ sound engineer/editor seeks Freedom
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22 Responses to Tiller-orama #1

  1. Oh man, major surgery, all for the glory of a huge cockpit. But seriously, that’s a win-win idea: more cockpit space, no hydraulic breakdown agonies…as for rudder feel, can’t complain about my hydraulic system – but then I have 3 positions: normal, feedback and bypass. Now you need a tiller autopilot or no pilot.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Not only a huge cockpit, put also getting around the wheel was a pain. Last year I bashed my head on the boom after releasing the autopilot (from inside the dog house) and hurrying/hopping over the bench to get behind the wheel. I’m not sure if I’ll operate the tiller with the hydraulics bypassed or completely disconnected from the rudder stock (I’m maintaining the doghouse wheel and autopilot). But I will need a tiller pilot.
      Whats your “feedback” position??


      • Of course, you already have an autopilot (hydraulic pump, I presume). I suppose you still need a bypass valve. Can you rig up a valve controlled from the cockpit? And you can try the tiller with and without disconnecting the ram before splashing to see the difference. I operated my emergency tiller without disconnecting the ram (just on bypass).
        My feedback position? I have a knob at the bottom of the pedestal, I turn it to select the position, and it’s either 1 or 3 – 2 being bypass, I think, I can’t remember. Anyway feedback sucks, I hate it, it gives me bad feedback like a couple of ex-girlfriends.


      • “feedback sucks, I hate it, it gives me bad feedback like a couple of ex-girlfriends” Thanks man, I LMFAO with that one… seriously!
        So yeah, hydraulic autopump under the dinette couch, the lowest part where I drained. First I’ll install a bypass valve where the Helm was and try it out (without cutting the lines). It might be too far from the ram to be useful. Then I’ll try an other valve close to the ram (or close to the tiller under the combing window approx 1meter from ram). Lots of bleeding and draining to come. And if that is too heavy, I’ll need to figure a quick release for the ram to the stock.
        So you say you can use your emergency tiller without disconnecting the ram? I like that and am hoping I’ll roll that way.


  2. sryoder says:

    Switching from hydraulic steering to a tiller. Didn’t see that coming. Will be interesting to watch the transformation and especially interesting to see how you eventually like the tiller vs. the wheel. I’ve set up my Tivo to record every episode of Tiller-O-Rama.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ha! Gotcha on the edge of your Flipper seat!
      Tivo?? How did you do that?? It’s gonna take a while. Winter, cold, short days, maintaining bad habits…. you know.
      I’m trying to come up with a good name….. but “Soap” has already been used.


  3. Rika says:

    Hey Peter… Your post is fantastic!!! I didn’t realise that you could include your sis’ friends movie… (which I unfortunately missed when it was in Athens), but also the “clip art” of your sis’ creativity!!!
    Absolutely fantastic…Bravo!!! So, if Zoot doesn’t “ressucite” you now have a new vocation!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Christina dePian says:

    Wow! Plenty of wine and is that a piece of chocolate cake in front of us, because I don’t remember that! Hmmm… was a an animated evening which is in tune with Moving Images and media, so all is synchronized!
    As for the rest, I will again: wow!
    Happy Birthday, Kostas!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Zarinda says:

    Hi Pete,
    You better start doing press-ups and strengthening your knees over the winter period. Pushing a tiller on an unladen 7 ton boat 10 metres in length, with the 48 hp engine also pushing the rudder into alignment could be tiring. I will be very interested to see how it handles.


    • I’m not to worried about it. Lots of other boats of heavier displacement and larger rudders (ours is quite small comparatively) do all right eg Westsail 32. Sail trim is important to minimize weather helm. It’s pushing the atf oil around in bypass mode which concerns me. Do you have a bypass valve?


  6. Viki Moore says:

    Good job! Party time in the cockpit with all that extra space!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Mark Roope says:

    Don’t listen to those who say it will be hard controlling the tiller. Just get a donkey and tie it to the tiller a bit like the old flour grinding method. You would also have a new pet as well.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Lily Lau says:

    What a fun weekend, dead boats are always a challenge and if they’re accompanied with a birthday, then oh man… 🙂


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