Stiller Tiller

My motivation to acquire a tiller pilot was primarily to afford myself a steady hand at the tiller while I'm occupied  elsewhere while sailing solo.  After a few (3 or 4) voyages ranging from 30 minutes to  four hours or so, I like it a lot.  I expect I'll use it even for puttering around Lake Union and Lake Washington.  Call me lazy, but to my surprise, it (so far) makes me more heading-conscious.  I'm thinking of reciprocal bearings and wanting a compass close at hand as well.  My dirty little secret is that I rarely (ok, never) have used one for the boating I typically do.

Thinking about an extended cruise to the North, I'll be largely in waters unfamiliar to me, and having paper charts, a chart plotter, radio heading info, tiller-pilot heading info, and compass bearings will help me always to be connecting the dots, triangulating and cross checking position.  This seems like an excellent thing.

Today I spent time calibrating my eyesight, finding sighting markers on my lifelines for the standard 10-degree course change.  As it happens, the heading deviation aligns with the pinrail forward shroud for a change in one direction (on the same side as the steering position), and the forward lifeline stanchion (on the opposite sie).  Having approximate markers means that it is very easy to work your way through a course change 10 degrees at a time, knowing that if, say, a line of buoys needs to be left to one side or the other, you simply wait until it is (visually) aft of your marker.   Nifty.

Great day to be on the water here... a ridiculous 60 degree, sunny day.


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