Moving the tiller and Lines Out of the Cockpit of my Javelin?

Sep 27, 2017
O'Day Javelin Garage
I've been given an O'Day Javelin and I would like to make it a little more family friendly. Right off, I will acknowledge that I'm sort of asking this boat to be something it's not. I get that, and in a perfect world I would just go buy a perfect boat. But to tide me over until the rapture (which I expect to leave me with plenty of time for sailing in my favorite lakes) I would like to make a few rigging changes. Before I do, I'm hoping someone here has tried to do the same (or similar) and might share some first hand experience.
My biggest gripe is that with two kids, my wife, and myself in the boat we have plenty of room until I start working the boat. Then it becomes a nightmare. The jib blocks and lines end up right where someone is sitting. The main sheet runs up in the middle of the cockpit, almost always right where someone is sitting. Then, of course, there is 5 feet of tiller and extension clearing the deck aft the CB trunk. The boat was made to be crewed by two people and it seems like it would be great like that. I'm willing to give up a substantial amount of performance if necessary in order to open up the cockpit space a bit.
Here's what I would like to do:
  1. Move the mainsheet block forward. Ideally, all the way to the deck.
  2. Rig mainsheet to end of boom instead of mid-boom.
  3. Move jib cleats to outside of the cockpit and forward (close to deck).
  4. Fit rudder with a Norwegian tiller.
It seems like this setup would put all the lines and tiller control at the front of the cockpit and leave the rest of the cockpit seating clear. The only downside I can see is it would pin the helmsman to one side of the boat.
Is there more to it than this? What am I losing by shifting my rigging this way other than some marginal performance?
Jul 26, 2016
American Sail 18 MDR
Go for # 2 if you end up at stern with tiller. Remove mainsheet block from centerline.
Run a second block, one each side, aft about 3' from stern, Run jibsheets through regular block and aft to new stern block. You can use regular braided line if you need more line. Think clearly about how far outboard you should run lines. If it sags too much an eye fitting may help keep it in boat.
Cut the dang tiller shorter. There is no law that say's it has to be 6' long.
Above will make it easier to steer and handle lines from stern and clear cockpit from clutter.
Manage boat from stern.
Keep lines off floor
A Suzuki 2.5 ($ 700.00 new) will weight less and be easier to handle (29# empty) than an electric with a battery. Alwasy store it empty of gas by running it till it conks out and reading the owner's manual. Gas should not be stored in HOT places like garage and sheds. It deteriorates rapidly. ( personally I prefer the Merc/Nissan/Tohatsu/Evinrude 2.5 and 3.5 but they are 8# heavier
It's your boat. Do what you think will make you happy.
PS Don't listen to purists. The know nothing. Like dumb John Snow from..

Try for less expensive blocks, etc.

Do not sail if wind goes over 14 MPH. Women and kids may not like a leaning boat. Keep your cool all the time.
Last edited:
Jun 2, 2004
Oday Day Sailer Wareham, MA
What the heck is a "Norwegian Tiller"?
Also, on a small centerboard boat like a JAVELIN, you want crew weight on the windward side of the boat usually to maintain stability (avoiding capsizing!). Moving jibsheet fairleads and cleats to the top of the coamings or onto the sidedecks might work OK, but I'd want to still be able to adjust them from the windward side, sending someone to the leeward side before every tack (or any other time that you need to adjust the trim of the jib) means moving their weight off the windward side and that could affect keeping the boat from tipping too much. I would think that moving the mainsheet lead forward would place it more in the way, as it would then need to be lead all the way back to the helm. Also, on a small CB boat you want to have the mainsheet in your hand always (use the supplied camcleat to hold the tension) so that you can instantly release it to spill the wind in a sudden puff. That is the best way to prevent capsizing. OK to shorten the tiller, (my stock tiller is only about 3' long) but I wouldn't make it too short as a shorter tiller will result in less leverage and possibly more effort to hold course (more fatigue for the helmsperson). Moving the mainsheet from mid-boom to the end is not new, the original rig of the Javelin had the mainsheet rigged from end-boom, then led forward along the boom to the aft end of the CB trunk, but this will require more line and really, I don't find the mid-boom mainsheet on my DS II to be that in the way, in fact I like having the stern clear of all that line that the end-boom sheeting would use.
Dec 11, 2009
Oday 26 Central FL
I have a 1969 Javelin that I have restored and my tiller is just over 3 feet long, so there's 2 feet you can lose. I would test some prototypes with scrap wood and see how short you can go without losing too much leverage before going to the offset type you are talking about.

The cockpit is very busy on the Javelin. My 69 doesn't have a liner, it has the centerboard trunk supported by seats/brace on either side. The starboard side brace also holds the cleat for the centerboard line. The jib sheets come across the cockpit seats from the coaming and cleat on the centerboard housing, along with the mainsheet cleat at the end of the cb housing, just a lot of "stuff" when you add a few people. I would like to put the jib sheet cleats atop the cabin like the DS1 but it's 5 feet from the bow to cockpit and the foot of the jib is 6 feet so the only option is to put a cleat on the coaming. I plan a swivel block on a block of wood under it to keep it above the lip on the coaming, bolted down into the coaming very near the original jib track. I'm going to use a bit longer jib sheet so that it will reach to the windward side, not so short that it has to be pulled tight and people trip over it when it's relaxed in my hand.

I'm looking at going to a ComPac 16 type setup for the main sheet, be sure you have a good topping lift too:
compac 16 mainsheet.jpg

Whenever I make major adjustments to my boat I test them alone or with another experienced sailor, not with family or wife.

Lastly, there isn't anything wrong with reefing under 10 knots when you have inexperienced guest on board, especially kids on a small boat. Or... just using one sail. Everyone will want to return if it's a stress-free enjoyable time.

Hope this helps
Jul 7, 2004
Hunter 30T Cheney, KS
That was new to me too. Sure looks like more things to go wrong though. i.e More moving parts.
Sep 27, 2017
O'Day Javelin Garage
Thank you everyone for the response. Did not get enough time to try out everything as November spells a pretty definitive end to family sailing, but I did test out a few things.
  1. I had thought it would make things easier to move my position to the forward of the cockpit. I tried it and Solarfy was right. I should stick to the stern.
  2. Removing the jib sheet tracks and moving the jib sheet cleats to the deck just outside the cockpit worked great (outside that lip or combing that runs the length of deck behind the bench). It means that sheeting the jib gets outsourced to one of the kids, which is fine. It means kids can stay put and not shift about on each tack.
  3. Norwegian tiller actually worked well and was a lot of fun, but since I moved my position to the stern it was ultimately unnecessary.
  4. I fitted a thwart bench across the stern to make sitting on either of the rear quarters more comfortable. For the most part I'm the only one who needs to change position on a tack.
  5. I built a tiller that folds in half and is only 1 foot long when folded. I also rigged a planetary gear between the rudder and tiller with something like a 1.5 to 1 ratio. With the planetary gear engaged I lose a third of my rudder range (split between the outside ends of the sweep) but gain a enough mechanical advantage over the rudder to offset the reduced leverage of having only a 1 foot tiller. Flipping back to driving the rudder directly is easy and if greater leverage is needed I can flip down the rest of the tiller. I've actually been sailing the boat alone through most of October (too cold for wife and kids) and losing the extremes of my rudder range hasn't caused any problems and having a very short tiller is actually really nice.
  6. Can't really hike up from the rear corner of the boat. When sailing alone it really is better to sit in the middle of the cockpit. Yeah, this is the sort of wisdom everyone already seems to know and take for granted but I still had to feel it out for myself.
I feel bad buttoning her up for storage now. But shopping for a bigger boat down in Florida should ease my pain.
May 18, 2021
O'Day Javelin Barnegat Bay, LBI
Hi all - just found this old thread and hoping someone responds - I'm actually looking to do the opposite. I have crosby rig on my javelin '14 (a 1968) as per original owners manual but finding it interferes somewhat with the motor I need to push in and out of where I tie up. I want to move to mid-boom sheeting (I've seen many pictures online) but can't figure out what hardware I need on the boom and on the centerboard housing to make that switch. I am also curious whether mid-boom requires a boom vang. My boat has a notch to attach a boom vang at the bottom of the mast, under the deck - that seems confusing, how would it allow the boom to swing if it's at all tensed?
Jun 2, 2004
Oday Day Sailer Wareham, MA
Mid-boom sheeting will not "require" a boom-vang.....BUT IT SURE HELPS! <GRIN!> The vang is a big help even with the original mainsheet setup, I had more or less that setup on my old O'DAY Widgeon (12' sloop), and the boom-vang made a big difference! It holds the boom down so much more of the mainsheet "pull" is adjusting hte side-to-side postion of hte boom/sail, very little goes to pulling boom down, making less work to pull in the sheet.

My current boat is a 1979 DS II, and she has the newer mid-boom mainsheet. You will need to replace the block on the aft end of the Centerboard trunk with a "fiddle-block" (2-sheaves, one above the other) and with an integral cam cleat, Remove the blocks on the boom, and install a boom "bail" (really a loop of metal hanging down from boom) (I can take a pic of mine if it would be clearer than the picture below), on this you will attach a single-block that can swivel side-ro-side and that has a becket intalled (strap to attach end of mainsheet to ,see pic below). The below pic should explain routing of line and basically what blocks are needed. Javelin and DS II used pretty much the same mainsheet for the mid-boom rig. Boom-Vang was same too. Actually, I might suggest calling Rudy at D&R Marine (508) 644-3001 to inquire about parts to change your mainsheet, he used to work for O'DAY and now runs a little shop supplying parts to O'DAY Owners. He sells blocks and will know just what to suggest.


May 18, 2021
O'Day Javelin Barnegat Bay, LBI
Thanks Sunbird!! Just saw your other reply to my other question on the other thread, and then I saw this one! YES! This is exactly what I'm looking for. This is perfect. And thanks for the tip on calling D&R - I've perused their website a little bit. Really appreciate it. This looks like the next project!

If the boom vang attaches to the mast above deck, I wonder what that metal loop is at the base of the mast below deck....

Fair winds to you, Sunbird!