Steering with the rudder while under power

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Bill Rinckel

When motoring out of my slip in the shipyard I have to make a very sharp turn to starboard to remain in the channel. On occasion when the tide current is coming in strong and/or I am motoring into the wind I drift into shallow water. This becomes an uncomfortable situations when all the "stink pot"/power boat operators are watching. I am looking for advise on a connection rod that would connect the outboard to the rudder. Would this allow me to make a tighter turn? Does anyone have a recommendation on what kind and where to get this connection rod? Is there any other unforeseen problems like disconnecting the connection rod while sailing? Please advise. Thanks
Jun 4, 2004
- - Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
Tight turns

Bill, You're right, at low boat speeds, the rudder is like a stalled aiplane wing. My technique in my h26 is to sit on a couple of cockpit cushions that enable me to look over the cabin and also reach the engine handle and tiller at the same time. I also need the engine's turning power in tight spots and this is an easy way to make right angle turns. Once you have a little speed up, I don't think you you don't want the engine and rudder connected. David King "Molly"
May 11, 2004
Pearson 303 Lake Charlevoix
I've connected mine...

Bill, I've followed the instructions in the photo archives and connected my rudder to my outboard -- primarily for the same reason you mention, Bill. In the few times I've used the connected setup this year I've found turning and general dock-side manuvering to be SO much easier. Maybe it's just me, but the two handed 'dance' with the tiller and the engine didn't work well. There are some professional connection devices but the home-made one works well for me. My setup (I hope to post photos soon) allows me to easily disconnect the rod for sailing (when I bring my engine up) and reconnect it in just a few seconds. For a H260 version, check this out: Good luck, Dave Crowley Wind Dreamer
Jun 4, 2004
- - Macon Ga
PVC Pipe

I also have to make some sharp turns while moving at low speed. I follow the pattern of turning both the motor and the tiller manually. I have seen some setups that employ a pvc pipe connected to the motor tiller handle to enable the captain to steer with both the motor and the tiller while standing up. I think that having the tiller and the motor connected could lead to some INTERESTING situations. I say that because once you get up some speed the boat is very sensitive to tiller input and that sensitivity would be greatly increased by the motor moving in tadem with the tiller.
May 11, 2004
Pearson 303 Lake Charlevoix
Absolutely correct Calvin

Calvin, You're right on - the boat is already sensitive with a little speed, and having them connected makes it all the more so. This is really great when you're trying to get in or out of a tight dock area but could be a hinderence in other situations. On the other hand, I've gotten myself into some very INTERESTING situations when trying to control the two independently -- nothing like having the engine and the tiller fighting each other when the winds are high and the docks are full of looky-loos. :) Dave Crowley Wind Dreamer


May 20, 2004
Hunter 260 Lake Conroe, Texas
E-Z Steer System

When I first got my 2003 H260 a year ago, I had a hard time getting it in & out of my slip at my marina. I bought the E-Z Steer system & installed it myself in about 30 minutes. It works great. With wheel steering connected to outboard, I can handle her much easier. I think they have it for sale here on this site. Or you can buy it straight from the E-Z Steer Company. They have a web site with needed info & phone numbers. I called them direct & they were very helpful & because they don't have a local dealer in my area, I bought it straight from them. After looking at it, there is probably allot of ways to make your own cheaper. I've never regretted joining the rudder & outboard together, with both turning at the same time gives me more control especially while docking.


Soft Link

Another option is a "soft link" motor/tiller connector. The link is to a 240 owner who posts on this site. This looks a good project, but I haven't gotten around to it myself. Marc_B
May 27, 2004
- - Boston
Tie rod

I setup a simple tie rod arrangement using a piece of threaded stainless steel rod, a couple of plastic tie-rod ends and a couple of long clevis pins. All the parts are available at McMaster-Carr ... In my case, the motor is a remote control unit that has a short stub instead of a tiller and it has a 5/16" hole to mount the tiller, if desired. This became the connect point for the motor end of the tie rod. The other end connects to the aluminum bracket that clamps on the rudder post where the wheel steering cables terminate. I drilled a 5/16" hole in it (from the top) to just clear the transom when centered. The threaded rod, cut to approximate lenght, has a tie rod on each end. The tie rods are threaded to mate the rod and adjustment can be made by how for you screw them on -- about 1/2" inch of play is allowed for adjustment (so the motor is centered when the rudder is centered). The Clevis pins go through the tie rods (from the top), then into the motor and rudder bracket. Gravity holds it in place. The tie rod is in the lazzarette most the time, and installed only for tight manuvering around the dock. It is also removed when the motor is up while sailing. This setup cost about $15 for parts plus a few minutes to cut the rod and drill a hole. It really provides excellent stearage in both forward and reverse, and I highly recommend it for tight manuvering. Fair winds, Tom
Aug 11, 2006
Hunter H260 Traverse City
E-Z Steer

Trust me, E-Z Steer is the way to go. There are homemade solutions, but with the H260 this is an elegant and simple solution. GMK H260 Mistress
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