Tiller Wheel by Wayne Products

"Gear and Gadgets" from our April 26, 2007, CW Reckonings

GGTillerWheelSt

Replacing an anchored boat's steering wheel with the Tiller Wheel opens up cockpit space without sacrificing steerage in the event of an emergency.Dick Segermark

To open up cockpit space on his Catalina 38 while in the slip, Dick Segermark got into the habit of removing the boat's steering wheel. The solution worked fine at the dock, but Dick knew it wouldn't be prudent to sit at anchor without some form of emergency steerage. He first considered clamping a pair of Vise-Grip locking pliers to the wheel shaft, but decided against that idea, as it could damage the shaft. Since he happens to be the president of Wayne Products, a manufacturer of specialty industrial products, Dick had the means to produce a more marketable solution, and so was born the Tiller Wheel.

The Tiller Wheel is an amazingly simple device; in essence, it's a metal rod that attaches to the wheel shaft to provide emergency steerage. Comprised of a stainless steel shaft, a plastic knob, a thumbscrew, and a hub made of either stainless steel or Delrin, the Tiller Wheel fits any 1-inch OD shaft with a ¼-inch keyway. To install, just remove the steering wheel, slide the Tiller Wheel onto the shaft, and tighten the thumbscrew.