Curing Aloha 28 (8.5) “Tiller Droop”

The transom hung rudder of the A28 (8.5) can sometimes lead to a problem with either the tiller, or the stainless steel yoke that it is mounted on, contacting the bottom of the opening that it passes through.

The yoke that connects the rudder and tiller is throughbolted at the rudder with 3 stainless steel screws and nuts. One of these screws also passes through a tube located inside the rudder. Perry Basden advises that the most common cause of contact with the opening is the screws loosening at the rudder. Also, if the vessel is operated under these conditions for a period of time, the holes the screws pass through may become enlarged, allowing the yoke to drop.

The repair is a simple one… just loosen the nuts, lift the yoke back to it’s proper position in the opening and retighten the nuts. In extreme cases, the holes that the screws pass through may have to be filled and redrilled back to their original position.

When lifting the yoke to tighten the screws, be sure to check the yoke clearance when the tiller is turned to port and starboard extremes as the opening in the transom is not concentric with the travel of the tiller. The yoke may have too much clearance below the yoke when on centre and not have any clearance on the upper side at the extreme ends of the tiller travel.

Care should be used if you remove the screws completely. If the one screw that passes through a tube (in some vessels, a solid steel shaft) in the rudder is removed, the tube may fall out through the bottom of the rudder.

Tom Schraeder mentions a second cause of the problem can be that the holes in the laminated wood of the tiller itself can become enlarged, probably from leaning on the tiller over the years. In a similar way, this allows the tiller to drop lower and rub on the bottom of the opening. Replacement of the tiller would obviously cure this problem, but Ross Dickson has also suggested that the enlarged holes could be sleeved internally with suitable stainless steel tube allowing the existing tiller to be re-used if it is otherwise sound.

Our thanks as usual to these members for their advice.

Written by Liam Fitzgerald