Latitude Nation — Two things:
Mystery (Boat) Solved!
On the mystery boat ID, the consensus seems to be that it’s a Lyle Hess-designed Balboa 20. There were certainly a few other guesses — a Cal 20 and O’Day among them — but using a majority-rule standard, and after seeing some pictures of multiple vessels, we are calling it for the Balboas.
Thanks to everyone for playing. We will publish all your comments in next month’s Letters.
The Tiller Conundrum
Also coming in next month’s Letters are the countless thoughtful responses you sent in regarding our ‘driving question’. We had asked what could possibly go wrong if we replaced our current tiller with a larger stick. But we made a bit of a mistake when we framed the question.
First: The tiller on our Columbia 24 most certainly does swivel vertically — we apologize for not making that clear (it’s our first-ever mistake in the 500-issue history of Latitude 38!)
As we mentioned, the swivel action can be improved, via new, tighter hardware, so that the tiller sits higher in the cockpit. We also made a mistake (second one ever!) in not expressing our true feelings about a tiller extension. We just don’t think an additional stick would feel right on our boat, which is not and never will be a racer. (Sure, tiller extensions aren’t just for racing boats, but to us, it would feel like putting a spoiler on a Volkswagen van.)
So, what we really want is a tiller that’s just a little bit bigger than the original. Nothing crazy, just something that has a little more heft to it. We should mention here that even on windy days, our Columbia has virtually no weather helm. So it’s not a question of more leverage, either. It’s just the perception that a slightly bigger tiller would feel more comfortable. We can’t say why we feel this way. We just do.
Does that make any sense? Does anyone else feel that some part of their boat would benefit from an arbitrary modification? And do you wonder/worry what the unforeseen effects of such a tweak might be? (Please email us here, or comment below.)
Our friend the carpenter has taken it upon himself to fashion a temporary replacement tiller. Made from poplar, it will stand in as the stick while he gets to the business of constructing a laminated tiller.
There seems to be near-universal consensus that a laminated tiller is superior to a solid piece of wood in terms of both strength and longevity. But it will also be nice to have a backup stick for worst-case scenarios.