Photographs by the author

Extensions make it possible to get away from the motor while still steering and controlling the throttle.

Outboard motors are handy things on small boats, but they’re demanding devices. Hanging off the transom as they often do, they require a broad stern to support not just their weight, but the weight of the person stuck with holding the motor’s tiller.Rigid extension handles make it possible to stand while at the helm and sit farther forward to lighten the burden in the stern, and articulated extensions, equipped universal joints, provide more options for where you plant yourself. I’d been using a plastic pipe as a rigid extension and thought I’d give an articulated extension a try. I found two: the Handi-Mate from Davis Instruments and the HelmsMate from Ironwood Pacific. They were both described in similar terms, so I thought one would be about as good as the other and bought the less-expensive Handi-Mate.

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