When it came to selecting a tiller for the rudder of my Sooty Tern, UNA, I had to consider the two options designer Iain Oughtred provided for getting around the mizzen mast: a wishbone tiller that divides around the mizzenmast, or a Norwegian tiller, a short tiller set at a right angle to the rudder and operated with a push-pull stick. The former would provide the same feel as a conventional tiller; the latter would clearly take some getting used to.Common to faerings (double-ended Scandinavian workboats), the Norwegian tiller traces its ancestry to the Vikings, and has been used for ages. It consists of the transverse tiller, an extension that reaches forward, and a flexible or articulated connection between the two. The connection can be simple or complex, anything from a rope with a tensioning cam cleat, two eyebolts interlocked, an oarlock modified with socket, or an off-the-shelf or custom-built tiller universal joint.Unlike a conventional tiller that may sweep across the boat from rail to rail—and preventing anyone from sitting in the stern—the tiller extension of the Norwegian tiller moves only along its own length, taking up very little space even when the helm is put hard over in either direction. The helmsman can steer easily anywhere within reach of the extension. With an extra-long telescoping extension, it would even be possible to steer from the bow.

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