Repair and Maintenance of a Drascombe Lugger

Replacing the Tiller-head Bolt with a Dropnose Pin

The galvanised rudder is a heavy and unwieldy object to manage at the best of times but even more so when it is attached to the tiller, when it becomes almost impossible to stow in the boat. When beaching, the rudder can be lifted and a piece of wood placed between the stock cheeks and the rudder trunk capping to support it. However, the tiller then flops forward and is horribly in the way (especially if you need to row), unless hinged up and tied back against the mizzen mast. It would make life much easier if there was a quick way of engaging/disengaging the tiller head from the rudder stock, instead of using the standard 10 mm nut & bolt.

A dropnose pin is my solution to this problem & this page describes how it can be used to rapidly attach and disengage the tiller-head from the rudder stock-head.

The Problem Defined

Parts of the tiller & rudder stock

This photograph shows the type of tiller-head rudder stock-head arrangement under discusssion. The hardwood tiller is bolted to the bronze tiller-head. This fits over the stainless steel stock-head attached to the top of the galvanised pintle. The 10 mm diameter holes line up to allow an M10 bolt to pass through to lock the tiller-head in position on the stainless steel stock-head. A picture of the two units bolted together is shown below.

End view of tiller-head on stock-head

This shows an end view of the bronze tiller-head sitting on the stainless steel stock-head. The stainless steel M10 bolt can be clearly seen locking the two units together, with a nut (on the left), holding the bolt in place.

A Better Way?

What follows is a comparision of the two alternative ways of attachment. The 'Standard' nut & bolt system is described first followed by the alternative Dropnose Pin method.

The Standard Bolt Method

The problems with the nut & bolt system and the advantages of replacing this with a single dropnose pin are discussed below.

Tiller-head bolt & associated components The Tiller-Head Nut & Bolt Method

Three components are required to attach the tiller-head to the stock-head; a spanner, a nut and a bolt. This compares with a single dropnose pin as an alternative (see below).

(Click on image for larger view)

Screwing the bolt into the Tiller-head Screwing the bolt into the Tiller-head

After lining up the tiller-head with the stainless stock-head, the first step is to use a spanner (shown right), to screw the bolt through, locking the components together. The left side of the tiller-head is threaded to accept the M10 thread at the end of the bolt.

(Click on image for larger view)

Tightening the nut Tightening the Nut

A nut is then screwed on the protruding bolt end on the left side of the tiller-head, and the spanner used to tighten it. This completes the fitting. For removal the process is reversed.

(Click on image for larger view)

The Dropnose Pin Method

This method replaces the nut & bolt with a single dropnose pin. With this it is very quick and easy to attach and detatch the tiller head in seconds and no tools are required.

The Dropnose Pin
The Dropnose Pin

This picture shows the dropnose pin used. It is 10 mm in diameter and has a working length of 60 mm (which must be the same as the maximum width of the bronze tiller-head). These pins are made by Sea Sure and have the product code #36-10-60.

(Click on image for larger view)

Specifying the Correct Pin
Specifying the Correct Pin

This diagram shows how the Sea Sure product code relates to the pin dimensions. The example shows the measurements for the pin with product code #36-10-60, which is the one required for the Lugger tiller-head.

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The pin pushed through
The Pin Pushed Through

With the tiller-head in place on the stainless stock head, the pin is simply eased through the holes.

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The dropnose is rotated and pushed down to lock
The dropnose is Rotated and Locked in Position

Once pushed through, the pin is simply locked in position by rotating the dropnose and pushing down to lock it in place. It takes just seconds.

(Click on image for larger view)

Tiller Head Modification for the Dropnose Pin

The 10 mm diameter pin should fit the existing M10 bolt holes in the rudder stock-head and the un-threaded hole in the bronze tiller head. However, the one threaded hole in the bronze tiller-head has to be drilled out using a 10 mm diameter metal drill. The easiest way to do this is to use the unthreaded hole on the other side of the head as a guide for the drill bit. Note that the original nut & bolt can still be used even when the threaded hole has been drilled out, but bear in mind that only the nut is securing the bolt. With this in mind Rich Maynard (via the Drascombe Forum), has very sensibly suggested that the original nut should be replaced by a nyloc (self locking) one.

Page last updated, 29 December 2006