Thursday, June 24, 2010

Hobie Adventure Island tiller modification

To control the rudder, the AI has a small knob placed near where one's left hand might comfortably rest, assuming one's arm is of a certain length, unlike mine.  Yet even if the tiller location were perfect, it would still need an extension for the movable ballast wanting to drive the boat. 

Last summer after reading the Hobie forums I added a tiller extension as in the pic below. But I found a  three foot pipe flopping around in the middle of my boat something of an obstacle.

So after some thought, I decided to move the tiller to the aft hatch, as you can see in this picture:

My new tiller is a piece of black plastic shaped like a ruler, bolted to the center of the aft hatch. The tiller extension is a lightweight ski pole. A piece of automotive heater hose serves as the universal joint connecting the extension to the tiller.

It's been a month now and so far so good.  I can steer while out on the trampolines or standing up. My tiller hand can rest wherever it feels best, no matter which way I happen to be leaning or sprawling.

AI owners will recognize other mods in these pics:

- Rear akas flipped so the support struts attach behind rather than beside the driver. Makes moving off the seat and onto the tramps less painful.
- Stern light on a mast. The Scotty mast base that came with the light happens to have four screw holes. Two of them line up with the holes for the mainsheet block padeye. Two screws seems to be enough to hold the base of the light to the boat firmly.
- Moving the mainsheet block up an inch was good for my new tiller arrangement, as the sheet has a little clearance over the starboard rudder line. But the new position means the block must swivel to keep the mainsheet moving over the center of the sheave.


  1. Hello there, just the setup I am looking for! how long is your extension to enable riding out on both tramps?
    Any negative aspects since your post?
    Cheers from Ireland..

  2. The relocated tiller still rocks. My version is 160 cm (about 5'2") long.

    The only irreversible change is one hole drilled through the hatch cover. Worst case scenario, you order a new hatch from Hobie.

    The other mods I'm not so sure about. The Scotty light isn't very bright and it eats batteries.

    Instead of the tramps I'd like a bench seat from ama to ama where the rear aka is located. I'm still puzzling over some way to do that.

    It may be a while before I tinker with the AI again. Since I got a Weta it's gone back burner.