Foot Loops on Tillers

From the 505world e-mail list

Alexander Meller asked the 505world list for suggestions on tiller foot loops, loops fastened to the tiller such that you could sit on the seat tank, steer with your foot, and hoist or douse the spinnaker. The idea is to keep your weight on the seat tank rather than standing in the centre of the boat, so you can sail a higher angle while hoisting or dousing.
Dear all,

I have seen various foot loops or other devices attached to the tiller, such that the driver can hoist or douse the kite while sitting on the seat tank and steering with one foot.

Would plastic tubing over line work? Would wire be better? What have people done here that works well?


Alexander Meller
8263, 7200, 8776

See ?? Ask Nick Trotman?

Ted Ferrarone

I used to use a Y fitting. Worked ok.

Ethan Bixby

Hi Ali,

I don't have a foot loop, but I saw one on 420 that I thought was pretty slick & I thought I'd try it. The loop itself was a piece of web strap about 1" wide. It was mounted under the tiller with one end of the strap attached to the tip of the tiller. (pop rivets & washers through the strap) The other end went through a shallow guide strap that was pop riveted about 8" further back under the tiller. The web strap could slide easially back & forth in the guide strap. The piece of web strap used had a pre-sewn loop in the end. This is the end that went through the guide strap. There was a piece of very light shock cord (1/8" I think) that went through the sewn loop then attached further back on the tiller to retract the web strap up against the bottom of the tiller when not in use. The shock cord & sewn loop would jam against the guide strap when the loop was pulled out. It was set up so that when the sewn loop & shock cord were jammed, it would stay jammed "open" but not pull through the guide strap. (guide strap height adjusted with washers between guide strap & tiller) I was told they pulled the loop open by hand when rounding the windward mark, but it was possible to also open it with a foot. .....I'm not so sure if wearing boots. At some time when the strap isn't needed, they pulled back on the shock cord to dislodge the jammed loop to return to the retracted position.

I'd be interested to see what other ideas you hear about. Perhaps you might post them. It's a lot more interesting than the war! (or digging out from the 6 feet of snow we got here in Coal Creek Canyon)


...... Mark


A piece of 20mm gas tubing works well looped under the tiller.



A stiff wire loop seems to work well. Use rigging wire 1x19 / 3 mm, for example

Make the loop suitably long and wide so that you can also hoist standing up, with the tiller & loop between your knees. Regards / Terveisin

Raimo Raita

Wire works the best, hard not soft. You need to fix it on both sides of the tiller so it cannot slip.

Make it big enough so you can put your foot in incl boots.

Question is if you can hoist the big kite whilst seated. I cannot.


Ali, we have found it is much faster and better to hoist and drop standing up with the tiller between your legs. If you want weight to weather have the crew sit on the tank when launching the pole.

If it is blowing 30+ and big waves have the crew pull the kite down for safety.

Howard Hamlin

I recall Mike and Howie both saying not to hoist from the tank, but what do I know.

Aaron Ross

Did you try sitting on the tiller extension?

The other system which I contemplated when sailing with Silvia was to provide an option for the crew to hoist. That would involve leading the halyard through a cheek block where it clears the forward bulkhead and adding an extra cleat there. The skipper can concentrate on steering - you can pass a lot of boats ifyou can keep planing as they stop to hoist their kites.


Witold Gesing

Hi Ali,

Im not sure it matters as long as it is self supporting and does not sag.