I am going to start a series of quick sailing tips. I will try to post these regularly until I dry up of ideas. I hope these tips are helpful and I will keep them short and to the point.
My first quick tip is to add a marker on the ship’s wheel when the rudder is centred. Our boat has a large wheel and there is no indication of when the rudder was centred, except for a small diagram on one of the instruments. Staring at a small instrument is difficult and it often detracts from the pleasures of cruising. Most boats overcome this issue by using a ring of electrical tape around the wheel. When the rudder is centred this marker is at the top of the helm.
This solution is ugly and still involves looking down at the helm to see if it is centred so I devised a solution, which solves both of these issues. In the place of the electrical tape I tied a Turk’s Head knot which you can learn here – http://www.animatedknots.com/turkshead/index.php. This allows the helmsman to feel when the helm is centred without even needing to glance down. The knot looks traditional and if the end is glued or melted into the knot it is a permanent fix.