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Up ’til now, I’ve just attached a line to one of the aft cleats, made one turn around the tiller, and then cleated off on the other side.

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It’s worked okay, except for the sometimes slow slipping of the tiller through the line, or you want to get to the outboard controls easily. This install should put an end to the tangled web I’ve woven.

First up, measuring to a point on the tiller 18 inches forward of the rudderhead’s pivot point.

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Then, a measurement of the distance from the gunwale to the tiller in its centered position. This critical measurement indicated I’d need an extension of 7 inches, and when I looked into fabricating an extension for the ram, I found that Raymarine uses a proprietary threading. No such tap or die was going to be found on the cheap. Looks like I’ll be buying more parts. So it goes.

Next, I had to beef up the gunwale with a backing plate of some type, where the unit will be mounted. I used a profile gauge to get a rough indication of the radii of the contours of the gunwale, and made the crawl below the cockpit to measure for the piece of plywood.

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Slathering on some two-part epoxy, I then used a go-bar to hold the new backer in place until the epoxy dried.

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As you can see, the go-bar is basically just a thin strip of whatever you’ve got lying around, bent slightly to provide some upwards force.

Now comes the part most boat owners dread, the drilling of holes in one’s boat.

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All that fretting over “critical measurements” ended when the bit dug into and through the fiberglass. Seat the brass mounting socket with some more epoxy, and the unit was halfway installed.  I was now ready to locate the electrical socket.

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Attach the leads to the newly installed electrical socket, then it’s time to clamber back under the cockpit in order to route the new 12 gauge wiring. Oh, joy.

I tied the unit’s power into the electrical panel, sharing the 12 volt automotive socket that I use for charging my cell phone and iPod. Flip the switch, hear a beep, and hey, the ram moves with the touch of a button!

Next I installed the ram’s mount on the tiller. This part took the most time of all, really, because I’d mismeasured the vertical distance between the ram and the bottom of the tiller by one inch. I’d ordered a three-inch offset, when it was closer to two.  That one inch cost me an extra week of time plus 8-10 bucks shipping. The durned bracket alone costs $40.00. [cough-ripoff-cough] It’s nice, beefy aluminum.

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I can’t wait to commission it, hopefully by week’s end. Temps are expected to be in the 70’s by then. Sorry to all my more “Northerly” readers : )

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