Anchor 01

Tiller

The tiller is a lever that when slotted into the rudder post, allows the pilot to steer the ship. The tiller is always pushed or pulled in the opposite direction than the ship is meant to go in. Hamilton’s tiller is several feet long thus providing a mechanical advantage in the form of torque (or turning power) to the pilot while steering. Regardless, it must have taken a fairly strong person, and often multiple people, to steer the vessel in a stiff breeze. It appears that Scourge was also steered using a tiller. Although Scourge’s tiller is missing, the mortise into which the tiller was inserted is clearly visible and as such it was probably quite similar to Hamilton’s. In the account of the sinking which is included in the book Ned Myers, Or A Life Before The Mast, Myers relates that, all the time I kept shouting to the man at the wheel to put the helm hard down.  This is an interesting remark on Myer’s behalf because Scourge did not have a ship’s wheel. It is possible that he may have been speaking metaphorically; or it may well be that since the account was told to his editor the great story teller James Fenimore-Cooper 30 years after the fact, in 1843, he may have just forgotten.