Alloy tiller steer boats are unpretentious, efficient and make great tenders or fishing platforms. We look at some of the production models available in New Zealand from 3.5m through to 6m.
While hardtops have become the most popular new mode of alloy boat design, there are still those whose boating needs are a lot less both in size and cost.
The first alloy boats from builders such as Fyran, Parkercraft, Starcraft and De Haviland were all tiller steer. Kiwi boaties were brought up on Parkercraft 12s and 14s and there are still many thousands sitting around in holiday homes, that are still being used. Centre consoles and runabouts came in a lot later and cabin boats and hardtops followed. Tiller steer dinghies were and still are an excellent introduction to boating. Over the years as the market changed and new styles were introduced the number of manufacturers offering small tiller steer dinghies dropped away. The money was in the larger boats and when companies like Fyran decided to do a run of 12s, they built big batches, like 100 plus at a time to make production more cost efficient.
For a while it looked like RIBs would take over completely from the small alloy dinghy and while this has certainly been the case when it comes to yacht and launch tenders, the small alloy tiller steer tinnie is again a popular option, especially for fishing.
While you can still buy very basic tiller steer dinghies around 4m, there are now a lot more styles and as aluminium boats are so adaptable, you can just about have any size as a tiller steer. Most outboard manufacturers provide tiller steer kits right through to their 200 hp plus models, so your next tiller steer boat is only restricted by your imagination.
However, if you are looking at the production models, offered by local builders, the range consists of around 50 from Kiwi builders and almost as many from Australian builders Quintrex and Savage. Both brands are available in New Zealand through local dealers.
Sizes start at around 3m and go right through to 6m, with a huge number in the 4.1m to 4.6m range. Most have 3mm or 4mm hull bottoms and are available as either a conventional monohull, pontoon and even catamaran.
Check out our Buyers Guide for models available on the local market from both Kiwi and Australian manufacturers.