Don’t be deceived by the paint-spattered overalls and generally scruffy appearance. This man is a genius. And he’s designed what appears to be the best steering system ever to appear on an ocean rowing boat.

Richard Uttley of Dolphin Quay Boatyard worked on the steering system of David Pearse’s Petrel, now reincarnated as Ollie Hicks’s Miss Olive. He’s taken that and improved on it. We now have a heel-steering system that allows me to control the rudder without needing to use my hands, but also avoids the awkward leg positions imposed by toe-steering. And it’s low-tech and simple, unlike electronic autohelms.

It looks great on paper. In a few weeks we’ll know how it works on the water.

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