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I use a steering rod on my 22’ NR Seahawk. 250 to 8 kicker. The key thing is you must have a quick disconnect to both motors. The first reason is that you will want to disconnect the main from the kicker when underway and not trolling or steerage of the main will be very difficult when the kicker is trimmed up. I just disconnect the main and leave the rod connected to the kicker on one end and set the other end on the offshore bracket.

Second you might need to disconnect the kicker to control the boat at the kicker as you mentioned as well as remove the rie rod for road travel. The other consideration is if the main connection point and the kicker connection point are on the same horizontal plane. If not you will need to bend the rod with a torch to get your bends precise. I bought this rod set up mostly for the connectors not the rod. The rod was too short as I needed to bend a different rod multiple times for it to reach from the main to a kicker mounted on a higher plane due to the hot water rinse bracket. It works perfectly. Oh and throttle control of the kicker at the helm is a must if you use this approach.
 

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In my opinion, just go with a Garmin kicker autopilot

I went through the same progression of half measures (tie bars, then tie bars plus trollmaster, etc), then finally bit the bullet and got the Garmin.

  • no need for disconnecting every time you make a run
  • throttle control is way more sensitive/adjustable than the trollmaster (in my experience)
  • steering from the remote has been life changing, the captain is no longer imprisoned at the helm or stern.
All good points, if you have a boat that can maintain speed and course with just the power and rudder of the kicker. My boat just can’t do it when there is current and or wind!

I experienced so much frustration early on trying to maintain speed and course just with the kicker manually. It was impossible! But when I deployed the main as a rudder big time improvement! So the cost of installing a Garmin or TR-1, when I knew it would be ineffective with no ROI made zero $. I would think that it could work only with a bow mounted trolling motor working in tandem but then there is all of that, and my simple tie rod solution just works and really is not that much hassle. There is always a second hand on board the can take the wheel if captain needs relief. And the captains chair is the most comfortable chair on deck!
 
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