no longer reading SailNet
Join Date: Oct 2012
Thanked 140 Times in 133 Posts
Rep Power: 4
Re: changing helm style
I agree with the general sentiment already expressed. I was kind of in your shoes after my ASA 101 and 103 courses a couple of years ago. The course was taught on a C&C 29 foot boat with wheel steering, and it was just so intuitive, that I thought it would be preferable to tiller steering. Well, it was very difficult to find a small boat, say 25 or so feet with wheel steering I just gave up. Once I got used to the tiller, which took all of about an hour, I've not felt the need to go to a wheel.
I had the reverse experience. I'd primarily sailed tiller boats (including in my classes at the Center for Wooden Boats) and came to prefer the feedback that you can feel through the tiller and the simplicity of the design. My first boat also had one.
When I moved up to my current boat most of the options that I was considering had wheels (including the Pearson 28-2 that I bought). I still think I prefer tillers, but I do like how the wheel opens up the cockpit and once I overhauled the steering system I got back the feedback that I liked of a good tiller setup. It's amazing how badly most wheel systems are maintained and how big of a difference a little fresh grease and teflon makes.
I would never bother doing the conversion, there are much better ways to spend the money. With a tiller boat enjoy the simple maintenance, low cost autopilots and replacement parts, good helm feedback, and light system weight.
I'm no longer participating on SailNet.