Re: changing helm style
I've seen it done on a Catalina 25, and I know Edson sells kits to do it. But as others have pointed out, the cockpits on those boats (both the O'Day and the Catalina) aren't set up for a wheel. You'll have a really hard time getting around the wheel to get to anything, and IMHO that's asking for trouble. I agree with the others, you're better off getting a different boat. I was adamant that my next boat have a wheel, and spent a lot of time looking at boats, cockpit layouts, etc., to find something that would work for me. In the end, I found that a few of the newer Hunter 25's, and some of the new Catalinas, have wheels, as do the Seawards. If I wasn't budget constrained, I'd have taken a much harder look at the Seaward 25.
If you do decide to go forward, one option to consider is a transom-mounted wheel. I've seen this done on an Islander 28. To me, it isn't the greatest of options (you sit straddling the wheel's mechanism) but if you really insist, that's probably the most practical solution for a boat that size while still opening up the cockpit.
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1980 Allmand 31
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