Join Date: May 2012
Location: North Vancouver, BC
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Re: changing helm style
If the cockpit wasn't designed for a wheel, there is a good chance it won't work very well. I have a friend with a Jeanneau 29 that had a retrofit wheel installed. They had to with go with a very small diameter wheel, (kinda like the Mac 26x wheel), and even then they had to notch out one of the lazarette lids so it could be fully opened.
The main benefit of the wheel over a tiller is the mechanical advantage you get on bigger boats. On a boat your size that is not an issue. The trade off is that you get less feel, and slower response. You can do things with a tiller boat that you can't with a wheel, particularly when it comes to docking and tight maneuvering.
Besides, wheels look silly on small boats!
1979 Santana 30 Tall Rig