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post #4 of Old 10-24-2004
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Tiller vs. Wheel

I also learned to sail and race with a tiller, and have always felt that I got good feedback through the tiller, but if a tiller was the only way you could race a boat efficiently, you''d see tillers on the big racing boats instead of those huge twin wheels.

Using a wheel is very intuitive. The first time I ever used a wheel, I felt comfortable with it right away, and felt nearly as efficient as with a tiller. Also, I believe the wheel makes it easier to maneuver around the docks and to use spring lines, especially if youíre short handed. For example, when docking, you can secure a spring line, lock the wheel and use the engine to hold the boat in position while you attach the other lines. You can do the same with a tiller if it is set up for it, but itís more awkward. What Iím trying to say is that, when youíre docking a smaller boat, you can just muscle it into position. When youíre docking a big, heavy boat, you need to use the motor to move it into position, and the wheel facilitates that.
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