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post #15 of Old 08-05-2009
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Re: Pedestal Wheel Conversion

FWIW I think you would be better off selling the boat and buying one with a wheel. Upgrade from tiller to wheel on this boat is not a job for duffers (not saying you are one). And, not cheap - if you could get this done for less than 3 B.O.A.T. units I would be surprised.

I have had my Cal 31 for nearly 20 years. When I bought it I REALLY wanted a wheel but, in the long run, have been glad I didn't. Here are my reasons:

1) I sail alone most of the time. An autopilot is essential and the autopilots for tiller boats are simple, cheap(er), and reliable with no belts to wear out.
2) The feedback is better, I can tell when the rig is out of balance.
3) The tiller folds up out of the way when you don't need it giving me a lot of room in the cockpit
4) Wheels break the KISS rule (keep it simple, stupid). Sure, I have roller furling and an electric windlass but with those the trade offs are greater. However, a failure in the steering, particularly down by the quadrant, would entail a trip into the lazarette which, for me, is no easy task (6'3", 240#).
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