For some reason I thought you had converted over to tiller before the big trip? I guess that must be a memory aberration on my part.
Originally Posted by ANKA
...I think that the only time a wheel might be better is reversing under power or if your boat is badly balanced for some reason. Since we all try to avoid this as much as possible, the wheel is really decorative....
We have some good threads here on Sailnet that debate the pros/cons of tillers vs. wheels. I don't want to sidetrack Dave's tiller conversion thread, but in those threads you can find a lot of good reasons to opt for the wheel.
It's difficult to make sweeping generalizations that one is better than the other. What may seem like the better solution for a singlehander or couple, may be untenable for a family or crewed boat. Personal preference and other circumstances may dictate different solutions even for identical models with identical cockpit layouts.
In the case of the Crealock 31, the cockpit is proportionally larger and was specifically designed to better accommodate a wheel (i.e., "T"-shaped footwell, as opposed to rectangular like the 34 and 37). I prefer the feel of a tiller, but I wouldn't want one on our boat. I can easily see how others might make the opposite choice. It's good to have options.