Originally Posted by mdbee
...I have only sailed with a wheel a few times but it seems you have a better "feel" or connection with the boat / water / wind.
The wheel pluses... assuming a cockpit designed for helmsman comfort which would include:
1 - T shaped
2 - hump helmsman seat behind the wheel
3 - cockpit sole behind wheel curves up towards cockpit edges
Benefitsof a wheel:
a. You can sit to windward or leeward as preferred
b. More cockpit space for crew
c. You can comfortably stand and steer, which is nice if you have a dodger up or there's a lot of wave action, you can see where you are going.
d. Weather helm doesn't translate in a heavy tiller.
e. But the major benefit of a wheel is you can steer for hours in all conditions and not become immediately or excessively fatigued.
A tiller can still be enjoyable if the boat is designed to permit use of a hiking stick. For example, a Colgate 26 is a delight to sail, because the cockpit coamings are designed for comfortable windward seating and for the use of a hiking stick. You can sit securely to windward and steer easily while looking where you are going.
Now and then I take a sail on a friend's Pearson Triton, a nice older design, but after about 10 minutes on the tiller, it's "so who wants to drive now...". If the breeze is up, just forgetaboutit.