Based on only the experience of one year each with tiller and wheel on a Crealock 37 we found that with a tiller and tiller extension you get all of the benefits listed below plus some. For example, you can stand or sit, AND you can sit up under the dodger when it is cold and nasty -- or you can stand with just your head over the dodger when you need. In this well-designed boat there is simply no excuse for heavy weather helm so the one advantage of the wheel is, as far as I can tell, lost.
We have not yet sailed in large following seas so don't know how that will work, but for everything else we much prefer the tiller -- having used both on this boat!
PSC 37, Kenlanu.
Originally Posted by sailingfool
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.