It really depends on the displacement, not the LOA, of the boat you're talking about. TP 52's have tillers. Old 40' One tonners have tillers. If you like lighter boats, particularly those with high aspect spade rudders, you're more than likely going to enjoy the responsiveness of a tiller, and the better it will work with the boat. The greater the displacement, the more sense a wheel makes. Why do most boats in the marina have wheels? Many owners don't come from boat owning families or dingy racing backgrounds. A wheel is easy. It's like your car. For many who come to sailing later in life, a tiller will always feel a little odd unless you're really willing to work at your sailing skills. Personally, I like the mechanical simplicity and feel of a tiller. That said, if I had a 43-44' boat that weighed 25,000k lbs or so and was doing a lot of auto pilot cruising/passage making, a wheel would be fine.
Instrument pods on a wheel? Hate'em. No one can see them except the driver. And what do you do when the self-steering or AP is one? It stinks having to run back in the rain, spray, cold, etc... to catch a glimpse of the holy pod. Drives me nuts... that's just me. You're mileage may vary.
Last edited by puddinlegs; 11-01-2010 at 10:55 PM.