Catalina 27: Tiller or wheel? Inboard or outboard? - SailNet Community

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Old 06-28-2007
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Catalina 27: Tiller or wheel? Inboard or outboard?

On a Catalina 27, which of these options are better? Pro's, cons?

Tiller or wheel?

Inboard or outboard?

Thanks very much!
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Old 06-28-2007
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Tiller for a boat that small, fun and responsive. Tiller flips up out of the way when at anchor giving you a more usable cockpit.

Inboard would be my preference unless you are in protected waters. Waves will cause an outboard to come out of the water. Pros and cons with this. A good inboard will be nice, a bad one expensive. Outboard easy to replace. How much will you motor?
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Old 06-28-2007
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I agree completely with Gene T above. Tillers rock on anything below about 32'. Much better "feel".

Outboard v inboard, a tossup. Ease of repair/replacement versus having a shaft and prop down deep in the water and putting flow over your rudder, at least while going ahead. In predominantly flat water conditions (lakes, bays, and sounds) go outboard, for more blue-water conditions, favor the inboard.
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Old 06-28-2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 7tiger7
On a Catalina 27, which of these options are better? Pro's, cons?

Tiller or wheel?
On a 27' boat: Tiller, without question. The cockpit on a 27' is going to be far too small for a wheel. Plus you won't get the feel of the boat nearly as well from a wheel as you will a tiller.

IMHO: Anything under 32' feet is best with a tiller. Around 32' - 34': Could go either way. For cruising, a wheel would probably be less tiring. For pure sailing enjoyment: A tiller might be more fun. 36' and above, you probably want a wheel. (See caveat below.)

Quote:
Originally Posted by 7tiger7
Inboard or outboard?
Coffee or tea?

Seriously: "It depends." A long-shaft outboard is perfectly capable of driving a Cat 27 to-and-from a days sailing. It has the advantage of easy maintenance and easy replacement. You can raise it up, getting the prop entirely out of the water, for slightly better speed under sail. OTOH: It might not fare as well in following seas, it won't have near the battery-charging capability, and it'll be a bit noisier.

For racing: Outboard. For cruising: I prefer inboard.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 7tiger7
Thanks very much!
You're welcome.

Now, the caveats: I don't currently own a boat. Nor have I sailed in the last 25 years, other than crewing on one race (on a Cat 27, in fact, with tiller and outboard), a couple weeks ago. However I have been looking at boats for a month and reading voraciously. The point being: My tiller vs. wheel opinions, in particular, represent numbers I more-or-less pulled out of my... er... family forum... right... pulled out of the air .

Jim
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Old 06-28-2007
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Thanks for the opinions guys.
I personally prefer the inboard / wheel set up. Inboard because I then have a better way of charging batteries, I think it gives the boat cleaner lines.

Wheel... well, part of me wants a wheel because while under sail, I won't be knocking a tiller into everyone's legs in the cockpit. Yes, while at anchor I can swing it up - but a wheel while underway doesn't take much space and knock into people's knees.

Hmmm...
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Old 06-28-2007
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I agree with Gene T and nolatom. A tiller and inboard diesel would be my choice. Another advantage of the diesel is the much better fuel economy compared to a gas outboard. I use between 1/4 and 1/3 of a gallon per hour when motoring my 30 foot CAL at 5 knots. My previous Peason 26 with outboard would use almost a gallon per hour. Cost aside, it means you aren't looking for fuel every couple of days when cruising.
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I've sailed a Cat27 with the wheel and inboard combo (coastal waters), and I absolutely loved the boat. The inboard is definitely my preference over an outboard, especially if you have any kind of electrical system and batteries (I also agree that the lines are much better on a boat with an inboard). I could go either way on the wheel vs. tiller. The wheel is easier to lock down on long tacks, but it isn't as responsive and it does crowd the cockpit. Having said that, we were on the boat with five people in the cockpit, and it wasn't too bad, even with the wheel taking up a bunch of space.

Regards,

Leff
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I have a 24 footer that I have enjoyed for the last 3 years. However I would make a few changes if I were to do it again. Your question addresses the two changes I will be making fist. First change; I would get an inboard not the outboard. The outboard hangs off the stern placing more weight further aft further accentuating the heavy aft heavy tendency in smaller boats; most of the time most of the weight is accumulated in the stern of the boat. Others have said it and they are right, when it gets choppy the outboard comes up out of the water. And, if you have somebody on the bow helping you dock it can raise the prop close enough to the surface to make it loose efficiency.
Second change; I would opt for the steering wheel over the tiller. I hear people talk about the “feel” of the tiller providing a superior experience. Perhaps, but the tiller takes up too much room in the limited space available. It is usually in the way, banging into somebody or necessitating a move on somebody’s part.
The down side of my choices would be the increased complexity and maintenance requirements of a steering system over a simple tiller. The same would apply to an inboard engine over the typical outboard hung on the stern. Recognizing those shortcomings I will still make those two changes when I purchase my next sail boat. My vote: steering wheel and inboard.
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Old 06-28-2007
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Basically, the inboard is going to be a better choice as a powerplant, but the outboard leaves you with more room and storage space in the boat. If you're a sailing purist, and will not motor much, and plan on taking longer voyages in your boat, it might make more sense to get an outboard-equipped model.

The tiller is definitely the way to go—much better than a wheel—simpler, takes up less space when at anchor, and more reliable.
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I have a catalina 27

I have a catalina 27 with a tiller. I really wanted a wheel but honestly the cockpit is small enough as is. I cannot imagine a wheel in that space. To get around the wheel you would have to step over the lazerette. I have one with a diesel inboard. It is reliable and good. I would for the diesel if you can. If you are buying a catalina 30 then go for the wheel (most I have seen have them anyway). THe previous posters are right you can feel the boat much better with the tiller.
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