Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: New England
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Agree with others
A tiller will give more of a "feel" of the boat, while a wheel will free up a little more room in the cockpit.
If you do daysailing in a smaller boat (22 to 32 ft) a lot and do so with friends and not just yourself and possibly another (spouse, SO, etc.) then cockpit room will be come important and the tiller maybe a PITA. Remember, you really can't sit behind the till to use it effectively.
If you just daysail with yourself (solo) or with one or two others, the cockpit room is less of an issue. The other nice thing about a tiller it is simpler and less complex than the wheel steering mechanism. Even if the tiller handle breaks, a pole (boat hook, paddle,or similar) can be rigged to give you control again.
The wheel is nice in that it frees up some space in the cockpit and is "easier" to use for the "non-sailor". My wife has yet to grasp the tiller concept, but has no problem at the helm of our wheel-steered boat. When guests come aboard who are not experienced and take the helm, it is much like driving a car for them. I turn the wheel in the direction I want to turn.
I learned to sail on a tiller boat, so I am comfortable with that. Although I find that sometimes I have tiller-itus on our Wheel-steered boat when I sailing from the leeward side of the boat. I occasionally pull the wheel towards me when I want the boat to turn away from me.