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jadkkd 08-14-2007 09:35 PM

Tiller vs. wheel
I have been looking into some daysailors. Everything I've looked at has had a tiller. All sailboats I've had or sailed has had a wheel. I'm wondering if going out on a 3 hour sail with a tiller will get to be a pain after a while?

poltergeist 08-14-2007 09:43 PM

Go with a tiller
I can't imagine why it would be a pain. "Daysailer" implies a relatively confined cockpit, and a tiller will occupy a lot less of that smaller space than a wheel and pedestal. I think that most will also agree that you'll have a better "feel" for the boat and its trim with a tiller.

It may take a day sail or two to get used to it ... I learned with a tiller, and the first time I sailed a boat with a wheel I instinctively wanted to turn the wheel in the direction I was accustomed to pushing the tiller (instead of transferring the experience of steering a car). Kept falling off when I wanted to head up and vice versa. But I'm a little slow, too. :-)


mstern 08-14-2007 09:45 PM

No. If you don't mind steering a wheel for three hours, you won't mind steering with a tiller for three hours. IMHO, tillers are more fun, especially on smaller boats. Much better feel and immediate feedback.

tdw 08-14-2007 09:58 PM

Having recently moved from a 28' with tiller to a 34' with wheel I can heartily recommend the tiller. Over 35-40' the tiller becomes somewhat impractical but for simplicity and feel you cannot beat them in a smaller craft.

Waymar83 08-14-2007 10:02 PM

I have a 32ft with a tiller,

At first I was disappointed as I wanted the "feel" of a bigger boat. I'm glad I got the tiller. I agree totally with poltergeist and mstern, you not only get a better feel you also gain way more space. If you really want it you can also get a reasonably priced autopilot. I have one but I find that I only use it occasionally for the longer trips (more that 4 hrs in the same direction)..

jadkkd 08-14-2007 10:18 PM

Very helpful feedback!

Sabreman 08-14-2007 10:41 PM

At the risk of being a contrarian, I believe that it's a wash. IMHO, both the tiller and wheel allow for plenty of feel. On a 28' and now a 38' boat (and others too), I have no problem feeling rudder pressure. I don't have any problem adjusting rudder angle in anticipation of a lift or header by sensing wind variance through sound and feel. I guess that's what they call boat-feel. I grew up sailing all kinds of tiller-ed boats and I guess that by now either is just as easy. IHMO, I really believe that while in operation, a wheel actually takes much less cockpit space because the sweep of the rudder is avoided. Pierside, the tiller wins for space efficiency.

Don't worry about the tiller, you'll get used to it quickly. Don't forget - you can use your feet and legs to steer too!

ImASonOfaSailor 08-14-2007 11:21 PM

I grew up with the tiller! I guess it is the same thing as everything else it all depends what you are comfortable with. Anyone can learn something new, everyone deserves the right to get smarter or learn another way.

blt2ski 08-15-2007 01:17 AM

Boats have steering wheels?!?!?!?!?!?! I have yet to sail a boat with a wheel, other than a stink pot! Not sure that that counts.

Next boat may have a wheel, but even so, I do like a tiller, even on my 29'r. IIRC< in 06 or 07, ALL but one TP52 being built had a tiller! Vs previous yrs, all but one had a wheel!

Daysailers will typically have tillers, easier to rig up and down vs trying to rig a wheel to a rudder. A tiller needs one bolt if not two for larger ones.


Valiente 08-15-2007 01:40 AM

I love tillers due to the tactile response, the mechanical simplicity and the fact you can steer with your arse crack while you trim the main or handle a sheet.

Add to that the ability to put it vertical at dock or anchor and to lay out a plank with drinks and snacks across the cockpit at the very place a pedestal and wheel would go, and you've got a winner. Also, if you trim the sails properly, you can rig self-steering on a tiller with a small clamp, a sheet and some shock amps, no problem.

I have two wheels and an OPTIONAL tiller on the new boat, and the tiller will have a real role in combination with the windvane and some line and small blocks offshore, as I can bypass the hydraulic steering of the wheel set-up.

I think the break point for me is about 35 feet, but I would suggest it depends on your size, your interest in riding the coaming with an extension instead of aft, and your provision for auto piloting.

Actually, the "system" I like the best is about extinct: a small wheel mounted "backwards" where the helmsman is forward of the pedestal/binnacle.

Like this, only smaller in most old boats:

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