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  #11  
Old 08-27-2013
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Re: Wheel Helm vs. Tiller

When I bought my current boat I was dead set against a wheel, but ended up with a wheel anyway. The best condition boat that we could find were all made in the mid-80s, and by then a wheel was fairly typical on ~30' cruising boats.

Now that I've had it for about a year I can see advantages and disadvantages. It is more complicated and there is more to maintain. A bit of feedback is lost, but that is much less of a problem now that I've overhauled the system. I actually think that could be a bigger problem with the gear system that you propose.

It is harder to teach people on because no one remembers where the centerline is.

On the plus side it makes it a lot easier to have an extra guest or two in the cockpit when sailing, no one can sit in the way of the wheel. It has a nice brake that is quicker to use than lashing off the tiller. My 3 year old neighbor likes having the pedestal to hang onto when the boat is heeling heavily and it's a handy place to mount the GPS.

My biggest problem with sailing other wheel boats is the lack of feedback that you get from the rudder. It takes a few hours, but it is worth disassembling the system and lubing the bearings and cables well to get it as friction free as possible. Then it is about as good as a tiller from my point of view.
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  #12  
Old 08-27-2013
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Re: Wheel Helm vs. Tiller

I just moved from a tiller on my old Pearson Triton to a wheel on my C34. I definitely prefer the wheel. I find it easier to find a comfortable position for steering. and the autohelm is much easier to use than the autotiller on the old boat, particularly when changing point of sail. In that situation I just steer to my course, punch the auto-helm and then go to the front of the cockpit to adjust the mainsheet and traveller (on the cabin top).

On a smaller boat the space required for a wheel might be prohibitive, but if there's room in the cockpit for a wheel I'd definitely prefer the wheel.
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  #13  
Old 08-27-2013
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Re: Wheel Helm vs. Tiller

We have the Edson geared link & lever rather than cable/chain.. I think the feedback is pretty good and it's a rock solid low maintenance setup.

CD-iģ Geared Steering Systems : Edson Marine Store
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Old 08-27-2013
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Smile Re: Wheel Helm vs. Tiller

Well the wife likes, "turn right, go right", not so much, "push left, go right" stuff, so it's wheel for us!
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Old 08-28-2013
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Re: Wheel Helm vs. Tiller

To me a tiller has the feel and sensitivity of Porsche steering while a wheel is like an old Caddy - numb and imprecise.
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Old 08-28-2013
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Re: Wheel Helm vs. Tiller

My boat is numb and imprecise so my wheel fits right in. Heck...I even run with my brake dragging so that I only have to tweak as I sail.

I do like the wheel for newbies, it is easier to take a break and let them drive
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Old 08-28-2013
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Re: Wheel Helm vs. Tiller

I was dead set against getting a wheel, but when the perfect boat came along, she had a wheel and I decided to relent.

I'm still adjusting. For me the biggest disadvantage is not knowing where your rudder is - particularly when changing direction and I've screwed the pooch a couple of times in close quarters under duress. Also, for the first few sails I kept turning the wheel the wrong way....
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  #18  
Old 08-28-2013
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Re: Wheel Helm vs. Tiller

It really depends on the kind of boat you have, how you sail it, and how much feel you want with the boat. Obviously you're going to get more feel with a tiller, but if you have a huge heavy boat and don't really push it hard you probably don't need as much feel.

One side benefit to a tiller is that it's really easy to rig up a self-steering system with shock cord. Not going to steer you through the night, but if you need to run up forward to take care of something it'll keep you going straight.
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Old 08-28-2013
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Re: Wheel Helm vs. Tiller

driving an old caddy with a tiller would be a bit of work --i have the old caddy as a cruise boat. i have wheel with cable steering and with a hydraulic autopilot on quadrant.... perfect for cruising..
my play toys can go either way--i dont care, but for cruising comfort--gimme what i has already i am a happy witch.

with what i have it is easy to rig up a remote joystick for steering and throttle so i can do my work on bow without hitting rocks......
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  #20  
Old 08-28-2013
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Re: Wheel Helm vs. Tiller

My Catalina 34 Mark I has a rudder top above the cockpit sole and I can see where the rudder is with a simple glance. Too bad more wheel steered boats don't have this feature - it's where the emergency tiller fits in. Later C34s with walk through transoms did away with this neat feature.

Get a tiller pilot, install it near the bottom of the wheel, attach it to the wheel and it works! Better than some of the wonky wheel pilots that Raymarine makes with the toy motors that are too small for most of the boats they're installed on.

It really doesn't matter, I agree. Whatever you like, there is no "best" or "better." I've had both for almost the same amount of total time, 15 years each. I still can't understand the "more room in the cockpit with a tiller." My wheel simply isn't in "MY" way, maybe for some others.

Geez, I really think this tiller vs wheel is soooo old and tired a discussion. I joined just to say that!

Enjoy what you have or change it to what you want. No big deal.
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