Wheel Helm vs. Tiller - SailNet Community

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Old 08-26-2013
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Wheel Helm vs. Tiller

I know this might boil down to personal preference but wondering what some of you with actual coastal or blue water experience favor; wheel or tiller? I know the arguments over the responsiveness of a tiller and the space limitations of a wheel as well as simplicity vs. complication but are there any other points anyone can bring to my attention as I contemplate a conversion? I would use a direct gear arrangement with angle cut gearing, U joints and a rubber shock joint if I were to make up a conversion, a very simple straight forward and bulletproof design. The boat is a coastal cruiser with blue water coming soon after...input?
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Old 08-26-2013
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Re: Wheel Helm vs. Tiller

Are you contemplating replacing a tiller with a wheel? Go to the Edson homepage and they will tell you what parts you need for the conversion. Oftimes the cable arrangement allows a mechanical advantage calculated for the rudder of the boat.
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Old 08-26-2013
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Re: Wheel Helm vs. Tiller

I favor a tiller for anything smaller than 33' due to simplicity.
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Old 08-26-2013
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Re: Wheel Helm vs. Tiller

Depends on size of boat. I'd not do it if under, say, 35'. Much better ways to throw away a few dollars. Our old 34'er had a wheel, her sister ship that we race on fairly regularly has tiller. Wheel has certain advantages, yes, but then so does a tiller and I simply cannot see any good reason to go from one to the other.
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Old 08-26-2013
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Re: Wheel Helm vs. Tiller

I prefer a tiller from a sailing point of view, but mine came with a wheel and it's no big deal to get used to although I do still find it difficult to judge exactly how much rudder I have on when manoeuvring.
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Old 08-26-2013
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Re: Wheel Helm vs. Tiller

Quote:
Originally Posted by bblument View Post
This is from a recent sail... 'nuff said....
Your wife does have a pretty intimate grip on that tiller of yours in the pic.

Gotta love tiller sailboats!
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Re: Wheel Helm vs. Tiller

A rudder angle indicator is a major improvement over a Turks head on the top spoke.which may not stay top spoke in a hydraulic system anyway but makes easy a real autopilot installation.
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Old 08-27-2013
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Re: Wheel Helm vs. Tiller

My previous boat was a moderate displacement 34' ketch with an Edson wheel. Worked fine, no complaints. My current boat is a heavy displacement 37' cutter with a tiller. Works great, absolutely love it.

The greatest benefit (other than those already mentioned regarding simplicity, feel, space, etc.) is that the tiller ensures my sail plan remains well balanced. Sometimes -- OK too often -- I would get lazy with the wheel. Heck, I'm a cruiser after all . The greater mechanical advantage of the wheel allowed a greater laziness.

With the tiller, when things go out of balance I feel it right away. The reduced mechanical advantage means I cannot rely on gears and pulleys to compensate for my lazy sailing. I am more inspired to rebalance the boat quicker. This has made me a better sailor.
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Old 08-27-2013
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Re: Wheel Helm vs. Tiller

I'm comfortable with either as long as its a balanced rudder and the boat is otherwise well set up.
We have a wheel and I'd say the major advantage for cruising is the greater variety of comfortable steering positions available for the helmsperson over a tiller.
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Re: Wheel Helm vs. Tiller

excellent advice all around. I favor the feel and response of a tiller but have also considered the level of comfort and flexibility a wheel can offer. It would seem too from some initial investigating that an auto helm is much easier to install and use on a tiller plus all that extra room. My main question was concerning the use a of a tiller with a boat the length of ours but that does not seem to be an issue. More money to put into the rigging. Thanks gang

Last edited by 71Seafer34; 08-27-2013 at 12:43 PM.
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