Pearson 30 Tiller to Wheel Conversion - SailNet Community

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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance
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  #1  
Old 06-14-2005
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Pearson 30 Tiller to Wheel Conversion

I am thinking about converting my 1970 Pearson 30, Hull #7, from a tiller to a wheel and would appreciate any advice/sharing of experiences. Thanks.
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Old 06-14-2005
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Pearson 30 Tiller to Wheel Conversion

You asked for "any advice/sharing of experiences". My experience with a pearson 30 that was converted from a tiller to a wheel was that it really seemed to ruin the boat. These are very nice sailing boats and they tend to be quite responsive to the helm. The price of that responsiveness is that they require a lot of helm input. This meant a lot more steering effort with the wheel and frankly I felt like I could not keep up with the boat''s tendancy to change course. In my mind it took a great handling boat and made it hard to steer.

The other issue is the cockpit which is a bit narrow for a wheel so the wheel ends up being pretty small in diameter and so it was hard to see the sails when steering. The original set up with the tiller places you pretty far forward in the cockpit and allows you to get outboard with a tiller extension. If the wheel was placed far enough forward that you can see better it would really block the cockpit for on anchor utility.

Some boats are suitable for a wheel, this one is not a good candidate.

Jeff
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Old 06-14-2005
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Pearson 30 Tiller to Wheel Conversion

If you haven''t already, sign up for the Sailnet Pearson email list and ask your question there. Many P-30 owners subscribe to that list, some with wheels. They can give you the best information.
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Old 06-14-2005
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Pearson 30 Tiller to Wheel Conversion

As a former P30 owner, I totally agree with Jeff_H.

A wheel is not going to an easy retrofit due to the fuel tank directly below the cockpit sole; and, you will need considerable modification of the ''rudder tube''. You will need to change that very simple ''tube'' to a complex stuffing box arrangement.

Consider that a P30 is a *wonderfully balanced* boat usually only requiring slight ''finger-tip'' pressure on that long tiller. With an adjustable (forespar) tiller extension one can sit on the top of the coaming and see precisely the attack angle / luff area of the genoa/jib. In contrast with a wheel and on a beat, to me, its *very* tiring to be ''pushing'' the top of the wheel *away* from yourself to keep a track, ..... than simply ''pulling'' a tiller (extension) slightly towards you to keep a track. Sure the tiller can sometimes ''dominate'' the cockpit, especially when the cockpit is loaded with ''bodies''; but, you can because of the minimal force require on the tiller .... simply LIFT the tiller over those obstructing ''bodies'' when necessary (and you ''can'' swing the tiller 180 degrees when you''re motoring backwards).

With a wheel, you will have to locate it far in front of the traveller - towards the front of the cockpit so that there is sufficient ''body-space'' between the wheel and the traveller ... and then, you are going to probably get ''whipped'' by the mainsheet (now behind you). A P30 due to its narrow footwell in the cockpit will require a ''small'' wheel .... and that will force you to stay inside the cockpit more than sitting up on top of the coaming .... unless you want a sore back from bending over all the time.

Another consideration is the ease and much simpler installation of a linear drive autopilot for a tiller in contrast to a more complex and more expensive wheel pilot.

God, I sorely miss a tiller steered boat with a balanced rudder !!!!! Simple, precise, ultimate feed-back to your hands, tiller extension, etc. <BIG sigh>.
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Old 06-14-2005
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Pearson 30 Tiller to Wheel Conversion

I bought a P30 years ago for 6K.It had a diesel,roller furling,self tailing winches,.....I did a little work on the deck,rudder post and chain plates but had a solid fun boat to take out for short runs.The tiller is what makes these boats fun,since they are not designed for long trips and are not offshore boats either,keep the boat stock and you will be happier in the long run.When you decide to anchor you will not have any room to enjoy yourself but with the tiller flipped up it`s not too bad.I loved mine so much that selling it was not worth it since resale is quite low.It sure sails better than my ketch and for short sails I still use it when the weather and sea isn`t to rough.
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Old 06-15-2005
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Pearson 30 Tiller to Wheel Conversion

Pat -- Did you receive enough input from folks on the Pearson email list about this little project????? Lots of very knowledgeable people on the Pearson list with all sorts of different views. These boards are great, but people often don''t get much of a response here to questions like yours. Good luck with whatever you decide to do about the conversion.
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Old 08-03-2005
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Pearson 30 Tiller to Wheel Conversion

The 30 is too small a boat to need a wheel.
Most wheels start at 32-35''.

You gain zip for leverage, as the bizzare rudder shape on the P-26/30 will wash out and spin the boat long before your arm gets stretched.

Some guy has a p-26 with a wheel at my club.
Looks dumb and takes up lots of cockpit space. For it to work, it is a small wheel up high to miss the seats.

What about boom height? Unless you are really short, you are going to be ducking all the time.

And wheels are not cheap. An Edson setup for your Pearson is probably about half the cost your boat is worth if your boat is in really good condition.

Suggest you leave the tiller along. Add a hand extension or a Autohelm st4000 for the tiller and enjoy the old girl.
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Old 08-12-2005
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Pearson 30 Tiller to Wheel Conversion

If it''s not too late, let me add my voice to the "don''t do it" crowd.

There''s no good reason to immasculate your Pearson 30; please don''t do it! The boat handles wonderfully under tiller, and as the Sabre guy said, add a tiller pilot and you''re stylin''. Our tillerpilot is like having another crew person on board, except "Ray" doesn''t eat our food or drink our beer/rum, and he stows away neatly when not in use.

The Pearson 30 is the ultimate KISS boat... keep it that way.
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