???to ditch wheel steering ??? - SailNet Community
LinkBack Thread Tools
post #1 of 53 Old 03-22-2011 Thread Starter
1970 bristol 30 hull #4
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: kemah tx
Posts: 8
Thanks: 0
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Rep Power: 0
???to ditch wheel steering ???

so i recently bought a 1970 bristol 30 that currently has edson wheel steering the type running cables and chains from the wheel to a quadrent i think is the correct word on the rutter post that is still exposed in the cockpit for use with emergency tiller. Just thiking I have never owned a wheel steer boat and it sure seems like a lot of points of failor compared to a tiller. I have new teak decking to go down with if i remove it. I question auto pilots I know that they are cheaper for a tiller boat, but are they as accurate and effecent as awheel pilot??? and its a nice piece of hardware it will be tough to pull it out kind of like taking the A/C out of your car to save gas any thought on the matter would be nice
dieseldrifter is offline  
Quote Quick Reply Share with Facebook
Sponsored Links
post #2 of 53 Old 03-22-2011
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 12,483
Thanks: 7
Thanked 189 Times in 185 Posts
Rep Power: 13
"kind of like taking the A/C out of your car to save gas "
A very appropriate comparison, since removing the AC and rolling down the windows in most modern cars (since the 70's) will actually DECREASE the gas mileage due to increased wind resistance.
And decrease the value of the car, or in this case, the boat. Wheel steering is an expensive option or upgrade. Yes there is more to go wrong but a tiller is also much more constant work and tiring in the long term.
And any autopilot that is above deck is considered unreliable, compared to one that is installed below deck, out of the constant exposure.
By all means, if you want "less stuff" pull the wheel steering, but then don't go putting in an autopilot because that's more stuff again.
hellosailor is offline  
Quote Quick Reply Share with Facebook
post #3 of 53 Old 03-22-2011
Super Fuzzy Moderator
tdw's Avatar
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Sydney Australia
Posts: 17,134
Thanks: 22
Thanked 128 Times in 119 Posts
Rep Power: 10
Myself I've always preferred tillers on boats under 35' and I've often remarked that I wish our old girl was equipped with the original tiller rather than wheel but I've since been sailing on a sister ship with tiller and have to admit I prefer our wheel.

Before you remove the wheel maybe a good idea to try and go for a sail on a tiller equipped boat of the same design.

In general however you do rid yourself of a lot of below deck clutter and as you say tiller pilots are a damn sight cheaper than wheel pilots. My mate with the sister ship to our Van de Stadt 34 has a tiller pilot. I did an overnight coastal passage on her last year and the tiller pilot worked like a charm. Without the clutter his boat has a good double quarterberth whereas ours is really on good for a single.

Pros and cons I'm afraid.

Andrew B (Malö 39 Classic)

“Life is a trick, and you get one chance to learn it.”
― Terry Pratchett.
tdw is offline  
Quote Quick Reply Share with Facebook
post #4 of 53 Old 03-22-2011
Join Date: Jul 2000
Posts: 36
Thanks: 0
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Rep Power: 0
I daysail often with people who want to hang out, people always had to move their legs when I wanted to tack with a tiller, a wheel stays in it's own plane, no one needs to move
anemoneii is offline  
Quote Quick Reply Share with Facebook
post #5 of 53 Old 03-22-2011
thehardaground's Avatar
Join Date: Jan 2011
Posts: 48
Thanks: 0
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Rep Power: 0
I would think that a Bristol 30 would sail quite comfortably with a tiller. Personally I would change back in a heartbeat. When you remove the pedestal and all the associated gear you can probably sell it quite easily and turn that $$$$$$$$$$ into an autopilot.
thehardaground is offline  
Quote Quick Reply Share with Facebook
post #6 of 53 Old 03-22-2011
Senior Member
fallard's Avatar
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Mystic
Posts: 1,636
Thanks: 3
Thanked 48 Times in 47 Posts
Rep Power: 8
Edson gear is pretty solid stuff. More likely than not you will sooner or later need to replace the cables, which you can do yourself. If the sheaves (pulleys) are in good shape, you would do yourself a favor by doing some preventative maintenance and keep your wheel steering.

If you call Edson directly, they will more than likely provide practical advice on how you should proceed with your boat. I called them a few years ago about a replacement part and they looked up my specific boat in their files and sent me a list of the Edson parts that the boatbuilder ordered for the original owner. They also told me that the part I needed (a boot for my steering arm) wasn't made by Edson, but was available at an auto parts store for about $20.

If you decide to refurbish your steering, you may have a problem removing your binnacle compass if it is held by the original design stainless steel screws. Edson makes a ceramic coated screw for this application and can advise you on how you should handle this upgrade--which involves sacrificing the old screws.
fallard is online now  
Quote Quick Reply Share with Facebook
post #7 of 53 Old 03-22-2011
Just another Moderator
Faster's Avatar
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: New Westminster, BC
Posts: 19,139
Thanks: 153
Thanked 545 Times in 519 Posts
Rep Power: 10
As someone wiser than I said some time back on this board, DON"T DO ANYTHING major other than necessary repairs to your boat until at least after the first full season. (No, td, I don't think it was you.....)

Something that seems like an issue now may, after a year's or so use be of lesser importance, or be overtaken by some issue more critical.

The wheel vs tiller debate is one of those unwinnable ones with valid pros & cons on both sides. In a perfect world you'll simply sail enough of both to be comfortable with either.


1984 Fast/Nicholson 345 "FastForward"

".. there is much you could do at sea with common sense.. and very little you could do without it.."
Capt G E Ericson (from "The Cruel Sea" by Nicholas Monsarrat)
Faster is online now  
Quote Quick Reply Share with Facebook
post #8 of 53 Old 03-23-2011
Senior Member
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 1,714
Thanks: 2
Thanked 39 Times in 38 Posts
Rep Power: 14
The next time I run into someone who says "tillers are better!" I'm gonna ask to see his tiller steered car.

"Just call me TB"
capttb is online now  
Quote Quick Reply Share with Facebook
post #9 of 53 Old 03-23-2011
Courtney the Dancer
jrd22's Avatar
Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: San Juan Islands., WA, USA
Posts: 3,968
Thanks: 5
Thanked 30 Times in 29 Posts
Rep Power: 17
Faster's advice - +1

SV Laurie Anne

1988 Brewer 40 Pilothouse

jrd22 is offline  
Quote Quick Reply Share with Facebook
post #10 of 53 Old 03-23-2011
ancient mariner
captbillc's Avatar
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: duluth ,minnesota
Posts: 439
Thanks: 1
Thanked 2 Times in 2 Posts
Rep Power: 9
i had never had a tiller on a boat till i got this nimble 30 express. it sure makes docking easy. the tiller pilot works great even down wind in a following sea. of course, the canoe stern helps there too.

Liberals are people who care about others. Freethinkers are not constrained by the myths of religion.
captbillc is offline  
Quote Quick Reply Share with Facebook

Quick Reply

By choosing to post the reply above you agree to the rules you agreed to when joining Sailnet.
Click Here to view those rules.

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the SailNet Community forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.
Please note: After entering 3 characters a list of Usernames already in use will appear and the list will disappear once a valid Username is entered.

User Name:
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:


Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.

Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Steering wheel size ichorniy General Discussion (sailing related) 26 07-18-2010 08:19 PM
D/A steering wheel wchevron Gear & Maintenance 0 03-25-2008 01:37 PM
wheel steering spectre2 General Discussion (sailing related) 8 09-14-2004 01:47 AM
Steering Wheel Hub BertV Gear & Maintenance 4 08-28-2003 07:31 PM
Wheel Steering cmlambpsi Racing 2 09-06-2001 05:58 PM

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome