???to ditch wheel steering ??? - SailNet Community

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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance
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  #1  
Old 03-22-2011
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???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
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Old 03-22-2011
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"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.
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Old 03-22-2011
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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.
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Old 03-22-2011
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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
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Old 03-22-2011
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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.
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Old 03-22-2011
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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.
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Old 03-22-2011
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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.
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Old 03-23-2011
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The next time I run into someone who says "tillers are better!" I'm gonna ask to see his tiller steered car.
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Old 03-23-2011
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Faster's advice - +1
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Old 03-23-2011
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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.
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