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Another reason for a larger diameter wheel is to provide the ability to be outboard enough to see the jib telltales and to see the waves, esp when beating. It's quite comfortable to sit straddling the wheel rim, as long as there are good foot braces, and steer from as far outboard as your reach allows...
As far as interference of the largish wheel goes, many people simply remove the wheel when in port or anchored to create more room to move around... don't forget to secure the wheel wherever you store it... they don't float! Edson makes large diameter knurled quick connect wheel nuts that make this a bit easier to do.. The folding wheels, though, are indeed slick - but pricey.
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)
Last edited by Faster; 09-16-2011 at 08:17 PM.