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utchuckd 02-29-2012 06:39 PM

Wheel to tiller conversion possible?
Is it possible to convert a boat with wheel steering to a tiller? Impossible? Does it depend on the boat?

MobiusALilBitTwisted 02-29-2012 06:48 PM

sure you can just need to find out what is needed to make the change, post the year make model of the boat here and see if you can some idea from the SN members as to how to go about it, or there opinion at any rate

utchuckd 02-29-2012 08:18 PM

Thanks. No specific boats yet, just wondering if it would rule any boats out when I'm looking.

mitiempo 02-29-2012 08:23 PM

Many boats with a wheel have an emergency tiller - all should. On some it is hard to access, like a Coronado 35 for example - it is beneath the bed in the master stateroom.

But in many aft cockpit boats it is often either at the level of the cockpit sole or on the aft deck. If that is the case the emergency tiller becomes the main method of steering. Often a new tiller is made out of wood if the emergency tiller is metal and it is bolted permanently instead of just a slip on affair.

Much more expensive to go the other way.:)

olson34 02-29-2012 09:08 PM

Easy, sort of....

Originally Posted by utchuckd (Post 838446)
Is it possible to convert a boat with wheel steering to a tiller? Impossible? Does it depend on the boat?

Quite possible, and it does indeed depend on the boat.

If you are shopping a boat built in the 70's or 80's, before wheel options became a common option to sell more boats to newbies, a comversion back is quite possible... although not without some work.
If the builder left the original rudderhead in place, it's easy to put a tiller back on after after you clear out the pedistal from the cockpit.
You will then need to put in a new lever control set for the engine and install a new compass.

Like all projects in boat maintenance and upgrades, it just takes Time, Skill, and Money. All you need is any two of these three! :rolleyes:


sailingfool 02-29-2012 09:10 PM

54 Attachment(s)
If you really want a boat with a tiller, you really should just only consider thew purchase of boats that have a tiller. For models/boat sizes usually equipped with a wheel, a version with a tiller will sell for a big discount. If you buy a boat with a wheel, you pay more going in, then lose a few thousands when you remove the wheel. Probably a bad way to do it.

final frame 02-29-2012 09:21 PM

This is a good question and i thank you for asking it. I use to only look at wheel driven boats but now ive flipped to tiller. I like the simplicity i guesd.

therondor 02-29-2012 10:03 PM

owning a columbis 36 with a triller i wonder why you would want to change to a tiller don't get me wrong i love my tiller ,but it takes up a huge amount of room in the cockpit and if you plan to run with your rails in the water you better grow some arms as weather helm is purely leverage and wreslteing a 6 00 pound gorrilla for 5 or 6 hours is a tiring affair,infact hthis heai i am converting this to a wheel it will free up several feet of the cockpit with the relocation od the mainsail boom traveler to the top to the coach i will be able to use the the entire cockpit i'm hoping to find a bimini for the sun really burns me up,. howerve if it,s racing you are interested than a tiller might be your thing but for cruising i would have to recomend the wheel

Faster 03-01-2012 10:02 AM

A friend has an Ericson 33 that originally had a wheel and is now tiller steered. This boat's rudder stock has a top bushing and exposed shaft nearly at deck level so attaching the tiller was a simple matter.

He does have a circular hump in the cockpit where the original pedestal hole has been covered with a gasketed plate, but generally it's not in the way of anything while sailing. The original quadrant is still on the stock below decks, but again not really in the way of anything.

Wheel-to-tiller will obviously be less costly than going the other way, esp if you can sell the pedestal later on.

RichH 03-01-2012 10:57 AM

A tiller really implies that the rudder is a 'balanced' design so that the forces needed for the tiller when the boat is at high speed is light or easy to move.
A 'barn door' rudder, one that attached by 'hinges' to the end of a full keel or to a 'skeg' require a LOT of force to turn when the boat is at speed ... and functionally they are best turned with a 'wheel' that can generate a lot of mechanical advantage.

For a tiller the 'best match' is a 'balanced' spade rudder, the worst match-up would be a 'barn door' 'hinged' or pintle hung rudder. If the rudder is 'balanced' then the tiller will only need 'finger tip' pressure to hold the boat on a straight course but if the rudder is not 'balanced' sometimes you'll need arms like Popeye to overcome the adverse helm pressure when 'steering'.

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