Tiller vs. Wheel - Page 3 - SailNet Community

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  #21  
Old 11-01-2010
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Dumping Wheel for Tiller - Am I nuts?

I have a Caliber 28. A tight t-shaped cockpit with a bridgedeck, wheel and pedestal. I sail alone 90% of the time, but feel out of control behind the wheel. I can sit on the coaming, wheel in hand, between tacks, but it's the tacks and jibes that worry me. I can reach the genoa winches, have to bound up on the seats to go forward or return aft, and still feel out of touch with cabin-mounted halyards/reef lines/mainsheet.

Grew up on Highlanders / 420s / Flying Scots / catboats, here in Boston. Would prefer to trim mainsheet at a traveler just aft of bridgedeck. Would prefer to jibe the mainsail facing the traveler, with the tiller between my legs. I think I'd feel more in control than I do now and, again, I usually sail solo.

Refitting this winter, finally sailing south in the spring or summer. Have all the dimensions, have worked out the drawings, but still questioning my wisdom (about cockpit changes!).

The great replies in this tiller-vs-wheel thread have helped me to consider many additional POVs. For instance, I hadn't considered your observations on motoring -- and my rudder isn't balanced. One answer: I'd carry two tillerpilots, bungees and would reallty like a windvane.

Still, I'd appreciate anything you have to say...
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  #22  
Old 11-01-2010
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I'm glad to see this post because next season I'll be on a tiller boat & it looks like I'll have to learn to drive it. I'm a bit nervous because I have very little tiller experience, but I'm always willing to learn something new.

Thanks for the post & the information/feedback.
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  #23  
Old 11-01-2010
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The mechanical advantage you get with the wheel can be a pro or a con. I'm comfortable with either.

I think the most significant advantage a tiller has is the cockpit space. I've banged my elbow into the wheel while working on something and cursed that thing to death. Or a knee. I think I need to look into that quick disconnect thing.
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  #24  
Old 11-01-2010
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It really depends on the displacement, not the LOA, of the boat you're talking about. TP 52's have tillers. Old 40' One tonners have tillers. If you like lighter boats, particularly those with high aspect spade rudders, you're more than likely going to enjoy the responsiveness of a tiller, and the better it will work with the boat. The greater the displacement, the more sense a wheel makes. Why do most boats in the marina have wheels? Many owners don't come from boat owning families or dingy racing backgrounds. A wheel is easy. It's like your car. For many who come to sailing later in life, a tiller will always feel a little odd unless you're really willing to work at your sailing skills. Personally, I like the mechanical simplicity and feel of a tiller. That said, if I had a 43-44' boat that weighed 25,000k lbs or so and was doing a lot of auto pilot cruising/passage making, a wheel would be fine.

Instrument pods on a wheel? Hate'em. No one can see them except the driver. And what do you do when the self-steering or AP is one? It stinks having to run back in the rain, spray, cold, etc... to catch a glimpse of the holy pod. Drives me nuts... that's just me. You're mileage may vary.

Last edited by puddinlegs; 11-01-2010 at 11:55 PM.
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  #25  
Old 11-02-2010
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Tiller.
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  #26  
Old 11-02-2010
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till till death!
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Old 11-02-2010
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Better feel for what the boat wants/needs with a tiller. I think it comes down to balance rather than displacement though. A wheel will give you better mechanical advantage and less feel. With a tiller you know when you are over canvassed or trimmed incorrectly - the weather helm is a lot more obvious. With the wheel you are more isolated and less in tune with the boat.
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  #28  
Old 11-02-2010
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I like tillers and they have many advantages, but one of the disadvantages I found is that on really bad weather you can not "hold" on to a tiller. That is specially a problem in modern boats that have large transoms. When the boat is bouncing around in waves, up and down with some lateral jerks, I find some support on the wheel (and its pedestal), that I can not find in a tiller boat.

Racing boats have solved this with some metal supports for the feet that unfortunately you don't have on cruising boats.

Regards

Paulo

Last edited by PCP; 11-02-2010 at 06:10 AM.
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  #29  
Old 11-02-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PCP View Post
Racing boats have solved this with some metal supports for the feet that unfortunately you don't have on cruising boats.

Regards

Paulo
... but you could easily enough. It's just a trip to a fabricator, some holes drilled, bits bolted, bedded, and there you go!
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  #30  
Old 11-02-2010
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One other consideration is physical size. My wife is on the slight side and really likes the mechanical advantage of a wheel. She has no problem using a tiller but prefers the wheel.
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