Converting to tiller on PSC 37???? - SailNet Community

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Go Back   SailNet Community > Boat Builders Row > Pacific Seacraft
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  #1  
Old 09-16-2009
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Converting to tiller on PSC 37????

I have been seriously contemplating going from wheel to tiller steering on our PSC 37 in my continuing quest to simplify systems wherever possible. The last four posts on the thread related to engine access on the 37 are all from people who have tillers. My question to them and anyone else with a tiller, are there any major disadvantages you run into? For those who converted to tiller, do you have any regrets -- say when pulling up to the dock? Where do you put the compass and the instruments? What about the engine controls.

Many thanks for helping me think this through, Jay

PSC 37, # 171, Kenlanu
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Old 09-17-2009
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Tiller on PSC 37

I can't speak to converting a PSC 37 to a tiller, because we ordered ours with a tiller from the start. It was wonderful! Engine access remarkably good, tiller absolutely reliable over 23 years of sailing. No problems pulling into tight spaces--control was very sports car-like. You really have a feel for the way the boat is responding. It was kind fun to pull into a tight docking space with the 37 using the tiller--you could actually swing the stern quickly and pivot the boat very neatly into position by pulling smartly on the tiller.

Autopilot is very simple--Raymarine TillerPilot did the job quite nicely. The TillerPilot is cheap enough that you can take an extra unit along for a backup, and still spend considerably less than _one_ autopilot for a wheel. And of course there's no autopilot taking up space below the cockpit floor, We liked the idea that we could take along a spare tiller, too. No idea how we'd make the spare tiller provided by Pacific Seacraft for the PSC 40--the tiller would be stopped cold at the wheel pedestal even if we removed the wheel.

One disadvantage: if you have a small helmsman he/she will need to be prepared for some pressure on the tiller if a steep/breaking quartering wave picks up the stern and the helmsman has not prepared for it. It's not impossible to handle, but the first couple of times it happens it feels like the boat is steering you. This is something that can happen with a wheel, of course, but you _feel_ it more with a tiller. That's a pretty big rudder out there.... I used a Tiller Tamer at first to help me feel it wouldn't get away from me, but stopped using the Tiller Tamer after I got used to the steering (I was accustomed to a _much_ smaller boat with a balanced rudder).

We asked Pacific Seacraft (rather wistfully) to make the underbody changes to the 40 so that we could have a tiller (would require a balanced rudder on that size boat) but the answer was "No way." We still wish we had a tiller. We compromised by getting a Hydrovane wind vane and putting a TillerPilot on the little rudder on the Hydrovane....

Sue
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Old 09-17-2009
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Thank you, Sue. This is very helpful information. Jay
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Old 09-20-2009
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We converted to a tiller about 10 years ago. I posted some how-to details on the forum previously.

One disadvantage of the tiller is it's harder for my wife to steer when the wind is up. We had H&L make a new longer tiller for more leverage but we've not tried it out yet. Also, you lose the cockpit table and anything on the pedestal (compass, engine controls, something to hold onto). We have a plan for a removable cockpit table in the works.

We put the engine controls on the starboard cockpit bulkhead by the large opening hatch. Spinlock makes a single lever engine control based on Morse hardware that works well Spinlock Throttle Controls We put a Ritchie BN202 bulkhead compass to starboard on the forward end of the cockpit (backside of the galley cupboard). There is a Raymarine Tridata unit on the opposide side. That's all the instruments we have in the cockpit. A Monitor windvane steers the boat and we hook up a simple tiller pilot to the Monitor for an autopilot. With any kind of sea running I doubt a tiller pilot mounted in the cockpit will have the power to steer. The Monitor has plenty of power and had steered a compass course within a degree on an overnight sail in a strong blow.

Hope this helps.

John
s/v Pelagic
C37 #22
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Old 09-22-2009
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Yes, John, this is very helpful. I neglected to look in the archives but will do so immediately. If you had it to do over would you? Thanks, Jay
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Old 09-22-2009
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We have owned our tiller steered C37 for 15 years and have sailed over 50k miles so we have a bit of experience with her. My wife who is 5"1 and approx 130lbs can steer her with no problem in all but the heaviest conditions. Then simply reefing the main makes her easily steerable again. We use a Simrad tillerpilot and have had no major problems in 5 years of cruising.The Simrad doesnt handle downwind with quartering seas too well tho.When I repowered 4 years ago (Beta 37.5 hp) I moved the engine-trans control to a single lever Morse mounted on the starboard coaming just forward of the jib sheet winch.I firmly believe that is where it should have been from day one.
My compass is mounted on the starboard bulkhead next to the companionway and the Dtamarine depth finder was just below.I have since built a shelf over the forward edge of the companionway slider ,inside the windshield, on which I mounted a radar,fishfinder-depthfinder,chartplotter, and GPS.The advantage of this being that when at sea I can sit under the dodger with the tillerpilot steering and have my nav. insts right there with me.
In truth when we first purchased the boat I was somewhat disappointed that it didnt have a wheel(visions of Capt at wheel in numerous movies) now I wouldn't have a wheel if you paid me nor would the Admiral.
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Old 09-23-2009
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Amen! to Niftnickers

I forgot to mention that trimming up the boat eases pressure on the tiller steering tremendously--and taking a following sea a bit further abeam makes steering for me (I'm 5'6" and no Amazon) possible. One does have to lead the steeper waves a bit (something any autopilot has difficulty with) but it's easy to sense those waves coming with a tiller.

I miss having one, but bow to Bill Crealock's wisdom in refusing to put one on the 40. Bummer.

Sue
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