Crealock 37 Wheel to Tiller Conversion - SailNet Community

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  #1  
Old 04-15-2012
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Crealock 37 Wheel to Tiller Conversion

Crazy Fish came with a Merriman Pedestal Wheel and I have been thinking of replacing the wheel with a tiller for quite awhile.

Anyone who has done the conversion I would be interested in hearing of any "gotchas" that occured during the conversion.

I assume that the conversion would include the following:

1. Acquiring a and installing a tiller.
2. Removing the pedestal, pulleys, cable and plugging the holes.
3. Relocating the engine controls.
4. Relocating the instruments which are currently mounted on the pedestal.

For those who have sailed both a wheel and a tiller on a Crealock 37 which do your prefer and why ?

Anyone with a tiller-equiped Crealock 37 on the West Coast that would be willing to take me out sailing so I could experience it prior to converting ?
I live in San Diego, have family in the Bay Area and frequently travel to Seattle.

Thanks

Marc Hall
Crealock 37, Crazy Fish, Hull 207.
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  #2  
Old 04-16-2012
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Re: Crealock 37 Wheel to Tiller Conversion

I know this PSC 34 did it and he is located on the West Coast.
Voyage of the Swan - A Blue Water Cruising Yacht is Selected, Outfitted and Cruised Offshore

One advantage of the tiller is how much it opens up the cockpit!
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  #3  
Old 04-16-2012
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Re: Crealock 37 Wheel to Tiller Conversion

My 37 was fitted with a wheel and the factory made the switch to the original standards. Actually it was mostly straight forward to convert and without problems. The original rudder-post head and tiller head hardware was perhaps the largest obstacle. I searched worldwide for the original parts and finally found what was nearly identical but still off. The post in the PSC 37 is nearly perpendicular to the water line and the one I found with the big post size was from a vessell that had the post angled much greater than the 37. My fix turned out to be a custom teak and ash tiller (glued on a jig with several layers) that compensated for the angle. The larger cockpit is a huge benefit and the tiller allows real "feel" of the boat. Auto pilot can be very interesting by setting the pilot-arm on the coaming with the tiller flipped reverse (going backwards - a Tor Pinney supplied directive) however the maxium size auto tiller is borderline adequate. Click this link to see the tiller prior to having a custom tiller handle made.

Windflower at the Factory pictures by kkdtrader - Photobucket

If you send to me an email, I can show you new photos that show the close up of the final product.

In the end, I would easily suggest the expense and trouble to have the tiller was well worth the effort for me.

Best,

Karlin
WINDFLOWER
PSC 37 #288
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  #4  
Old 04-16-2012
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Re: Crealock 37 Wheel to Tiller Conversion

Hi Marc,

We made the conversion. Our boat is a 34, but the essentials are the same. We are at the Kona Kai Marina if you would like to see the results and talk about it. You can also look at our website referenced by Brokesailor above.

Dave Mancini
PSC34 #305 "Swan"
snider and Seacurves like this.
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Old 04-22-2012
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Re: Crealock 37 Wheel to Tiller Conversion

We converted our C37 Yawl to tiller about 10 years ago before leaving for Mexico. You'll find several previous threads if you search this site for "tiller conversion." We purchased all the necessary hardware from Robin when Pacific Seacraft was in Fullerton. I suspect Thumper at the new company can help you as well.

My main concern was safety as getting to the steering cables for emergency repairs at sea is difficult to impossible. A side benefit is full access to the engine and shaft log for maintenance. The Monitor has an easy time steering the tiller and with a simple tiller pilot to the Monitor we don't hand steer much.

If I had to do it again I'd probably go with a gear drive wheel (like the Whitlock) and split the cockpit sole for access (the older c37's have a one piece sole). The Admiral has never forgiven me for taking away the cockpit table, Globemaster compass, cluttering up the cockpit with lines from the Monitor and making it harder for her to hand steer. It's nice to swing the tiller up and have the whole cockpit to lounge in but she'd rather have the wheel back.

A structural issue for tillers on the older C37's is the upper rudder bearing. On ours it was a fiberglass tube glassed-in under the emergency tiller deck plate. I cut this out and glassed in the Orkot bearing Robin sold us. This is a spiral-wound, graphite impregnated cylinder with good structural and bearing qualities to take the side loads of tiller steering. Google: Orkot Bearings.

You'll also need to extend the rudder stock for the tiller head. I have a sketch of what we had made if you need it.

Spinlock makes a single lever engine control that you can fit in the cockpit well and the Ritchie BN202 bulkhead compass is an adequate replacement for the Globemaster.

If you want more info email me at jnewcomer0613 at gmail.com

John

Last edited by Faster; 04-22-2012 at 12:34 PM. Reason: broke mailto link (anti spam measure)
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Old 06-13-2012
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Re: Crealock 37 Wheel to Tiller Conversion

Dear Marc,

We also made this conversion and LOVE it! It was a bit of work and futzing but not a difficult conversion.

Removing the pedestal and all that stuff was quite easy. We wanted to make easy for a future owner to convert back so we "covered" the bolt holes with bronze carriage bolts with the heads filed in a decorative compass rose pattern. We covered the hole for the cables with a top view of the PSC 37 hull with a single decorated carriage bold holding it in place. (see picture which is not very good).

For the engine controls we went with a single lever control on the starboard side of the cockpit footwell. While we occasionally bump into it (increasing or decreasing engine RPMs, there have been no problems with this location. And docking or picking up a mooring is not too bad especially if those are happening on the starboard side.

We moved the compass and Chartplotter up onto the companionway hatch. This is GREAT because you can slide the GPS up close or further away depending on which crewmember (with which eyesight and/or glasses) is trying to figure out where we are!

For the tiller and hardware we used a standard skeg bushing on the top end (replacing the round cover plate) like this SKEG BEARING 1.25" BRZ 145096. We then used standard 1 1/2" tiller hardware from Spartan Marine (Spartan Marine Hardware Catalog) (no association with either company). Then came the fun which was to have a machine shop manufacture a rudder post extension which was solid at the top (to fit into the tiller cap) and then hollow (to save weight) to fit down inside the existing rudder post. This went all the way down about 1" past the bolt holding on the quadrant and was notched to fit over that bolt and drilled for the higher bolt for the emergency tiller. Thus the new rudder post extension was about 18" long and fastened with two through bolts to the existing rudder post. Hard to explain but obvious when you look at it. BUT on our boat those bolts were no where near centered in the rudder post so had to be marked in place, taken back to the machine shop, and drilled with great creativity.

The tiller itself was the easy part! I used some local ash and can send dimensions if that would be helpful. We then installed a tiller extension, again of ash and really like having the choices it gives us of where to sit or stand).

Sorry for the long post. It was a big job but one of the better things we did.

Jay

SV Kenlanu, Buck's Harbor, ME

P.S. To complete the job I glassed in the nuts holding the cockpit sole in place so I could remove the bolts from above (no more locker crawling). I then used Stainless Steel Button Head bolts, cut off an allan wrench to fit in my drill, and can now do a NASCAR-style cockpit sole removal! Wonderful.
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Old 07-04-2012
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Re: Crealock 37 Wheel to Tiller Conversion

I spoke with PSC in North Carolina and they said wheel-to-tiller conversions were one of their most often requested services. Cost to do my 2000 34 was in the $5000 neighborhood if I recall . . . it was about a year ago.
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Old 07-06-2012
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Re: Crealock 37 Wheel to Tiller Conversion

I'm not trying to hijack the thread, but do any of you who've converted from wheel to tiller have a extra monitor windvane wheel adapter lying around you might want to sell? My seems to have walked off the boat. I've posted a parts-wanted classified but thought I'd throw this out to you guys too.

Thanks,

Elan
PSC 31 "Clue"
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SV Hinei'ni
Pacific Seacraft 31 #36
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Old 03-27-2013
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Re: Crealock 37 Wheel to Tiller Conversion

The conversion of Crazy Fish from Wheel to Tiller was completed today.



Thanks to all who posted to this thread.

Thanks to Dave and Rhonda Mancini of Swan who we were able to visit while they were in San Diego.

Thanks to Thumper of Pacific Seacraft who provided tons of support and put together a conversion kit.

Thanks to Shelter Island Boat Yard and Steve Hoffman and crew at Hoffman Yachts who handled the work on the rudder, installation of the rudder bearing and the installation of the MaxProp Easy.

Thanks to Ramon of Chingon Marine Fabrication for a beautiful job of welding the extension provided by Pacific Seacraft to the rudder post.

Thanks

Marc Hall
Crazy Fish, Crealock 37, Hull 207
Crazy Fish - Maintaining, Upgrading and Sailing a Crealock 37
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Old 03-27-2013
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Re: Crealock 37 Wheel to Tiller Conversion

Just totaled up the costs for the Tiller Conversion

$3807

Includes the conversion kit from Pacific Seacraft
New Kobelt Engine Controls (2042KBW1)
H&L Stock Tiller
Welding of the rudder post extension to the rudder post by Chingon Metal Fabrication
Pulling and reinstalling the rudder by the Hoffman Yacht Maintenance
Installing the bearing provided by Pacific Seacraft by Hoffman Yacht Maintenance
Does not include the haul-out as the bottom needed to painted and the cutlass bearing replaced anyway.

I installed the Kobelt Engine Controls and pulled the pedestal from the boat once the rudder was dropped.

Still need to plug the holes in the cockpit sole from the pedestal and probably some cosmetic fiberglass work on the cockpit sole.

Marc Hall
Crazy Fish, Crealock 37, Hull 207
Crazy Fish - Maintaining, Upgrading and Sailing a Crealock 37
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