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Seamanship & Navigation Forum devoted to seamanship and navigation topics, including paper and electronic charting tools.


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Old 05-19-2012
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Single vs dual wheel boats. Educate me on pro and con!

As I try to learn about sailing, I've come to find a lot of boats that are single wheel and some are dual wheel. What are the pro and cons of each? Common sense tells me the dual wheel have an advantage to the single when it come to visibility and comfort, and some even more room in the cockpit, but is that at the expense of something else? Ease educate me!!!!!!!
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Old 05-19-2012
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Re: Single vs dual wheel boats. Educate me on pro and con!

Most people prefer to sit on either the high side or low side while sailing rather than in the center, for comfort and for visibility ahead of the boat and of the sails, particularly the headsail. Some boats have such a big butt they need a wheel on each side so you can reach it when sitting to either side.
Disadvantage is the complexity and expense. I believe some of the dual wheels are cabled independently, so if one cable fails the other wheel will still function, but I know for a fact that not all are like this.
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Re: Single vs dual wheel boats. Educate me on pro and con!

Quote:
Originally Posted by msmith10 View Post
Most people prefer to sit on either the high side or low side while sailing rather than in the center, for comfort and for visibility ahead of the boat and of the sails, particularly the headsail. Some boats have such a big butt they need a wheel on each side so you can reach it when sitting to either side.
Disadvantage is the complexity and expense. I believe some of the dual wheels are cabled independently, so if one cable fails the other wheel will still function, but I know for a fact that not all are like this.
First of, thanks for the reply. Have more questions based on your response.

1. I was looking at Catalina, beneteau, and jeanneu all of about the same size. Jeanneau are the only ones in the same size as the others that seem to have the dual wheels. Prices seem very comparable among all 3 for similar size, year, use, and features. So, am I missing something about the expense comment?

2. Regarding "complexity", are you referring to the fact that more of the same is always more failing points? or is it something else?

3. Realistically, how often does the breaking of a wheel cable happens on a production boat 10-15 years old like ones mentioned above? I mean, I understand this is a particularly important thing in a boat, so important they even include emergency tilers, but how realistic is it they break often enough to consider it as a serious issue?
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Old 05-20-2012
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Re: Single vs dual wheel boats. Educate me on pro and con!

It opens up the transom to accommodate Boat Show 'dock divers'
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Old 05-20-2012
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Re: Single vs dual wheel boats. Educate me on pro and con!

We sail in a 43ft Jeanneau, it's a single wheel and seeing behind the jib would definetly be easier with a dual helm. Generally if we are in crowded waters we will reef the jib so we can see under it easily. Works for us.

All things considered, I would explore a dual setup on our next boat; but please don't read that to mean we are unhappy now. On the other hand could someone with a dual helm comment on this, does not being on the centerline change the perspective while at the helm?
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Re: Single vs dual wheel boats. Educate me on pro and con!

Dg,

The price of a boat in the size range where duel wheels become reasonable is so little influenced by the cost of double wheels it just isn't going to noticeably change the price. Figure duel wheels add about $2,000 in parts to the construction of the boat.

Complexity is a problem because you have twice as much stuff to break. The boats where the wheels are independent basically have two of everything, even quadrants, so there is littlerly twice as much in the steering system that can go wrong.

I have only had one steering system break in 30 years of sailing, including lots of off shore racing and 8 years of cruising. The breakage was caused by backing down too hard, and letting the wheel free spin (an inexperienced driver), this caused the sheer pin to break. Took about 10 minutes to fix.

SoOkay,

Driving off of the centerline makes stearing to the tell tales much easier. In large part because it makes it much easier to get into a position where you can see the sail that when you are stuck driving from the centerline.

With boats moving to wider and wider transoms I expect to see duel wheels much more often. Since the only other way to be able to drive from either side of the cockpit is to go to larger and larger wheels. Since this makes it harder to move around the cockpit, and adds to the complexity of cockpit design (since large wheels often require cutouts in the cockpit sole). Additionally when the size of the wheel gets really large (I am thinking J-130's), the cost to reply the wheel can actually get close to the cost of a duel setup. Heck the lewmar carbon fiber 70" wheel is more than most boats ($14,000).
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Old 05-20-2012
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Re: Single vs dual wheel boats. Educate me on pro and con!

Regarding advantages they are obvious and have been posted here. Another one is a better storage space on the cockpit deck between the two wheels.

As disadvantage only two: If not made with high quality material the two wheel set up can give a slightly heavier feel on the wheel. I like to have a very sensitive wheel but for what I have heard on this forum some prefer an heavier feeling. So if that is your case it can even be an advantage.

The second one hast to do with the place for the plotter that in some cases can be more difficult to find and demand two pods instead of one. Some brands had resolved this particularly well with the plotter in a fixed cockpit table. On some cases the Plotter can turn around and go inside the table when not in use, protecting it from the rain.

Regards

Paulo

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Re: Single vs dual wheel boats. Educate me on pro and con!

Quote:
Originally Posted by dgasmd View Post
Realistically, how often does the breaking of a wheel cable happens on a production boat 10-15 years old like ones mentioned above? I mean, I understand this is a particularly important thing in a boat, so important they even include emergency tilers, but how realistic is it they break often enough to consider it as a serious issue?
Not often, of course. But if I were looking for dual wheels, and given the choice between independent systems or not, I'd pick independent. Also, most boats this big will have below-deck autopilots, which in most cases will give you a backup steering system if a cable fails.
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Re: Single vs dual wheel boats. Educate me on pro and con!

For those who own dual wheel boats two questions:

I've noticed dual wheel boats (at least the ones I've seen at the boat shows) tend to have the throttle/shifter controls on the starboard side. Is this ever a problem when docking single handed?

When I see a chartplotter mounted centerline in a cockpit table it seems like it would be a PITA to operate. On my boat I mounted the chartplotter in the binacle making it easy to see and use. What's your experience?
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Old 05-20-2012
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Re: Single vs dual wheel boats. Educate me on pro and con!

Reality, a chartplotter could go just about anywhere, as long as you can see it. I've seen the other guages used on both sides of the boat, ie depth, wind, speed etc. Not sure personally about a chartplotter or gps, as I am still trying to figure out what those are. paper and compass is my guide.

Engine controls would be nice from both sides, depending upon which side you need to dock on.

Reality is, one can figure things out any way the want to. In some cases, all it is is money, be it dollars, euro's, lira, yen,..........

as noted, I see plus and minus's to both options, as is a tiller vs wheel v double wheels/tillers......

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