Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Ontario, Canada
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Tiller vs wheel
I'm sure this debate has come up a number of times on the board, but let me steer the discussion onto a slightly different tack.
A couple of weeks ago I made the mistake of going aboard a couple of my dock-neighbours' boats. One was a Nonsuch 30 and the other was a Mirage 30. Up until that point I was very satisfied with the space on my boat (a Nash 26 - which has a very large cabin for boat of her length). Once aboard the bigger vessels I was immediately infected with twofootitis (fourfootitis in this case).
I began to fantasize about the features that my new, bigger boat would have. I remember when I first started looking at boats it seemed to be the consensus that the tiller was the way to go. I asked my experienced neighbour for his opinion on tiller vs wheel. He made some excellent points regarding the benefits of a wheel and almost had me sold on the concept. To re-inforce his point he called across to another experienced sailor on the dock and asked his opinion. The second sailor was equally eloquent in his support of the tiller. I'll have to do some more research on the subject.
Last weekend I noticed a benefit, that had not been mentioned, of using a tiller.
I was motoring in very calm waters with the gentleman from whom I had bought the boat. I offered him a shot at the helm, which he happily took.
I noticed that Hardy had placed the tiller between his legs in order to control it and keep his hands free for other, more important matters. This was a technique that I use and find to be effective. What I didn't realize (because I'm slow) is just how phallic the tiller looks as it thrusts out from the crotchal area.
Of course the mind starts to wander and I thought of an alternative to the 'auto'-helm.
Hardy didn't seem to mind either....
1989 Hunter 30'
Southern Georgian Bay
Visualize the vastness of the oceans; the infinity of the heavens; the fickleness of the wind; the artistry of the craft and the frailty of the sailor. The oneness that may be achieved through the harmony of these things may lead one to enlightenment. - Flying Welshman