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I am looking at buying a PSC34. My only concern is that it has a wheel and I prefer a tiller. How difficult / practical would it be to do a conversion? The conversion would have to be done at a local yard in Cape Town.
 

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Its very doable.

I converted my Crealock 37 from wheel to tiller a couple of years ago. You can see photos, etc on my website.

Dave Mancini has extensive website covering upgrades/maintenance on the Crealock 34 at Voyage of the Swan - A Pacific Seacraft 34 is Selected, Outfitted and Cruised Offshore. He did a wheel to tiller conversion and it is documented on the his website.

Basically you need drop the rudder and have the rudder shaft extended. Bearing installed where the rudder comes thru the deck. Remove the wheel pedestal and quadrant. Replace the gear shift/throttle controlls. Relocate any instruments on the pedestal to other locations in the cockpit. Mount a bulkhead compass to replace the pedestal compass.

I replaced all my older (~2000) B&G Network Instruments with a B&G Triton NMEA2000 instrument package as it simplified the cable runs to 1 cable running to the instrument pod which was then tee'd off in the instrument pod.

Thumper at Pacific Seacraft will put together a kit for you if desired. Mine included the bearing assembly, the rudder extension, the Edson Tiller Head fitting and Vetus gear/throttle shift. I ended using a Kobelt control rather then the Vetus.

There are also other threads on Pacific Seacraft forum dealing with the conversion.

Regards
Marc Hall
Crazy Fish - Maintaining, Upgrading and Sailing a Crealock 37 | SV Crazy Fish
 

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s/v Pelagic
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Here's a link to Marc's original post in 2012 which I replied to along with several others:

http://www.sailnet.com/forums/pacific-seacraft/86242-crealock-37-wheel-tiller-conversion.html

BTW, I did not drop the rudder to extend the shaft but rather had an extension made that I could put on top and through bolt to the original rudder stock under the deck. I have a sketch of this if it's of interest.

Also, the Spinlock single lever engine control we installed at the same time has worked well for us as has the Ritchie BN202 compass.

Regards,
John
s/v Pelagic
C37 #22 Yawl (1980)
 

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I did not drop the rudder to extend the shaft but rather had an extension made that I could put on top and through bolt to the original rudder stock under the deck. I have a sketch of this if it's of interest. Regards, John s/v Pelagic C37 #22 Yawl (1980)
I would be most interested in this method and seeing these sketches! This sounds like something that could be done at the dock with no haul out required, yes?

What would you say the downsides to this conversion method would be?
 

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I would be most interested in this method and seeing these sketches! This sounds like something that could be done at the dock with no haul out required, yes?

What would you say the downsides to this conversion method would be?
Make sure there is zero slop in your attachment of the rudderpost extension. When there is slop in a linkage like that, it just keeps getting worse until failure.

I'm no mechanical engineer, but I know of at least one case where someone's emergency tiller setup involved a hefty pin going through the hefty rudderstock, but it wore out within a few days.

I'd think you'd want something like two flanged couplings keyed into each shaft (think how your transmission output shaft attaches to your prop shaft).

jnewcomer's approach has apparently survived the test of time - that's reassuring.
 

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Converted my Pearson 35 from wheel to tiller. Bought a short piece of 1 1/2" ID, 2 1/4" O/D hollow bronze rod. Had it machined for a very tight fit over the 1 1/2" rudder stock on one end a short piece of 1 1/2" bronze rod to bring it above the cockpit sole on the top side. Cross bolted the hollow tube to the stub shaft and rudder shaft. Had a piece of 2" thick plastic block bored to a tight fit for the stub shaft to pass through and bolted to the cockpit sole as a top bearing and support. Bought a tiller head from Edson which was the most expensive part of the changeover.
 

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s/v Pelagic
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I am still looking for the drawing I used for the machine shop (I may have hand drawn it but I do have it in storage and will post it).

In essence the piece that fits into the existing rudder tube should be a slip fit so that when through bolting it's possible to tighten the rudder tube to clamp against the piece inside. I agree that you don't want any rotational play at all between the pieces. I used a 3/8-16 SS bolt with washers and locking nut and 1/2 inch drive tools to accomplish this. I've had the rudder off twice since and it all goes back together without a problem. The section that goes into the tiller head also needs to be a tight fit into so the through-bolt there will prevent any rotational play. The machine shop turned a solid piece of SS to fit the tiller head that also fit into the tube the goes into the existing rudder stock. They then welded the two pieces together and drilled the two through holes for me. It remained for me to drill the through hole in existing rudder tube.

The main disadvantage of getting rid of the wheel is the admiral doesn't like it for a variety of reasons (binnacle, table, engine controls etc). My main push for the tiller was safety. After I adjusted the cables under the cockpit floor early on I decided that wasn't something I wanted to deal with in a seaway, at night in foul weather with Murphy looking over my shoulder. An unanticipated boon to maintenance is being able to pivot the whole cockpit sole up and out of the way for engine, transmission, h/w heater and wiring maintenance. These days I might opt for worm drive wheel steering and having half the cockpit sole removable.

Hope this is of some use.

John
s/v Pelagic
1980 C37 Yawl
 

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al brazzi
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Worm gears and drag link (Whitlock) setups are infinitely more reliable than cables, if the cables are oversized and pulleys properly sized and mounted that's the first step. I've seen 3/16" cables break on a 37' CC Boat, there's so much rudder all you have to do is steer too fast or side load from weather helm enough and, pop.. The Whitlock on my CS is so compact it freed up the entire area under the cockpit floor for an aft double. Its hard to reclaim this space on an existing design but the packaging advantages are amazing, I'm surprised its not used more than it is. I put a wheel on a tiller Boat for the same reasons mentioned above, if most of your use is close quarters in and out of slip etc. the ability to stand and see is more valuable than when under way for long periods of time.
 

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s/v Pelagic
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Davashcow,

Here is the sketch I used for the rudder post extension.
Let me know if you need a higher-res file and I can email it.

I should reiterate that the upper rudder post bearing needed to be replaced on our boat to take the side loads of the tiller. PSC sold me the proper Orcot bearing which I glassed in under the deck. Perhaps newer boats already have this modification. I had to make sure the extension was long enough so the rudder post through bolt is below the new bearing. This is why the extension is 10 inches long. In looking at my sketch, it appears I did NOT have the machine shop put both through bolt holes in but rather just the one for the tiller head.

John
 

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That was good info DaveMancini, thank you!

I have a tiller on my 28, and I am new to owning a boat and I could even say sailing, I cant claim to be experienced. Then guys at the marina started to "advise" me to change to wheel because it will be easier "for a woman" , so many advises coming from all sort of direction, when I am not that experienced, so got a little confused, even asked in here some time ago if these advises have some valid points, if I should do that etc. But certainly not, and your post was very clear to point few things as well.
I have to say, the tiller does at times snaps from under my grip, I wonder if thats me being too "lady like" on it , or something else.
 

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That was good info DaveMancini, thank you!

I have a tiller on my 28, and I am new to owning a boat and I could even say sailing, I cant claim to be experienced. Then guys at the marina started to "advise" me to change to wheel because it will be easier "for a woman" , so many advises coming from all sort of direction, when I am not that experienced, so got a little confused, even asked in here some time ago if these advises have some valid points, if I should do that etc. But certainly not, and your post was very clear to point few things as well.
I have to say, the tiller does at times snaps from under my grip, I wonder if thats me being too "lady like" on it , or something else.
Let's see, women are too dumb, too weak or clueless so have to have a wheel to be able to sail a boat. So much for women's lib amongst your clueless advisors.

Broke down and bought a boat with a wheel. It was pain in the butt to use from the first time I took it out of the slip. Fought the damn thing for more than a half a decade until I got so pissed at the contraption that I tore it out and went to tiller steering. Hallelujah, have seen the promised land and it's steered by a tiller. You do have to hang on to the tiller but a wheel can kick back just like a tiller. Enjoy the simplicity, instant steering input and knowing where the rudder is pointed. Don't waste your money on a wheel conversion.
 

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John, thanks for the diagram and explanation.

I've not been on any 37's, but it sounds like some have removable cockpit soles. On my pedestal-equipped 34, only the forward section is removable. Do the factory tiller 34's have both sections removable? This seems like it would be incredibly advantageous for maintenance and access.
 
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