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A melon with a dream...
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208 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I am wondering if anyone has experience with a wheel that is forward in the cockpit. I saw a boat that had originally been a tiller boat but was converted to wheel with the helm all the way up close to the companionway. I can see where this could be an advantage, but could also be totally in the way. What is your experience?
 

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Master Mariner
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8,957 Posts
Sailed with this arrangement on several motorsailors in the 70 to 80 foot range, and didn't like it for sailing. Very hard to see the luff on the jib or the main, or watch the gear go up or come down (before roller furling), as both had enclosed wheel houses. Great for powering, however.
We have several friends with Amels and they say they like it, but it doesn't appeal to me. The wheel is off center which would make visibility on one tack very difficult, it would seem.
 

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A melon with a dream...
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208 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
I have seen ones that are off center and definitely would not like that. The boat I saw is a Pearson 36 and the steering pedestal is in the middle and all the way forward. Seems reaching the traveler would be similar to an Ericson as it is directly in front of the helm. And similar to a tiller steered boat, the dodger could offer a bit of protection in nasty weather. But the helm could also be really in the way when going down below or accessing the winch on the cabin top under the dodger. On the plus side, cockpit winches are located directly to either side.
 

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I just converted my boat back to tiller steering after having a pedestal located in the forward end of the cockpit. The previous owner moved it forward because he was moored up in Maine where it can get pretty chilly on the water and the forward mount afforded him some protection from the elements (there was a dodger that he could duck under). It did a good job of keeping you less exposed when conditions were sketchy.

With that said, I am a big guy 6'5" and always felt like it was in the way especially when trying to go down below or when lounging in the cockpit. I should note that I didn't change it back to tiller steering because of this but because I didn't like the way the wheel 'deadened' the feel of the rudder and prefer the direct connection and simplicity of a tiller steered boat.

Hope this helps.
 

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Bombay Explorer 44
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3,619 Posts
If you are a cruiser the last place you want a wheel is in the middle of the cockpit. We are the guys that hoist the rags on the sticks, engage self steering then relax and enjoy the world going by.


Amel has the right idea. Also definitely not a motor sailor.
 

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Senior Citizen
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439 Posts
Depends on the boat and rig setup.
I saw an S&S designed 1968 Chris Craft Cherokee 32 converted to wheel. The pedestal was a foot or so behind the bridge deck. The main sheet was off the end of the boom so was controlled behind the helm. The jib winches were also behind the helm on the coaming. I thought it would be a great arrangement for singlehand sailing. The only hinderance might be seating room for crew.
-CH
 
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