I like the replies 'it depends'
It depends on where you are sailing. If you are doing long offshore
cruising passages in a boat designed and built in the last 20 years you will find it very difficult to buy one with a tiller.
One reason is the area in front of the wheel
is now almost always used for instruments, plotter, compass
, search light plug
, and as the base for the cockpit
table. So its not really simple as you have to rip out all the electronics
and girly fittings and move them (chuck the table overboard
- I just hoover up baked beans through a straw and wipe my face on the teak).
The only other place for the instruments, really, is above the companionway
, but these days with so many instruments is there space? Then where to put the plotter where the age-infused cruiser can make out the blobs?
Sailing skiffs as a kid I loved tillers, they do give you an immdeiade direct response. But as a cruisers will your arm fall off having it held at a weird angle for hours?
As Caldra said, its really about how you are going to use your boat. If you are long range cruising you will be doing it with auto pilot anyway (or in the minority, some type of self steering). And not just 90% of the time. Cruising is on auto 100% of the time, absolutely. The only time its off is when you're in deeeeeeep do-do.