Any boat handles better with a tiller. Wheels are for yuppie BMW drivers who want to play admiral, Lord of the Fleet. Just ditched the the wheel on my boat for a tiller. Way way better control and so much easier to steer a course for long periods.
What you need to check out is where the rudder post will exit through the cockpit sole or some other place. Most often that will be where the emergency
tiller is installed. On most boats it will come through the sole which is not a problem. Some boats it exits in the lazarette or similar location (Tartan37) which can present costly modifications to make a tiller work. It's a good idea to try steering with your emergency
tiller to get a feel for it. Anyone should try that in any case. On my boat, the steering cables
had to be disconnected to steer with the E tiller as there was so much friction in the wheel system that it was nearly impossible to overpower with the tiller. Once the wheel was disconnected, it was a joy to steer. Discovered that when the quadrant shifted surfing into SF Bay
and nearly rammed a Pylon of the Golden Gate Bridge as a result.
I bought a piece of hollow bronze round stock and had it machined to fit over the rudder shaft on one end and a piece of 1 1/2" round bar at the other. Used a piece of 2" Delrin where the rudder stub shaft went through the deck
. Bought a rudder head
fitting from Edson
which was by far the biggest expense in making the conversion. Cost a little over a $1,000 for the entire conversion including machining. You will have to fill the puka or cover it where the wheel was attached. I glassed mine over and used painted non skid which looks a lot better than the factory finish. Could also have put a piece of teak
over it if I wanted to do an easy conversion back to the wheel which will never happen in my case.
With an unbalanced rudder, any boat up to past 40' can be easily steered with a tiller. You can go even larger with a balanced spade rudder. It's all about the power of a lever. Of course, the longer the lever, the greater the area it sweeps to for given movement of the rudder. A 4' tiller is no problem. If you think you need longer tiller, might mock up a tiller with 2x material and see how it will work in real life.