A self steering
vane will work way better with a tiller than a wheel
. Unless you are a closet power boater, you'll be sailing the vast majority of time so a good working self steering
vane is a must. You will need the pilot to power if you don't want to be tied to the helm
but that won't be all that often. When we sailed to French Polynesia
and back, had less than 500 hours on the engine
, most of them for charging
the batteries. Longest time powering was a little over 24 hours in the doldrums. Other than that, the engine
was only used to power in and out of port or battery charging
Another use of a tiller pilot is to input direction into the self steering
vane for the times you want to sail to a compass
course or DDW when relative wind
may not be enough to input heading into the vane. Have never felt the need to do that, however.
Your boats are Apples and Oranges. We made the SoPac voyage in a Westsil 32. The boat had been our home before we left and after and proved to be a relatively fast, commodious boat that held our whole life. They have the carrying capacity, weight, and room of a much larger boat. The Aries
vane steered the boat if we were sailing from ghosting to 178 mile days in the trades. What they aren't is a fun boat to sail. It's like going in a big camper rather than a sedan. Will get you there but not something you'll get your jollies on a twisty road. They also have drawbacks primarily hard on the wind in light air and choppy seas. The one or two times that was an issue, we motor
sailed with the engine ticking over a little above idle. The wetted surface penalty for llght air sailing didn't hamper us much at all as we usually had adequate wind.
The S&S 34 is a proven ocean sailer that can also be raced. It's not as roomy as the Westsail and lighter so will have a livelier motion, a plus and a minus. It will go to windward like a train and should do okay surfing. To me it's the perfect single
handed boat but may be a little tight for a couple. Doubt that it will have the storage
and carrying capacity of the W32.
Not familiar with the Sadler.
Full keel or fin keel has been a contentious issue since I've been sailing and that's more than a 1/2 century. I like full keel boats for the ability to take the ground without tipping over forward, protection for the rudder
, and they DON"T PICK UP CRAB AND LOBSTER TRAPS. You give up maneuverability in tight spaces and light air performance, however. I'd buy the proven boat that works for you.