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Old 28-03-2011, 03:00   #1
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Insane Crealock tiller modification?

Greetins' all around 'n such,

I'm a new user here on the forums but I've been checking them out the past couple of days while researching the art of sailing wherever I could find information online. Anyway, my dream boat would probably have to be a 37' or 39' Pacific Seacraft Crealock. One thing I noticed is that they, (like most sailboats I've seen), are built with a simple tiller design. (Guiding the rudder left or right as needed.)
This may sound completely nuts, but I have realized that one feature that really stands out to me on a sailboat is the steering wheel helm that originated from the glorious ancestral vessels of today's yachts. When I think of bluewater sailing one of the first images that come to mind is that of a stately Captain guiding his ship into uncharted waters with the classic steering wheel helm in his grip.
While I know that things are certainly quite different in today's world, having a classically-inspired wheel helm to steer the ship would be like the "cherry-on-top" as far as I'm concerned.

Does anyone know if such a modification would be possible/practical and if it would provide any benefit over a standard tiller design? (For an idea of what type of sailing I would like to pursue; I would probably sail through the Caribbean for a pleasant vacation at first and after a few more years plan to make a much longer voyage to places such as Hawaii or even as far as the Polynesian islands in the future. Might as well go all-out if you're gonna do it at all. )

(Do forgive if my use of terminology is awkwardly used, I am rather new to the world of sailing though I've wanted to do it since I was very small.)

-Thanks for your time!


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Old 28-03-2011, 03:19   #2
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Re: Insane Crealock tiller modification?


This would be worth a read with serval different view points.

Wheel vs Tiller . . .


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Old 28-03-2011, 03:50   #3
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Re: Insane Crealock tiller modification?

I think you will find more Crealock 37's with wheel steering than with tillers. Not insane at all.
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Old 28-03-2011, 07:06   #4
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Re: Insane Crealock tiller modification?

The "ancestral" wheel helm was backwards to the "car" type of today.

Is this what you mean?

Also, without referencing that thread, I have to say that for sailing purposes, I much prefer a tiller up to 40 feet. It also makes the use of a windvane easier, gets the weight of the helmsman out of the stern, enabling easier line handling and getting on and off the dock (because you aren't blocked by a big wheel) and is much simpler mechanically and in terms of "feel".

After 40 feet the leverage becomes harder to master for smaller people.

On our 41 footer, we have two hydraulic wheel helms (pilothouse and deck) plus the ability to steer by tiller using a bypass of the hydraulics, which is how we rig the windvane.

Ironically, I think, you will hear the argument that "tillers take up too much space", but I find in many boats, when one is entertaining at dock, the ability to put the tiller vertical actually frees up the entirety of the cockpit: I can hoist six people in my 33 footer's cockpit with a simple pine plank as a "table" for nibblies and little lifeline holders for drinks. I "clean up" with a hose.

Your mileage may vary, but I've had both wheels and tillers, and I prefer tillers in every application with the exception of actively steered motoring.

I don't actually do a lot of that, and when the alternator's pumping out amps is when I bust out my ancient, still-functional Autohelm tiller pilot. Works for us!
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Old 28-03-2011, 22:48   #5
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Re: Insane Crealock tiller modification?

Thank you for your responses, they helped a lot.

I didn't realize that there was a long-standing debate about this very topic. From what I've read, the Crealock seems to be a really good candidate for a wheel, though. It's one of the heavier designs out there and is close to the generally-accepted length.

S/V Alchemy: I never really thought about the difference between forward and rear-facing wheels. I really like the traditional style. The only problem is that after some research I haven't yet found a backup means of steering if something goes wrong. Also I haven't found an effective way to autopilot a sailboat with worm gear (traditional, reverse-facing wheel) steering. But I have a lot to research still yet.
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