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Old 02-09-2010, 16:36   #16
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Wheel...too many moving parts to break..

Tiller...like one...and it's another pretty piece of wood on the boat...

and...if you built it detachable, you can beat pirates to death with it..<G>
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Old 02-09-2010, 16:39   #17
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I've got my first and last wheel steered boat. 1st, with a mechanical chain and wire system, you don't get much mechanical advantage unless you go with a rediculously large diameter wheel. If a boat has a weather helm, it's actually easier and less tiring to steer with a tiller. Maybe a hydraulic system would give you the power needed but then you add a whole 'nother set of things that can and will fail and the helm will have the 'feel' of a dead fish. The wheel is constantly in the way. If it's aft, it's not a major impediment for the crew. But then it puts the helmsman in the elements, far away from the dodger (read: cold, wet and windwhipped). If the wheel is forward it's a PITA to get around everytime you leave or enter the cabin. If you want to go with Pendulum Servo Steering, it's way easier and efficient to hook up to a tiller than a wheel. On my boat, a Monitor Vane just wouldn't steer the boat under 4 knots because of the wheel/vane interface problems. Boats with balanced rudders really have no need for a wheels supposed mechanical advantage until they get way big, 50' or larger.

The current love affair with wheel steering is a yuppie affectation. The owner gets to stand at the helm and act as lord and master of the vessel issuing commands from his exalted perch.

Last but not least, if you have a tiller you don't need to 'balance' the boat to get a self steering vane to work. For one thing, weather helm is an interaction of sails and hull with most of the force trying to turn the boat into the wind coming from the hull. I've found it near impossible to balance a boat, once you crack off, on most boats, anyway. If you want to keep a boat moving at a good clip, you've got to live with weather helm. My W32 had a vicious weather helm as speed increased. The Aries Vane was able to steer the boat no matter how over powered/unbalanced the sail plan. Handling weather helm with a pendulum-servo vane is more a matter of efficient (read tiller) connection of the vane to the boats rudder and the effectiveness of the boats rudder. It's not to say that a boat with a wheel can't use a self steering vane, just that not all boats with wheels will find that they'll work well.
Yeah vanity, that must be it. There really is no rational reason for all these wheels.

What drives me nuts is a picture of a sailor at his precious wheel, looking upwind and looking oh so nautical. Then you find out he's steering a 28 or 30 footer, and all you can do is shake your head.

Anyhow, I'm very thankful that nearly all my sailing has been on a tiller. Only exceptions are a few bigger chartered boats. I am certain that I would not be nearly as good a helmsman without all that tiller time.
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Old 02-09-2010, 17:01   #18
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... What drives me nuts is a picture of a sailor at his precious wheel, looking upwind and looking oh so nautical...
Same could be said for captain hats. Part of the image and part of the fun for some. They don't drive me nuts, but I sometimes find them amusing.
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Old 02-09-2010, 17:12   #19
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ARRR ! matey
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Old 02-09-2010, 17:16   #20
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Go with a tiller until the boat becomes so large or the rudder so imbalanced that a tiller is impractical.
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Old 02-09-2010, 17:27   #21
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Mine has a wheel driven rack and pinion, but its an easy matter to remove the helmsman's seat, disconnect the rack and pinion and install the tiller and use it
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Old 02-09-2010, 17:35   #22
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Some of you guys would have had a problem racing in 1851. America's tiller was 11ft long.
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Old 02-09-2010, 18:03   #23
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There are some pretty big tillers out there.

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Old 02-09-2010, 19:39   #24
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There are some pretty big tillers out there.

Decoursy Fales' NINA. A regular, and winner, in the Newport-Bermuda,
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Old 02-09-2010, 22:45   #25
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Does someone have a picture of "Rage" when she had tiller steering? First owner had young Girl Scouts steering the boat one day -- tiller worked fine in two- or three-finger mode so long as crew kept up with trimming sails while rounding the leeward mark.
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Old 03-09-2010, 06:56   #26
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I would love to see a side view of your boat. Normally a "tiller" steered boat has a 1-to-1 or direct connection to the rudder shaft. The only mechanical advantage is a result of the length of the tiller handle.
No mechanical advantage, but the rudder is 2m further aft than the tiller. The tiller drives a double bellcrank with 2 (port and starboard) 1 inch diameter stainless steel rods connected to an identical bellcrank on the rudder.
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Old 03-09-2010, 07:24   #27
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What I like about wheels is that they are conducive to standing which provides better line of sight. People who have never steered before tend to take to them faster than tillers. They are more conducive to walk out transoms.

I like the simplicity and reliability of tillers on transom hung rudders especially. Less to break and easier to fix when it does break. For smaller boats, tiller autopilots are less expensive and less complicated than most wheel autopilots. Tillers allow more helm to sheet self-steering options.
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Old 03-09-2010, 08:09   #28
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The only reason for a wheel on a small boat is to make it look like a big boat. If my engine controls were not on my pedestal i would have chucked mine years ago. One particular disadvantage of a wheel is that it puts the helmsman at the back of the cockpit in rough weather, where a tiller would allow him to duck under the dodger.

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Old 03-09-2010, 08:46   #29
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Wow! For once I think every post here is right on the money regarding this controversy,but as boat gets bigger(35 feet maybe?) wheel starts to make more sense .With wheel pushed back to the very stern of the boat the helmsperson may see the sail set somewhat better,but he will pay dearly when the weather deterioates ;in the same conditions the man with the tiller will be tucked in behind the dodger out of the worst of the fray ;able to keep an eye on what is comming unglued below and able to work the winches and steer with any handy body part while eating,navigating and praying.
FWIW : I once watched a few hundred peas race each other back and forth the length of the cabin sole, it took 3 days to corral them . I dont eat peas any more.
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Old 03-09-2010, 15:16   #30
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You might spend some time sailing with the tiller before you expend much effort patching holes permanently, just in case you change your mind.
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