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Old 28-08-2013, 17:39   #16
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Re: Tiller or Wheel Steering

I have raced on 50' boats with tiller steering. Our 40' boat has a tiller. There are pros and cons to tiller or wheel(s). Personally, I wouldn't see wheel or tiller as a deal breaker either way.
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Old 28-08-2013, 17:52   #17
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Re: Tiller or Wheel Steering

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Originally Posted by vtcapo View Post
You're right. If you want ultimate feedback go with a tiller. I did that on my first boat, a 35' 6 meter sloop. But If you are on a boat 30' Plus and doing long distance cruising or an older sailor like me with a gimpy arm, a wheel is the only way to go....

Besides. IMHO a wheel is more fun.

RT

I have a friend who is 74 who does a lot of long-distance cruising. He's getting ready for a trip now.

He has a wind vane and a tiller pilot. But I see your point with a bad arm. You just have more leverage with a wheel. You'll never see one on my friend's boat, though ...
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Old 28-08-2013, 18:18   #18
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Re: Tiller or Wheel Steering

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Originally Posted by CapnBrown View Post
I agree about the tiller pilots being cheaper and in both ways. I would think the wheel steering affords extra purchase on the loading of the rudder. So I would think you would need a more formidable use of power on the tiller pilot. If the tiller pilot is less expensive I would think that would go hand in hand with less power. I guess there's an exorcise here to examine the power outputs on the units. To the subject of the thread though I would think you could still use an under the deck model on either wheel or tiller. No?
Tiller pilots and below-deck-mounted autopilots are both typically linear drive motors, the difference between the two is that the below deck version attaches to either the quadrant or a "mini-tiller" which has much a shorter lever arm than with the tiller pilot, which can be several feet longer.

Longer lever arm = less force, smaller motor, lower power consumption. The lower price and fact they can be dismounted and easily shipped for servicing are bonus features.
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Old 28-08-2013, 18:24   #19
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Re: Tiller or Wheel Steering

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Originally Posted by Delancy View Post
Tiller pilots and below-deck-mounted autopilots are both typically linear drive motors, the difference between the two is that the below deck version attaches to either the quadrant or a "mini-tiller" which has much a shorter lever arm than with the tiller pilot, which can be several feet longer.

Longer lever arm = less force, smaller motor, lower power consumption. The lower price and fact they can be dismounted and easily shipped for servicing are bonus features.

I don't think my friend has ever had a problem with his tiller pilot. However, his boat is 28'. It's not all that far from the cockpit bench to the tiller. Thing works like a champ and inspired me to get a wheel pilot (which I found here -- thanks, CF!)
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Old 28-08-2013, 18:36   #20
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Re: Tiller or Wheel Steering

My previous boat was a moderate displacement 34' ketch with an Edson wheel system. Worked fine, no complaints. My current boat is a heavy displacement 37' cutter with a tiller. Works great, absolutely love it. Would not chose to go back.

The greatest benefit of the tiller is the rather direct connection to the sail plan. If it goes out of balance, I know it. And best of all, it is hard to ignore. With the wheel's added mechanical advantage I would let things go, sometimes longer than I should. With the tiller, the need to bring things back in balance is clear and present.

With regard to muscle power needed on the tiller, our Rafiki came with a simple system that uses belaying pins. We can easily lock the tiller using the pins, or set a lower or upper threshold that allows most of the weight to be taken by the pins most of the time. Not sure if this is common -- I've never seen it before, but it works wonders.

That said, who the heck hand-steers anyway? Our vane does it most of the time. And in the calms, we have a tiller pilot. I hate hand-steering.


If you look on the left side of the pic you can see what I'm talking about.
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Old 28-08-2013, 18:41   #21
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Depends on the boat, and how you use your boat
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Old 28-08-2013, 19:10   #22
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Re: Tiller or Wheel Steering

My Catalina 34 Mark I has a rudder top above the cockpit sole and I can see where the rudder is with a simple glance. Too bad more wheel steered boats don't have this feature - it's where the emergency tiller fits in. Later C34s with walk through transoms did away with this neat feature.

Get a tiller pilot, install it near the bottom of the wheel, attach it to the wheel and it works! Better than some of the wonky wheel pilots that Raymarine makes with the toy motors that are too small for most of the boats they're installed on.

It really doesn't matter, I agree. Whatever you like, there is no "best" or "better." I've had both for almost the same amount of total time, 15 years each. I still can't understand the "more room in the cockpit with a tiller." My wheel simply isn't in "MY" way, maybe for some others.

Geez, I really think this tiller vs wheel is soooo old and tired a discussion. I joined just to say that!

Enjoy what you have or change it to what you want. No big deal.
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Old 28-08-2013, 19:23   #23
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Re: Tiller or Wheel Steering

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Originally Posted by Stu Jackson View Post
My Catalina 34 Mark I has a rudder top above the cockpit sole and I can see where the rudder is with a simple glance. Too bad more wheel steered boats don't have this feature - it's where the emergency tiller fits in. Later C34s with walk through transoms did away with this neat feature.

Get a tiller pilot, install it near the bottom of the wheel, attach it to the wheel and it works! Better than some of the wonky wheel pilots that Raymarine makes with the toy motors that are too small for most of the boats they're installed on.

It really doesn't matter, I agree. Whatever you like, there is no "best" or "better." I've had both for almost the same amount of total time, 15 years each. I still can't understand the "more room in the cockpit with a tiller." My wheel simply isn't in "MY" way, maybe for some others.

Geez, I really think this tiller vs wheel is soooo old and tired a discussion. I joined just to say that!

Enjoy what you have or change it to what you want. No big deal.

My wheel pilot works great.

Ironically, I bought it from someone here on line who bought it for his boat. It was supposed to be stout enough for his 39' (as I recall) boat, but it wasn't. It does fine with mine.

Even more ironically, I heard from him because I knew of tiller pilots and was asking if there was some way to connect one to a wheel ...

I might need something more elaborate/stronger if I were going to, say, cross the Pacific ...
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Old 28-08-2013, 19:26   #24
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Re: Tiller or Wheel Steering

I know what Roverhi is talking about. Lost steering on my friends 39 Cal coming into the Palm Beach inlet. Cable on the quadrant parted because it wasn't double clamped. I am sure it wouldn't have happened otherwise. I suspect that would be the same case if the pin was installed properly on your boat.

I have a Slocum 37 which is a morphed Rafiki 37 by Huntingford. He redesigned the Rafiki 37 for Solcum Boats from what I understand was feed back from customers. The Rafiki had a barn door rudder and tiller, he changed over to an inboard rudder with wheel. He shortened the boom and lengthened the mast adding sail area. My original drawings show a tiller version but I have never seen one that was built.

She sails like a Banshee with 15 knots of wind, the wheel very responsive. However, being 28K lbs... under 10 knts... light one up or pop a brew, better yet.... both....

I'd love to hear from Rafiki owners as to whether they would change to a wheel.

BTW, there is little info on the Slocum 37. I think she died with the West Sail
Double Ender craze of the 80's. I could never find out how many were built. Anyone know?

RT
PS Wheel or tiller is personal preference mitigated by the size of the boat and one's physical ability. I just couldn't see myself putting the tiller of a Rafiki between my legs to tweak the sails. Johnson would definitely object....
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Old 28-08-2013, 19:36   #25
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Re: Tiller or Wheel Steering

With my Dreadought and it's huge stock rudder it does not take much... force 4, no reef... for the tiller to become very heavy and dangerous for my fly-weight occasional crew member. I appreciate how this informs me pretty directly about how the boat is sailing however. The same is true in the similar conditions with a good size swell off the aft quarter . Once I re-shape the rudder to balance it it won't be so tiring. I really like a tiller... reminds me of fly fishing and with a nicely balance rig you can feel every move and all the life. Same with a boat.
One issue with a wheel is maintenance and vigilance with what's going on below deck. Do mate here almost lost his little ship on the rocks,
. He was so busy adding fancy electronics, wind generators etc. etc. ye forgot to check the condition of the cables and blocks and lost his steering just off a lee shore. He was funny indignant about it too... like it was some "act of God". He gets out ore than I do so let e not get too catty...
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Old 28-08-2013, 19:37   #26
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Re: Tiller or Wheel Steering

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Originally Posted by Mike OReilly View Post
My previous boat was a moderate displacement 34' ketch with an Edson wheel system. Worked fine, no complaints. My current boat is a heavy displacement 37' cutter with a tiller. Works great, absolutely love it. Would not chose to go back.

The greatest benefit of the tiller is the rather direct connection to the sail plan. If it goes out of balance, I know it. And best of all, it is hard to ignore. With the wheel's added mechanical advantage I would let things go, sometimes longer than I should. With the tiller, the need to bring things back in balance is clear and present.

With regard to muscle power needed on the tiller, our Rafiki came with a simple system that uses belaying pins. We can easily lock the tiller using the pins, or set a lower or upper threshold that allows most of the weight to be taken by the pins most of the time. Not sure if this is common -- I've never seen it before, but it works wonders.

That said, who the heck hand-steers anyway? Our vane does it most of the time. And in the calms, we have a tiller pilot. I hate hand-steering.


If you look on the left side of the pic you can see what I'm talking about.
Seems like you're more than satisfied? How does she hand steer in a blow?

I once used what I think they call a "comb" to lock in the tiller to take some of the stress off the helmsman. It worked fine. But I would have preferred a wheel just the same. And I had two good arms...

RT
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Old 28-08-2013, 19:44   #27
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Re: Tiller or Wheel Steering

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Originally Posted by vtcapo View Post
I'd love to hear from Rafiki owners as to whether they would change to a wheel.
This Rafiki owner says no. Had a wheel. It was fine on my other boat. Love the tiller on the Rafiki. It has so many advantages over a wheel that I can't see going back.

Quote:
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PS Wheel or tiller is personal preference mitigated by the size of the boat and one's physical ability. I just couldn't see myself putting the tiller of a Rafiki between my legs to tweak the sails. Johnson would definitely object....
Give it a try. You and your friend Johnson might just enjoy it .

On a more serious note, the barn door is certainly not the most efficient rudder, but I've found no limitations with it (so far). One significant advantage is its simplicity. Very little to go wrong, and if it does, the problem is right there and easy to fix.
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Old 28-08-2013, 19:54   #28
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Re: Tiller or Wheel Steering

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Originally Posted by vtcapo View Post
Seems like you're more than satisfied? How does she hand steer in a blow?

I once used what I think they call a "comb" to lock in the tiller to take some of the stress off the helmsman. It worked fine. But I would have preferred a wheel just the same. And I had two good arms...
We've been out in a number of large Lake Superior "blows," where the big wind and seas are coming from all over hell's creation. In these circumstances I definitely prefer the tiller over the wheel for hand steering. The more direct connection to the water allows me a much better feel of what's going on. I can more easily anticipate momentum shifts than with the wheel, which makes the steering a lot less active. I suspect it is less strenuous overall.
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Old 28-08-2013, 20:01   #29
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Re: Tiller or Wheel Steering

I'm a tiller person. I can't see myself with a boat that doesn't have a tiller. That is just me and to each his own. The one big negative, for me, is it eliminates the possibility of a below decks pilot but it would never drive me to wheel steering.
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Old 28-08-2013, 20:33   #30
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Re: Tiller or Wheel Steering

Not that this really makes a difference to our discussion, but most of those with wheels also have a tiller tucked away below to put on the top of the rudder post in an emergency steering situation. Sure that must be true for all those like me with hydraulic steering,- a big leak suddenly in the hydraulic system or a seal blown and this is an absolute need!
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