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Old 05-07-2012, 14:56   #1
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wheel conversion to tiller

I've been looking for a Bristol 30. I strongly prefer tiller steering but many come with wheel. Just how involved and expensive would it be to convert from wheel to tiller?
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Old 05-07-2012, 20:06   #2
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Re: wheel conversion to tiller

Depends. My Endeavor 35 had provisions for an emergency tiller through the aft lazerete. Found approrate head and had keyed extension welded to rudder post. Did other modifications due to excessive weather helm but that's another story. Survived Hurricane Ivan that broke head but not weld. Been to Honduras since. If you have to hand steer with long tiller you can from under dodger. Simple cheap auto pilot if the boat is balanced. Love it. Phil Turner
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Old 06-07-2012, 05:40   #3
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Re: wheel conversion to tiller

Just did it on my Pearson 35. Turned out to be way more expensive than I anticipated largely because of slight bend, uneven diameter, and out of round rudder shaft. Used thick walled aluminum bronze tubing as a sleeve over the rudder shaft and for the shaft extension. Wasted a bunch of expensive machine shop time to get a no slop fit of the sleeve on the rudder shaft. Had to go back to machine shop at least 5 times to get a no slop fit of the sleeve to the rudder shaft. Despite religiously searching ebay and Craig's List for 5 years never turned up a suitable tiller head. All the heads required a larger diameter shaft than mine. Rethinking it, could have bored the sleeve to a larger diameter for the extension shaft that the tiller head bolted to. In any case, went with the Edson tiller head which is a beautiful but very expensive piece of bronze.

Long story short, came to more than $1500 to convert to tiller. Tiller head was $500, Aluminum Bronze tube and extension shaft, $300. Tiller $150. Rest of the money went to machine work on sleeve, shaft extension and UHMW cockpit fitting. Best money I've spent on the boat.
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Old 07-07-2012, 01:46   #4
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Re: wheel conversion to tiller

Thanks Roverhi... I guess I should try to find one that already has a tiller or make sure I allow that the changeover might be expensive and allow for that in what I offer.
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Old 07-07-2012, 11:23   #5
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Re: wheel conversion to tiller

Quote:
Originally Posted by Usagi View Post
I've been looking for a Bristol 30. I strongly prefer tiller steering but many come with wheel. Just how involved and expensive would it be to convert from wheel to tiller?
I have to imagine it's easier than going the other way, particular on a boat with a pinched stern.

I prefer tiller to wheel up to about 35 feet, and find it easier for solo sailing and particularly docking.

I find the idea of "but a tiller interferes with passengers" a bit of a canard, because I have crew, not cargo...everyone is moving around too much for extended cockpit lounging! Later on, however, putting the tiller vertical actually makes the typical six or seven foot cockpit well quite roomy.
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Old 07-07-2012, 11:25   #6
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Re: wheel conversion to tiller

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Thanks Roverhi... I guess I should try to find one that already has a tiller or make sure I allow that the changeover might be expensive and allow for that in what I offer.
A possibility these days is to cut one out of an abandoned, damaged or otherwise derelict Bristol 30. Sniff around various boat graveyards...you might be surprised and happy and sad at the same time.
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Old 07-07-2012, 17:51   #7
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Re: wheel conversion to tiller

BRISTOL 30 sailboat specifications and details on sailboatdata.com

Looks complicated?

b.
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