Cruisers Forum
 


Join CruisersForum Today

Reply
 
Thread Tools Rate Thread Display Modes
Old 24-11-2014, 09:31   #16
Registered User
 
MBWhite's Avatar

Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Illinois
Boat: Hurley Alacrity
Posts: 370
Re: Tiller vs Wheel for Day Sailing and Passage Making

Not many, but I have had to repair a few boats that either had steering issues or lost steering altogether. All were wheels, I have never been called upon to fix a problem with a tiller.

Not saying it doesn't happen, but when it does it seems to be severe neglect that causes issues.
__________________

__________________
MBWhite is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 24-11-2014, 09:35   #17
Registered User

Join Date: May 2013
Location: Mangareva, French Polynesia
Boat: Heritage West Indies 36
Posts: 513
Re: Tiller vs Wheel for Day Sailing and Passage Making

For your intended usage and the size of the boat i'd go with a tiller. Much simpler to maintain and you get much more cockpit space when you're not actively sailing because you can lift the tiller up out of the way.

Wind vanes will work with either a tiller or a wheel equally as well, though some designs may be better suited to one or the other.

Mechanical auto-pilots are also an option for either wheel or tiller. Tillers have the advantage of being able to have a 'tiller-pilot' autopilot, which is a really nice, fairly inexpensive stand-alone mechanical/electric auto-pilot system that requires very little modification to your boat or existing steering gear.

Wheels really come into their own when you're at sea for long periods of time, especially in heavy seas or winds when a tiller can be too much to handle.

Regarding a conversion, yes it's very easy. As Delansey said, just remove the wheel, throw away the wires and the steering quadrant, stick something over the hole in the deck and then you're basically done. I'm struggling to think of any wheel-driven boat i've ever sailed on that didn't have a tiller as a back-up. I recently replaced my emergency tiller. One piece of galvanised pipe, two pieces of galvanised flatbar, a hunk of Mohogany, some bolts and 2 hours of labour. If you want something that looks nice and is well balanced, spend a couple more hours getting it just right and add a quart of varnish into the mix.

I have a wheel at the moment, but i think you've made the right choice for you. Good luck with it!
__________________

__________________
DefinitelyMe is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 24-11-2014, 10:08   #18
Registered User
 
mlucasparris's Avatar

Join Date: Oct 2014
Location: Niagara on the Lake, Ontario, Canada
Boat: O'Day DaySailer 16
Posts: 23
Re: Tiller vs Wheel for Day Sailing and Passage Making

I'm with you Dave, keep things simple and go with a tiller. I'm in the info gathering and learning stage too and it seems wheels just have more pieces that can go wrong. I've been reading the Pardey's books and they talk about simplification all the time - it seems to be their mantra. I just bought my first boat this week, a 16' O'Day DaySailer that I'll be cutting my teeth on in Lake Ontario.
__________________
mlucasparris is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 24-11-2014, 10:28   #19
Registered User

Join Date: Dec 2010
Boat: Beneteau/343
Posts: 181
Re: Tiller vs Wheel for Day Sailing and Passage Making

I like standing behind the wheel. That is part of my enjoyment.

Also, I find sitting with a tiller to be hard on my back.

That said, the wheel takes up a lot of space in the cockpit and gets in the way at times.

I would still always go for a wheel over a tiller.


Sent from my iPad using Cruisers Sailing Forum
__________________
davefromoregon is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 24-11-2014, 11:58   #20
Registered User
 
nicholson31's Avatar

Join Date: Apr 2013
Location: Newfoundland, Canada
Boat: Camper Nicholson 31
Posts: 196
Re: Tiller vs Wheel for Day Sailing and Passage Making

After owning two boats, both tillers, I can say that from an ergonomic point of view, tillers have this main drawback. Usually I am either standing at the tiller or when sitting my head neck and body are turned looking forward and after a few hours and/or days it starts to wear on the body unlike at the wheel where your body is naturally facing forward, plus the seat is usually elevated for better view.
Cockpits with tillers, I find, just don't allow you to sit comfortably when sailing.
Yes there are a multitude of pros and cons for other reasons as previously stated by many experienced sailors but this is what I have experienced and will be a huge factor if/when I buy another boat, wheel most likely!!!
__________________
nicholson31 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 24-11-2014, 13:12   #21
Registered User
 
Tbrad's Avatar

Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Englewood, Ohio/Oak Harbor, Wa
Boat: catalina 27 & Windrose 20 Hunter 34
Posts: 202
Re: Tiller vs Wheel for Day Sailing and Passage Making

Quote:
Originally Posted by roverhi View Post
What Goat said!!! Wheels are horrible affairs with no redeeming social value.
Tut! Tut! Rover. Tut! Tut! I wouldn't go quite that far. While I sail primarily on a 27 ft Catalina with a tiller I also have a 34 ft sloop- with a wheel. I prefer the tiller but I wouldn't go so far as to say the wheel is a Horrible affair.
__________________
Tbrad is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 24-11-2014, 13:56   #22
Registered User
 
glenn.225's Avatar

Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Kingston, ON
Boat: Albin Vega 27'
Posts: 342
Re: Tiller vs Wheel for Day Sailing and Passage Making

I have a tiller on a 27 footer and believe it is the way to go on a small boat. Great feedback when you want to sail and get every extra 1/10 of a knot out of her. With a simple autopilot you can let it do the work and take it easy or tend to other things on the boat.

I single hand a lot and hook up the pilot as I leave the slip and can then go about and get the rest done, when sails set and I have a cup in my hand I take back over for an hour or so of fun. Then the pilot goes back on and I stretch out and enjoy the day.

I did have a complaint with my tiller in that, it would when let go it would fall nearly to the bottom of the cockpit and get under foot especially if I had two or three others aboard. I solved this by drilling a hole in the bracket and inserting a pin that only allow the tiller to drop to just above knee height. One nice thing about this is I can stand in the cockpit straddling the tiller and steer with my legs, since all lines a led to the cockpit I can do most everything from that position including watching where Iím going.
__________________
Glenn
glenn.225 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 24-11-2014, 14:27   #23
Registered User
 
pikv's Avatar

Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: Mornington Australia
Boat: Bollard Starfire 32' (steel twin keel)
Posts: 15
Re: Tiller vs Wheel for Day Sailing and Passage Making

I have a 33 footer with tiller. I think I would have to make a distinction between a transom hung and thru hull tiller. Mine is the latter going through the cockpit floor. It is too low for comfort and takes up too much space. I now think I should convert to wheel. If it had been transom hung I would keep it for sure



Sent from my iPhone using Cruisers Sailing Forum
__________________
pikv is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 24-11-2014, 15:50   #24
Registered User

Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: North Carolina
Boat: 44 footer
Posts: 923
Re: Tiller vs Wheel for Day Sailing and Passage Making

I think it has more to do with what your first mate can handle...

I put a larger wheel on my wheel steered boat, and added a wheel brake in the process as at times the loads can be a bit tiring for me, and only an hour or two for her.

Not so much slow wind speed, but with the second reef in if you have weather helm and a cross swell, sloppy weather it can take a bit of fore-arm strength to bring things back on course while the waves wash under the rudder.

I want to say the edson paperwork equates a normal installation with a foot radius quadrant with the same load at the wheel as an 11 foot tiller.

I like tillers, but if you've got a raked rudder shaft or an unbalanced blade a wheel makes a lot of sense when it is blowing or sloppy out.

Zach
__________________
Zach is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 24-11-2014, 16:06   #25
Registered User
 
Delancey's Avatar

Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: Miami, FL
Boat: sunk by irma
Posts: 3,462
Re: Tiller vs Wheel for Day Sailing and Passage Making

My cockpit was one of the features that really sold me on my boat. Boats in my size range are hard to find in the States with a tiller. I bought my boat with the suspicion the original design intent was for a tiller and was able to verify that at a later date. Too bad, the notches for the wheel on my production version muck up the cockpit locker covers. Maybe if I get around to painting the deck someday I'll fix that.

You can see my Kentucky Teak cockpit grate. Getting rid of the wheel makes the cockpit well a really nice comfy place to sprawl out and sleep underway that also feels very secure. On my particular boat the cockpit sole has a fair amount of camber the wrong way (convex) which I found uncomfortable when heeled so the grate takes care of that problem. Also the grate covers up the inspection port where the pedestal used to be while still letting some light down below.

You can see my tiller and tiller head. I dropped the rudder with the boat in the water and took it to a friend's shop where we welded an extension on the rudder stock and milled a connector out of an aluminum block with a 1/2" pin. Then we made up the stainless channel that holds the tiller out of some angle he had lying around. It's way overkill and could probably use some go-fast holes since it's a bit heavy.

The tiller head and the quadrant from the wheel are the two things that hold the rudder from falling out. I kept the quadrant thinking I might mount an AP to it but haven't gotten that far. Maybe I will use some Plexus to mount a bit of plywood to the hull to attach the ram. Just kidding. Because I have a tiller I also have the option of using tiller pilots as has been mentioned elsewhere.

The tiller itself I got out of a chunk of dunnage I found near his shop, hence the nail holes. I think it's some kind of maple. Next spring I will be making a new one six inches longer out of something nicer. I plan on incorporating some hardware to simplify setting up-sheet-to-tiller self-steering at the end. Maybe even carve it up all pretty.

It was interesting to get rid of the wheel and discover a bunch of play in the rudder that you would never know was there. One benefit of making the switch was learning I had this issue. Lil' reminder of how a wheel really takes away the feeling of the helm.

Also, freed from the constraints of the cable-quadrant-wheel business I picked up about ten or fifteen degrees of range of motion in the rudder on either side. This is in my opinion is a big limitation of most wheel steering arrangements that few people recognize or are even aware of. I find this additional trim to make a big difference in the amount of control I have when backing the boat down. Something worth thinking about.

As far as driving the boat goes.. ...well the boat weighs about 18,000 lbs. and I've got no complaints. On the contrary I couldn't be happier. Really. Any boat with a properly designed balanced rudder should be easy to drive regardless of displacement assuming you have the sails properly trimmed. I have driven bigger boats with tillers and boats with a lot more sail area without concern. Meanwhile I screwed up my shoulder hand-steering across the Atlantic this summer a similar sized boat with a wheel.

I think it's a tragedy of boat marketing here in the US or maybe just a reflection of a larger cultural bias towards gadgetry and away from simplicity. I've heard it suggested that in American minds tillers are old fashioned. It always kills me whenever I see wheels referred to as 'Destroyer Wheels' in marketing materials. Like really? On your 26 foot boat you need a destroyer wheel? I suppose it takes all kinds. Too bad. When you are at anchor and can swing that tiller up out of the way? That's mighty nice.
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	image.jpg
Views:	379
Size:	413.3 KB
ID:	92280  
__________________
Delancey is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 24-11-2014, 17:32   #26
Senior Cruiser
 
roverhi's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Kona, Hawaii, Carlsbad, CA
Boat: 1969 Pearson 35 #108 & 1976 Sabre 28
Posts: 6,005
Send a message via Yahoo to roverhi
Re: Tiller vs Wheel for Day Sailing and Passage Making

Quote:
Originally Posted by nicholson31 View Post
After owning two boats, both tillers, I can say that from an ergonomic point of view, tillers have this main drawback. Usually I am either standing at the tiller or when sitting my head neck and body are turned looking forward and after a few hours and/or days it starts to wear on the body unlike at the wheel where your body is naturally facing forward, plus the seat is usually elevated for better view.
Cockpits with tillers, I find, just don't allow you to sit comfortably when sailing.
Yes there are a multitude of pros and cons for other reasons as previously stated by many experienced sailors but this is what I have experienced and will be a huge factor if/when I buy another boat, wheel most likely!!!
[QUOTE=nicholson31;1685262]

The seating position is just the reason that i like a tiller over a wheel. Sitting in the cockpit, can see see along the walkway with vision not blocked dead ahead by opaque dodger windows or the inevitable detritus that collects on a cruising boats cabin top. You can sit to the side with a wheel but find that it is incredibly tiring to try and steer with a wheel in that position. And yes, have helmed with a tiller for 72 straight hours with only breaks for necessities. Could have continued indefinitely if I hadn't started hallucinating and forced to heave-to for some rest.

Find steering with a wheel to be tiring especially fighting a strong weather helm. You are using a very limited muscle group to turn a wheel, primarily hands and forearms. Also find it is way more tiring on my hands to hang onto a wheel rather than a tiller. With a tiller, your hands are doing what comes naturally. With a wheel, you have to grip the wheel to keep it from slipping and exert a side load to turn it, something that tires my hands very quickly. With a tiller you can put your whole body into controlling it if necessary. Much less tiring to spread the workload out over more sets of muscles doing what comes naturally in routine sailing. Wheels are also way less responsive to input. Can go hard over to hard over with a tiller almost instantly where it takes much longer and many more hand and arm movements to make that excursion with a wheel.

Love that I can instantly tell by feel or seeing where the rudder is pointed. Current boat is rudder challenged so tight quarter maneuvering requires a lot of coordination between rudder, throttle and shift to get it where I want it to go. Several times have gotten totally crossed up with the the wheel position thinking it was hard over port but it was actually starboard which did nothing to impress the audience with my boat handling expertise or the finish on the hull.

Love that I can steer a tiller with my legs. A god send when short tacking single handed. Steer the boat with my legs while working the sheets and winches for the headsail and also the main sheet or traveller.

A tiller will work with a pendulum servo self steering vane that may not be the case with a wheel. Not that a wheel won't work with the vane but that the vane will just work better with the direct input of a tiller. With a wheel, the vane has to fight the drag of all the cables, sheaves, etc. that are inherent in the system. The wheel adapter limits the range of input that the vane can impart to the rudder. Small diameter adapter will have larger range of movement but still not equal to a tiller and with less force applied. Larger diameter wheel adapter will give more force to turning the wheel but slow and limit the range of motion that the vane can exert on the rudder. The Pearson came with a Monitor P/S vane. Vane would not steer the boat below about 4k even though tiller are fairly low at those speeds. The boat rapidly develops a fearsome weather helm as speed increases above that speed yet the Monitor would steer the boat just fine despite the high forces needed on the helm. A used auxiliary rudder self steering vane turned up so switched to that. Didn't do a lot of trouble shooting trying to get the Monitor to work at slower speeds. May have gotten it to work as it turns out there was a sheave in the wheel system that could bind and the steering lines for the vine were run rather circuitously and probably had a lot of friction because of the way they were run and the cheap blocks the PO had used for the installation.

Bought the current boat, my first with a wheel, figuring I could adapt. After fighting the damn thing for six years and hating every minute, tore it out and installed a tiller. The tiller head from Edson wasn't cheap but worth every penny for sailing enjoyment.

A wheel does allow you to use a wheel pilot which is easier to engage than with a tiller pilot. Of course you'll pay considerably more for the wheel pilot than a tiller pilot. Other than that, can't see anything to recommend a wheel on an aft cockpit boat 40' or less. It's only with the Yuppie Generation that wheels have become common on dinky boats. Too many of these types seem to relish standiing at the wheel with spray in the face dispensing orders to their lackeys. (Said with tongue thoroughly in cheek.)
__________________
Peter O.
'Ae'a Pearson 35
roverhi is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 24-11-2014, 18:16   #27
Registered User

Join Date: Nov 2014
Posts: 13
Re: Tiller vs Wheel for Day Sailing and Passage Making

I'm blown away by the amount of interest and detailed responses you all have contributed to this subject! Thank you very much!!! You have confirmed my desire to steer by tiller, but I will no longer overlook wheeled boats as initial options. When I find the right boat for me (< $20,000) I will buy it and install a tiller if necessary...
Again, thank you all very much for your guidance!


Sent from my iPhone using Cruisers Sailing Forum
__________________
Cest la Dave is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 26-11-2014, 08:22   #28
Registered User

Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: California Central Coast
Boat: Pacific Seacraft, Dana, 24
Posts: 78
Send a message via ICQ to EveningTide
Re: Tiller vs Wheel for Day Sailing and Passage Making

My boat is 24 feet with long keel, tiller and tiller-pilot. I do coastal sailing and day sailing and am very pleased with the boat. I agree with all that has been said about tillers. Very good feel, can steer from many locations in the cockpit, use your knees while handling lines, etc. I have steered some wheel boats and in light conditions (for me) they seem a bit easier but just as tiring when things get rough. But why would I want to hand steer? When learning I steered by hand to get the feel and now it is mainly when wind is strong and we must make the best possible progress upwind. One must also learn how to use the autopilot so it can control the boat easily. Keep the sails small and trim sails to minimize the weather helm (easy to see with a tiller).
__________________
EveningTide is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 26-11-2014, 08:52   #29
Registered User
 
Mike OReilly's Avatar

Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: Good question
Boat: Rafiki 37
Posts: 4,033
Re: Tiller vs Wheel for Day Sailing and Passage Making

Late to the discussion (as usual ), but here's my two cents, for what it's worth.

I've owned, and extensively sailed, both wheel and tiller boats. As with most sailing questions, there are advantages and disadvantages on both sides. So in part, your personal priorities will help you answer the question. Some people prefer wheels, some tillers. If you like one over the other, let that guide you. They both can work just fine.

As others have said, you can't consider wheel vs tiller outside of the overall design of the boat. Some cockpits and designs are better suited to tiller, some to wheels. It depends...

BTW, a windvane is a great tool, even for short coastal sailing. I use our Aries all the time, even for doing short hops. Once they are set up, most vanes are not much more difficult to engage than electric pilots. Tillers tend to be easier to rig to the vane, but the difference is not huge. Again, it's probably more dependent on overall vessel design than wheel vs tiller.

My personal situation is that we currently have a transom-hung tiller on our 37-foot, full-keel, 30,000# boat. It is the best option for our boat's design. My previous boat was a 34-foot centre-cockpit. It had a wheel. A tiller would have been a very bad idea indeed.
__________________

__________________
Why go fast, when you can go slow.
BLOG: www.helplink.com/CLAFC
Mike OReilly is online now   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
day sailing, passage, sail, sailing, wheel

Thread Tools
Display Modes Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
I'm a tiller guy, not a wheel guy. With a tiller, I felt I always had complete... Pipeline Multihull Sailboats 30 30-04-2016 10:24
making a tiller pilot remote NorthPacific Marine Electronics 0 17-12-2011 19:53
Tiller AND Wheel Steering Strait Shooter Construction, Maintenance & Refit 25 12-05-2011 06:25
Pros and Cons of Wheel vs Tiller otherthan Monohull Sailboats 56 11-09-2010 09:34



Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -7. The time now is 22:06.


Google+
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Social Knowledge Networks
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

ShowCase vBulletin Plugins by Drive Thru Online, Inc.