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Old 19-02-2021, 19:05   #1
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Wheel steering

I have always single handed an Alberg 30 with tiller steering. I am thinking of buying a Bristol 32 that has wheel steering and am concerned there will be a lot bf less manoeuvrability in the cockpit when I tack. Has anyone any insights?
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Old 19-02-2021, 19:45   #2
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Re: Wheel steering

I think it's something you get used to. I have sailed both a bit and it is easier for me to tack with a tiller but then again the passengers sitting in the cockpit will not be disturbed as much during tacking with a wheel. The main thing for me is, can you get around the wheel quickly and easily? On some boats the wheel is just too much in the way. To me, I just want to be able to take care of the leeward sheet without doing any gymnastics.
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Old 19-02-2021, 20:00   #3
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Re: Wheel steering

Thank you for that
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Old 19-02-2021, 20:02   #4
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Re: Wheel steering

I agree with Don CL. Tiller steering is much to be preferred until a boat gets so big that the rudder forces become too great to handle without considerable mechanical advantage. On a 30 footer that will never be the case.

There is, however, one (small) advantage to wheel steering: That is that while making sternway the steering mechanism intrinsically prevents the rudder from slamming over against the stops. But one gets used to anticipating that, and holding counter. There is also a device called a "rudder comb" that permits the tiller to be lifted momentarily and then dropped into the "teeth of the comb" at some desirable deflection. That makes it a lot easier to manage the rudder while making sternway.

If I had enuff sailing seasons left to warrant the expense of conversion, I would convert TrentePieds from wheel to tiller steering because being able to swing the tiller up and out of the way, up against the backstay. In a tiny boat like a 30-footer that makes the cockpit SOOO much more useful as a "back porch"

I've also always found that being able to sit on the high side of the cockpit with feet braced against the "down" seat is far less tiring than having to "walk" constantly when standing facing forward behind a wheel or even swaying constantly if sitting behind a wheel. Handling sheets while going about is also more convenient when sitting on the high side in a tiller steered boat than it can ever be when standing behind a steering pedestal.

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Old 19-02-2021, 22:18   #5
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Wheel steering

One thing I have found on wheel steered boats is that if you pay close attention to friction reduction the feel is dramatically improved.
If a cable system, the right size cable for the sheaves. All bearings and chain clean and lubricated. Oil where appropriate, grease where appropriate. Pulleys aligned.
The rudder shaft bearings clean and lubed. The packing not too tight, and GFO if you want.
Autopilot , if below deck hydraulic, serviced and fluid flushed and clean.
It all adds up.
The difference is night and day.

The right size wheel and cockpit layout gives a lot of flexibility in helmsman seating.
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Old 20-02-2021, 06:41   #6
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Re: Wheel steering

Absolutely! Friction reduction is essential in all mechanical devices. My position, of course, is that if you eschew mechanical devices where none is necessary, your life is simplified in every respect, and the burden on your pocket book is less.

I believe Billy Occam said it first, some seven hundred years ago: "Non sunt multiplicanda entia sine necessitate"

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Old 20-02-2021, 07:54   #7
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Re: Wheel steering

I always thought of myself as a "tiller" sailor until I actually bought my own boat with a wheel. Don't think I'll ever go back.

In terms of the wheel getting in the way during singlehanding, I often sit in front of the wheel, on the leeward side. When tacking the wheel doesn't get in the way, and I have easy access to the winches.
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Old 20-02-2021, 08:09   #8
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Re: Wheel steering

Quote:
Originally Posted by Harry Black View Post
I have always single handed an Alberg 30 with tiller steering. I am thinking of buying a Bristol 32 that has wheel steering and am concerned there will be a lot bf less manoeuvrability in the cockpit when I tack. Has anyone any insights?
If the concern is simply getting around the wheel, the answer is to get a small(er) wheel, or perhaps spend big bucks (https://ca.binnacle.com/p5155/Lewmar...duct_info.html) to get one of those collapsible wheels.

As to the benefits of one over the other, I've had both and prefer the tiller for simplicity, ease of maintenance, but mostly for the ability to directly feel what's going on with the boat. Both work fine.
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Old 20-02-2021, 09:16   #9
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Re: Wheel steering

I'm sailing with a tiller right now but I prefer both the looks and ease of steering with a wheel. I will be buying a boat in the next couple of years or so (maybe) so...


Which to choose?


Assuming no autopilot or tiller tender and speaking for myself, single handing is easier with a tiller. You're sitting halfway up the cockpit right next to where the jib sheets/winches/mainsheet/traveler are, so tacking/jibing is simple.

On the other hand, a wheel means I don't have to fight the steering in a bad cross swell/current so I don't get as tired as quickly and proper layout/location of the sheets/hardware before sailing would mean tacking/jibing from that far back in the cockpit wouldn't require me to go forward of the wheel to maneuver the boat.

6 of one, half dozen of the other. The choice will, for me, come down to what's available on the market, esthetics, and personal preference. I think the nod is going to be for a wheel mainly because if I need to go forward, and I have inexperienced supercargo on board, they can steer with a wheel a lot easier and safer than with a tiller.



Now, if only I could get rid of that mid-cockpit, shin busting, tripping hazard everyone calls a traveler without having a spider's web of lines all over the boat...
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Old 20-02-2021, 09:44   #10
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Re: Wheel steering

You'll get used to it. There are pros and cons either way.
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Old 20-02-2021, 10:53   #11
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Re: Wheel steering

With the wind vane self-steering device, I've been around the Caribbean from Miami to Granada. My main reason for selecting a tiller is reliability. The tiller is very robust and any developing failure would be apparent long before the failure occurred. With more moving parts, reliability, as in mean time between failures, decreases. Also, with my 28 ft Liberty, a 14,000 lb, cutter rigged, double-ender the cockpit is too small, come to think of it. Though some of that series have them.
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Old 20-02-2021, 13:04   #12
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Re: Wheel steering

The good news is it is easier to switch from wheel to tiller than the other way around, so you still have that option.
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Old 20-02-2021, 13:21   #13
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Re: Wheel steering

With the wind vane steering, I think the system is much better than a wheel.
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Old 20-02-2021, 15:54   #14
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Re: Wheel steering

One other thing to consider is that, with tiller steering, you are almost always sitting with your back to the wind (and hence the rain and spray).
The downside for me is that I get a really sore neck sitting with my head twisted for long periods.

With a wheel, you are facing into the wind (when going uphill) and get more wind and spray in the face.
Plus is that youíre looking straight ahead.

All this goes out the window with an autopilot or wind vane of course.
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Old 20-02-2021, 15:58   #15
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Re: Wheel steering

I hate wheels in small cruising boats. If a boat is well designed, you do not need a wheel.


My guess is people who owned cars before they learned sailing like wheels.
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