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Old 04-26-2007, 11:20 PM   #1
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This quote from 'Landlocked' in another topic deserves its own title.

"Ok besides the obvious what is the drawback to tiller steering. I can see there being advantages to assisted wheel steering in bigger boats but at what size does this play in? I have steered both and saw the differences in some small keel boats, but what are the problems and plus's as you hit the mid 30's range?

Keep that great info rolling in when you can I am really enjoying it and am learning a lot.

Keep your stick on the ice !!

Rob"
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Old 04-27-2007, 01:10 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Auzzee View Post
This quote from 'Landlocked' in another topic deserves its own title.

"Ok besides the obvious what is the drawback to tiller steering. I can see there being advantages to assisted wheel steering in bigger boats but at what size does this play in? I have steered both and saw the differences in some small keel boats, but what are the problems and plus's as you hit the mid 30's range?

Keep that great info rolling in when you can I am really enjoying it and am learning a lot.

Keep your stick on the ice !!

Rob"
--------------------------------------------------------------------------

Rob,

Having selected the topic and applied a range - how about discussing your experience with both systems and then extrapolating that experience to steering on Cruising yachts ?
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Old 04-27-2007, 02:18 AM   #3
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I think from the viewpoint of physics, it depends much on the underwater configuration of your vessel. A friend has a steel LWL 46 schooner. It has a long keel with a pronounced rake on the very distinctively shaped rudder, which is attached directly to the trailing edge of the keel.

His tiller is a 3 metre long work of laminated art, and steering the boat is a joy. My rudder is largely rectangular and attached in a similar way, but its leading edge is plumb. I have a tiller for the emergency steering and it is hard work with a capital 'B'.

The benefit of wheel steering for me, is that with hydraulics, I can set the rudder angle and not have to lash the wheel. When I had a tiller steered 27' yacht, I enjoyed the 'feel', but the tiller kept getting caught in the leg of my shorts.

David.
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Old 04-27-2007, 02:19 AM   #4
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Personally I much prefer a tiller. Less to go wrong, more feedback from the boat, tiller pilots are cheaper. You can also use sheet to tiller steering. Plus the tiller can be removed from the cockpit when at anchor- the wheel and pedestal always take up room. I've never seen a wheel steered boat yet that shouldn't have a emergency tiller aboard, for when the wheel system packs it in. Of course, a tiller steered one wouldn't be hurt having a spare tiller aboard either, so that may be a wash. Using a tiller extension you can moev around to different places to steer.

But the biggest thing to me is the better feel for the boat.

I've owned a 35 footer with a wheel and steered a 50 foot, 50,000 pound schooner with a tiller. A nine foot tiller, but still.

I'll take a tiller any day.
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Old 04-27-2007, 09:52 AM   #5
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Hi all

You asked about my experiance with the tiller versus steering.......ok here goes. I operatate trains for a living. Big heavy freight trains. As I am pretty senior at the job I am now training locomotive engineers. The first few trips are always pretty funny to watch as they try to run a train by the book. They usually ask, about then, how I run a train almost like most people drive a car. My answer is " by the seat of my pants". I can feel what is happening by the little bumps and nudges that only practice will teach you. My point is this .......a tiller gives amazing feedback that you just do not get from a wheel. Its not that the wheel is static but like most things the more machinery you run a feeling through the foggier it gets. I think you can really feel the sea through a tiller because its pure signals that have not been muddied by machanical forces.

That being said, in heavy seas when you have to move a boat against nature it takes some serious ooomph to work a tiller on a larger boat. We made a trip around the Queen Charlotte Islands when I was younger and I remember standing watch in some rather large seas and after 2 hrs I was pretty tired. And I was young at the time. The boat was a older Cape George 33. I remember thinking it was alot of work but I also remember feeling like the boat was an extention of my thoughts. I could anticipate and make the boat do what I wanted instead of being reactionary all the time.

I like wheels. Almost everyone does. I think they are the way to go for most people. The new folding ones are less intrusive in the cockpit at anchor. Anyone heard of one braking yet? The folding wheel that is. I like the ease of use and I think most systems are quite reliable as long as you maintain them properly. But there is that feel thing and I agree that tillers conform to the KISS principle probably better.

Thats my thoughts

Rob
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Old 04-27-2007, 10:30 AM   #6
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Hey Auzzie - you move the thread before I hit the 'add reply' button :icon_boohoo1:

so here it is again:

I must admit that I'm with you on that question, Rob. I've only ever had experience with the good ol' tiller, so (when I get MY dreamboat - soonish ) I could have some interesting moments with the twin wheels.

I would imagine that one advantage is that it would take away the option to 'throw-her-about' when tacking during the heat of a close race - thus effectively stalling the boat (which unfortunately I must say I have been guilty of) a legacy of small dinghy sailing from my youth I think.
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Old 04-27-2007, 05:28 PM   #7
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Having primarily sailed small keelboats <30ft I find the swing of the tiller takes up cockpit space that could be used by a passenger. I do like the responsiveness and again that's probably my "small" boat perspective. Of course I haven't seem too many small boats with a wheel.

I did helm a 42 footer for about an hour with a wheel and did not enjoy it. Primarily because I did not know the crew ( I was a guest) and the boat was completely out of trim and I could not explain the need to adjust the sails for the weather helm as I was even more of a newbie then than I am now. All I knew was that she was handling terribly. When I reached rudder lock I turned the boat over to the owner and sat down. Probably an anomaly. I think a wheel would be nice.
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Old 04-27-2007, 06:28 PM   #8
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I'm a tiller man too, for exactly the same reason as Charlie mentioned in the begining of this thread - less to go wrong.

As for size, the pilot cutters, fishing vessels and rescue boats built by Colin Archer were tiller steered. These were solid, 60 feet timber vessels which went to sea in all weathers. One of the gaff rigged rescue boats is reported to have pulled a couple of fishing boats off a lee shore in hard weather. Think of that, tacking into the wind on double-ended, a gaff rigger towing two other fishing boats! And all with tiller steering.

Aye

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Old 04-27-2007, 09:54 PM   #9
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I like wheels I can rest my chin on while standing.
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Old 04-27-2007, 10:25 PM   #10
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Ahhhh we decadent few, Trim. That's a perfect reason to want wheel steering. I confess I have two wheels. I have a 30" for 'proper' steering and a 'ferris' wheel for impressing the heck out of the racing community.

I used to think 'feel' was really important when I was driving cars. Then they invented power steering and along with all the other purists, I complained. But, I still drive okay and still enjoy doing it. Same with my boat.
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Old 04-30-2007, 06:12 PM   #11
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On my little boat, and let's face it anything under 12ish metres (40ish feet), a wheel is a waste of valuable space.

If I want to work, I just fold the tiller up out of the way.

If I want to make my double bed (the only one I have on board), I fold up the tiller, insert the filler board, spread the foamy and voila! Can't do that with a wheel in the way.

One thing you can do with a wheel is look like a real yachtsman, boldly facing into the wind, just like an honest to goodness seagoing person....

Waste of space.

Unless, of course, you require reduction gearing or whatever it's called to make your boat easier to steer.
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Old 04-30-2007, 09:22 PM   #12
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I only have a 44" wheel, but I do like the look and feel of those 'Ferris' wheels on the sleds. I've never actually helmed one, but it sure looks like it would be a testosterone enhanced experience.
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Old 04-30-2007, 11:27 PM   #13
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G'day Quiver, welcome to the forum. Good to read the comments of a traditionalist. As with everything else on boats it is 'horses for courses'. A mate of mine says engines are a waste of space on a sailing boat. Is your tiller attached to a rudder hung from the stern, or is it attached via a steering post through the cockpit sole?

One of the benefits of wheel steering for me is, I have a wonderful table attached to the forward face of the steering pedestal. How anything which facilitates the more easy reach and therefore consumption of a beer and a tray of edibles can be described as a waste of space, is just....just.....just.....words fail me!

Cheers

David.

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Old 05-01-2007, 06:30 PM   #14
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David,

Thanks for the welcome. It was my first post, but I have visited for a while now, reading posts. My antipathy to wheels forced me to break my silence.

I have a transom-hung rudder with tiller attached, but honestly, outside very tight quarters like marinas, rarely use it to steer. That's done by my Monitor or auto-helm.

My next boat will have an 30cm (one-foot) tiller. And all hands free. Nothing to get in the way of beer drinking.

cheers,

Jim
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