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Thread: convert tiller to wheel ??

  1. #1
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    convert tiller to wheel ??

    Has anyone converted a tiller to a wheel on an Ericson 29 ? I have a 1974 tiller boat that I so wish had a wheel. Any advice on practicality, cost and success ??


  2. #2
    Contributing Member I
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    Hello,
    I just purchased a 1972 e29 with a tiller. I always envisioned myself standing at the transom, behind the wheel with engine controls close at hand, but... this boat came on the market and it was the right one for us. This is my first boat and when I bring this same issue of wheel vs. tiller up with other sailboat owners, most suggest staying with the tiller for both cost reasons and sailing. The tiller in the e-29 is quite forward in the cockpit as you know, and given my height, when I am holding on to the end, my nose is right at the edge of the dodger so I am still trying to get used to the position of the tiller. As I write this, I am thinking my dodger is more of the issue then the tiller location...

    I find using a tiller extension while sailing is a must. Given the expense, etc of converting to wheel steering and moving the engine controls and the advice of most everyone I have talked with regarding cost vs. benefit, etc, I am going to stay with the tiller.

    best wishes,
    Paul.

  3. #3
    Contributing Partner SurabyaKid's Avatar
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    I would tend to agree with the other owners advice...you get a lot more feel for the boat and trim with a tiller than you will with a wheel.

    Pat
    Last edited by SurabyaKid; 08-08-2011 at 04:26 PM.
    Ex: E26->"Pronto"

  4. #4
    Principal Partner mherrcat's Avatar
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    My 30+ has a wheel and it does look pretty impressive, but you can't move it out of the way when you're not sailing. And even if you could you would still have the pedestal to deal with.

    I guess there are pluses and minuses to each, but I agree that a tiller will give you a better feel for the boat. I think it will generally put you in a better position in the cockpit. A "hiking stick" is also a useful addition.
    Mark H.
    1985 Ericson 30+

  5. #5
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    Wheels

    I agree-the tiller is better on anything up to 30-32 feet.
    Mark, for your 30+, I trust you are at least removing the wheel from the pedestal when entertaining in the cockpit. I just undo the nut and hang the wheel on the stern rail. At least this way you can walk around the cockpit with ease..

    Enjoy!

  6. #6
    Principal Partner bayhoss's Avatar
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    What I did

    I was at one time giving thought to converting my 28 to a wheel. So I made a mock up using plastic pipe and a bike rim roughly the size of the wheel. I anchored it to a piece of plywood and then moved it from location to location in the cockpit. I could find no place where it was not very much in the way. At the end of the day I'm glad that I stayed with the tiller. Better feel, more room.

    Best Always,
    Frank

  7. #7
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    Tiller vs wheel.

    Guys, At the end of the day sailing is sailing and not how we look at the helm. Truth told, I have wheel steering in our boat and wish she were tiller steered. Of interest, of over 70 of the E31's made with the wheel offered as an option over a tiller, only were delivered without a wheel. Cheers, Glyn Judson, E31 hull #55, Marina del Rey, CA

  8. #8
    Contributing Member I
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    I'm a lousy sailor so I have to go with looking good behind the wheel

  9. #9
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    Stutting my stuff behind the wheel.

    MT, Me too. Glyn

  10. #10
    Principal Partner mherrcat's Avatar
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    I trust you are at least removing the wheel from the pedestal when entertaining in the cockpit.
    I have a fold-down table attached to the front of the pedestal. When that table is in the "up" position there is almost no room to move around in the cockpit. Removing the wheel would allow a few inches of extra room to move around the pedestal but it really doesn't open up any more usable area. Due to the location of the pedestal/guard rail in the "T" shaped cockpit it is difficult to move around it with or without the wheel in place.

    I agree, boats in the 30 -32 foot and under range are better off tiller steered.

    I read a book once about a guy who decided to switch from power boats to sail boats and his search for an appropriate boat for his purpose: single handed cruising. He settled on a shoal draft Vancouver 27 and, as I recall, some of his criteria were a small cockpit so everything was more easily accessible (and less space for water to accumulate in rough weather) and tiller steering.
    Mark H.
    1985 Ericson 30+

  11. #11
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    Tiller vs Wheel

    Having owned 5 different boats with tillers prior to my purchase of my E35-3 here as some of my thoughts......FWIW...

    First.....Tiller...no maintaince .......wheel...cables, quadrant, chain, sprocket.......do a search on this site...... an occassional drop down and lube is all you need think about....

    Next.....been said already, but under 32 feet and if you are looking for better performance, tiller wins hands down.......

    Last thought.....looking at the weather helm my 35 picks up, I would hate to steer it for any length of time with a tiller, much less with a hiking stick..... and when it really comes on to blow......no contest.....
    Mort Fligelman
    A Capella
    E35-3 1987
    Glenview, IL

  12. #12
    Innocent Bystander tenders's Avatar
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    It is my casual observation that the acute awareness of weather helm with a tiller-steered boat is the chief reason that tillers are more efficient. It reminds and eventually forces the skipper to balance the boat better with the sails, whereas the wheel-steered boat can drag several degrees of weather helm along for hours before the skipper has to do anything about it.

  13. #13
    Principal Partner CaptDan's Avatar
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    Tiller/Wheel?

    weather helm with a tiller-steered boat is the chief reason that tillers are more efficient.

    They certainly can be. Also, I'm not so sure I buy into the concept that boats <32 feet are better served with tillers. I've seen plenty of large 'classic plastic' - Cal 40s, et al - rigged with them as well. And those boats were raced and coastal cruised.

    One of the most actively sailed E35IIs in our marina is tiller equipped - albeit with an Aries windvane on the stern. The single handing owner wouldn't dream of converting to a wheel. My first boat - a modified H28 - sported a wonderful tiller and outboard rudder. The balance that setup offered was almost magical. Plus, maintanence was a breeze; everything was out in plain sight.

    Then again, some boats used in certain ways are better with wheels. Skippers who regularly sail with 3 or more crew and need the space might find a cockpit sweeping stick too intrusive. Same goes for party-heartiers who like to entertain above decks. There's also visibility to consider; some vessel's cabin trunks are tall, and a stern placed helm offers a better view forward.

    All that said, when my steering cable broke in a heavy blow awhile back, I quickly attached the emergency tiller. Despite the incompatible engine controls, I have to say it was nice steering down that memory lane for a change.

    Capt Dan G>E35II "Kunu"

  14. #14
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    Tiller vs wheel.

    All, Oops, David (E31, Emerald) pointed out to me that I left out how many E31's were fitted with tillers when new. Of over 70 made, only two were tiller steered. Interestingly, wheel steering was not standard, the tiller was, yet virtually everyone exercised the option for a wheel. Glyn Judson, E31 hull #55, Marin del Rey, CA

  15. #15
    Perfect Storm C Masone's Avatar
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    Wheels stay in the same plane

    When steering a tiller boat with guests aboard you always seem to be asking people to move their legs, with a wheel you just turn it!
    If anything's going to happen it's going to happen out there!

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