What's better? Wheel, or Tiller Steering?

Ask ten sailors the same question, and you’ll get 10 different answers, but those new to sailing all wonder. What’s better? A Tiller, or Wheel?

Seeing the wheel VS tiller debate is one that will never be settled, here’s a list of pros and cons for you to consider.

Tiller Steering

-The best ‘feel’ of the rudder blade, because you’re holding it in your hand!
-You can sail from either the windward or leeward rail, giving you great visibility both upwind and downwind.
-Steering can be done with almost any body part. Hands, feet, knees, butt!
-Can be raised at anchor for a totally clear deck.
-Simpler, with no/few moving parts.
-‘Reversed’ steering sense for beginners and non-sailors.
-Can ‘pin’ non-sailors to the side of the boat during maneuvers.
-Restricts movement across the cockpit while sailing.
-Can only be used on boats up to around 40ft. Any bigger, it gets tough.

Wheel Steering

-Easier to steer for non-sailors. It’s just like driving a car
-The wheel gives you something to grab on to!
-Autopilots tend to be more accurate.
-Maneuvering in the marina is easier, especially when reversing.
-Behind the wheel, is a great place for nav equipment, cup holders etc.
-You feel like a ‘real captain’. Depending on your opinion…
-Controlling large boats is significantly lighter on the arms
-Less ‘feel’ over what the rudder blade is doing (Weather/lee helm)
-Can restrict the cockpit, depending on where it is placed.
-Extreme maneuvers might take a bit longer to perform.

What’s your favourite? There’s a forum thread right here in the Seabreeze.com.au Sailing forum with first-hand reports from experienced community members and boat owners like yourself.