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1977 cal 30 Wheel Conversion

Discussion in 'Catalina 30' started by lostintime, Jun 11, 2018. Add this thread to a FAQ

  1. lostintime

    lostintime

    Joined Aug 4, 2015
    23 posts, 5 likes
    O'day 25
    US Wyandotte
    Hello all,
    I just purchased a '77 Catalina 30 in incredible condition. It currently has a tiller and I’m wondering if it can be converted to a wheel helm. Is there a kit available? Is the rudder shaft adequate? How difficult? Is it worth the effort? Always wanted a wheel but every boat I buy ends up being a tiller.
     

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  2. David in Sandusky

    David in Sandusky

    Joined Nov 8, 2007
    1,067 posts, 141 likes
    Hunter 27_75-84
    US Sandusky Harbor Marina, Lake Erie
    Personally, I would argue the tiller is a better option for a 30 footer. But I have seen many satisfied owners with a wheel. We have chartered at Cat 30 twice in the San Juans and we were happy with its wheel steering. I would have no doubts that a conversion would work fine.
     


  3. mortyd

    mortyd

    Joined Dec 11, 2004
    937 posts, 12 likes
    Catalina 30
    US easy living
    i can't answer your question but can suggest if you do this to get a large destroyer wheel so you can con the boat with one hand while sitting on the rail - like a tiller.
     


  4. mortyd

    mortyd

    Joined Dec 11, 2004
    937 posts, 12 likes
    Catalina 30
    US easy living
    i also suggest you call catalina yachts since they're the first to do what you're wondering and they' ve always been helpful for me.
     


  5. jssailem

    jssailem

    Joined Oct 22, 2014
    5,944 posts, 2,089 likes
    CAL 35 Cruiser
    US Salem, Moored Port Everett WA
    Well Congrats to you @lostintime . You...

    Cal Boats are well made good cruise/racers. Love to go down wind.
    Likely yes you can convert the boat. You’ll need to pick a binnacle maker Yacht Specialities were used by Cal, but I think Edison Marine (which is still in business) can help you with the equipment.
    Think about the decision. The tiller does improve your room in th cockpit. At rest you can poke the tiller in the air and give yourself room for 4 to chat and eat. The wheel will shrink the cockpit and make getting to the stern of the cockpit a bit of an issue. You’ll develop a monkey jump twist soon enough once you practice it a bit.

    Keep us informed about your project. Have fun sailing your Cal30.
     


  6. Calif. Ted

    Calif. Ted

    Joined Jun 8, 2004
    2,132 posts, 140 likes
    Catalina 320
    US Dana Point
    I've seen a couple conversions on Cat 30's and I would not recommend it, because of the loss of mechanical advantage the steering effort becomes excessive. A boat designed for a wheel has a T-shape cockpit for a large wheel, a conversion must use a much smaller wheel.
     


  7. jssailem

    jssailem

    Joined Oct 22, 2014
    5,944 posts, 2,089 likes
    CAL 35 Cruiser
    US Salem, Moored Port Everett WA
    Here you go. A small ships wheel,:poke: but this one has spokes to aid in control.
    Ships_wheel.jpg
     


  8. mortyd

    mortyd

    Joined Dec 11, 2004
    937 posts, 12 likes
    Catalina 30
    US easy living
    yes ted, i do have a t-shaped cockpit
     


  9. lostintime

    lostintime

    Joined Aug 4, 2015
    23 posts, 5 likes
    O'day 25
    US Wyandotte
    All valid points. I have noticed the T shaped cockpit and wondered about wheel size as well as quick access to the helm with my layout. I agree the wheel takes up a lot of space but arguably so does the tiller. When in port the tiller is up and cockpit is very open but at sea the tiller tacks up 3/4 of the cockpit.

    I'm going to continue to source the parts and knowledge however I think I'll sail for the season and get to know the boat before making any major changes.
     


    Ward H and jssailem like this.
  10. jssailem

    jssailem

    Joined Oct 22, 2014
    5,944 posts, 2,089 likes
    CAL 35 Cruiser
    US Salem, Moored Port Everett WA
    A very wise decision.
     


    FastOlson likes this.
  11. Ward H

    Ward H

    Joined Nov 7, 2011
    1,793 posts, 188 likes
    Catalina 30 Mk III
    US Barnegat, NJ
    I agree. A wheel conversion sounds like a very large project so see if you still want a wheel after the season.
    Looks like a very nice boat. We just made the same move from an O'day 25 to a C30. Its proving to be a very nice move.
     


    jssailem likes this.
  12. Jackdaw

    Jackdaw

    Joined Nov 8, 2010
    9,026 posts, 2,303 likes
    Beneteau First 36.7 & 260
    US Minneapolis MN & Bayfield WI
    [​IMG]
     


    John Tubb likes this.
  13. jviss

    jviss

    Joined Feb 5, 2004
    2,929 posts, 351 likes
    Tartan 3800
    US Westport, MA
    Is it a Cal or a Catalina? Pic looks like a Catalina 30, in super shape!
     


  14. Joe

    Joe

    Joined Jun 1, 2004
    6,473 posts, 328 likes
    Catalina 27
    US Mission Bay, San Diego
    Besides the cost of converting, which will be substantial... you can figure in the cost of an autopilot. A tiller pilot is much less expensive to purchase .... and to install.
     


    jviss likes this.
  15. jviss

    jviss

    Joined Feb 5, 2004
    2,929 posts, 351 likes
    Tartan 3800
    US Westport, MA
    The expense and maintenance of a wheel is not worth in on a 30' boat, in my opinion. There are times I wanted a tiller on my Catalina 36.
    Edson can provide everything you need. The drawings with parts lists are here:
    https://edsonmarine.com/sailboat-data-sheets/

    They are a super company to work with, but their stuff ain't cheap!
    By the way, you want the newer version.
     


  16. John Tubb

    John Tubb

    Joined Feb 14, 2017
    699 posts, 150 likes
    O'Day 25
    US Guntersville, AL
    I say find a Cat 30 with a wheel already. I'll take that sweet tiller 30 off your hands for sure!
     


  17. The Garbone

    The Garbone

    Joined Nov 7, 2012
    673 posts, 16 likes
    1978 Catalina 30
    US Wilbur-by-the-Sea
    Love the our 78' tiller, no way would I recommend putting in a wheel on a 77'. Have to drop the rudder, cut the tube, put a hole in the cockpit floor, buy pedestal, rig the thing up. Oh no. Auto pilots cost twice as much, less room in the cockpit, did I mention more holes in the boat.

    I find it nice to get her balanced and still be able to adjust the heading while standing and having the tiller pushing on my leg or using a tiller extension and sitting pretty much anyplace in the cockpit.
     



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