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Is it worth getting a folding steering wheel for 310?

philzZ

.
Oct 26, 2017
3
Catalina 310 Sunset Marina, Ocean City, MD
I've seen a couple of old threads here on the forum, where people were getting ready to install folding steering wheels for Catalina 310. I kind of like the idea of added space and ability to fold it, but I have a problem justifying the cost. Please advice, does it really make it more convenient to get around in real life?
 
Dec 5, 2010
79
Catalina 310 310 222 Niceville FL
We added a 40" folding wheel and I loved it for the sailing (able to sit low and see the jib)...being 40" it was in the way when not folded. When we sold the boat the new owners downsized to a smaller folding wheel for more space...now that we own the boat again I plan to sell the smaller folding wheel and replace it with another 40" I will double check the sizes and post later.
 
Feb 17, 2006
4,667
Lancer 27PS MCB Camp Pendleton KF6BL
How about a smaller wheel? I thought about that because of limited room at the helm. Not sure if a smaller wheel would be at a disadvantage versus a regular size wheel? What formula is used to determine the correct size wheel anyway?
 

DaveJ

.
Apr 2, 2013
320
Catalina 310 Niagara-on-the-Lake
I put a folding wheel on mine, same size as original (32"?)...great upgrade. Defender had it on for a real good price 2 years ago, with blue leather, opens up the already large cockpit. Good when at anchor and people want to swim off the back. With tapered hub it was about $600US including shipping. I could justify it because Santa brought it.

Cheers
 

Gunni

.
Mar 16, 2010
5,943
Beneteau 411 Oceanis Annapolis
A larger wheel is like having power steering, if I were going to justify the considerable cost it would be to add a bigger folding wheel than the small OEM wheel - that would be a true upgrade.
 
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Nov 8, 2010
10,812
Beneteau First 36.7 & 260 Minneapolis MN & Bayfield WI
How about a smaller wheel? I thought about that because of limited room at the helm. Not sure if a smaller wheel would be at a disadvantage versus a regular size wheel? What formula is used to determine the correct size wheel anyway?
The biggest one that fits. Not only the ratio advantage Gunni mentioned, but it allows the driver to sit on (or closer) the rail, high or low side to help balance the boat while focusing on the jib telltails. Standing behind the wheel was for clipper ships.
 

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Last edited:
Nov 18, 2010
2,286
Catalina 310 Hingham, MA
We've had the folding wheel for 4-5 years. We live aboard full-time and cruise when we have money (about 7 months away from leaving the Virgin Islands and sailing the leewards and ABCs to Panama). For us the folding wheel was worth every penny! It opens up the cockpit for living, having people over, just about anything. We went with the same size as the original wheel (32-inch). Others are right as to the advantages of a bigger wheel but a dirty little secret of cruisers is we almost never actually steer the boat, the autopilot does.

Our wheel was a Defender warehouse deal only. We only paid $450. Lewmar is located right up the road from Defender and they make the folding wheels for the new Catalina's. When they have over stock it goes to Defender but they can't advertise it. So call them and ask if they have any special warehouse deals on folding wheels.

Good luck and fair winds
 

jviss

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Feb 5, 2004
3,934
Tartan 3800 Westport, MA
I have a 40" wheel. I take the wheel off in port, put it on the deck between the lifelines and bimini frame, and lash it for extra safety - though it's not going anywhere.
 
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Likes: JimInPB
Dec 5, 2010
79
Catalina 310 310 222 Niceville FL
I've seen a couple of old threads here on the forum, where people were getting ready to install folding steering wheels for Catalina 310. I kind of like the idea of added space and ability to fold it, but I have a problem justifying the cost. Please advice, does it really make it more convenient to get around in real life?
We added a 40" folding wheel and I loved it for the sailing (able to sit low and see the jib)...being 40" it was in the way when not folded. When we sold the boat the new owners downsized to a smaller folding wheel for more space...now that we own the boat again I plan to sell the smaller folding wheel and replace it with another 40" I will double check the sizes and post later.
Decided to go ahead and order a new 40”, we like the cockpit space with the folding 32” but 40” folder really adds to the sailing enjoyment for me.
 
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Jan 17, 2013
312
Catalina 310 St. Simons Island, GA
I have installed a 32" in the past year and like it very much. Easier to move fore and aft in the cockpit and the wheel has a leather covering and is high quality so I like it. Not a "must have" but more of a "nice to have"...
bob
 
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Mar 6, 2008
271
Catalina 310 Scott Creek, VA
I went from a 36" wheel to a 42" fixed wheel but could not open the port locker. I now have a fixed 40" and the port locker drags on the wheel as it is opened. Santa has not been generous with me of late, so no folder yet.
 
Jan 22, 2008
7,233
Beneteau 323 Annapolis MD
My B323 has a 36 inch wheel that can pivot 90 degrees to align fore and aft. Great for accessing the swim platform, but otherwise in the way of a dozen people in the cockpit. I'm looking at a 40 folding or just taking the wheel off before the happy hour starts. One of the Beneteau trips to Sunset Marina in OC, a fellow took his wheel off while 2 nights in the slip. Cast off to head home, and was half way out of the slip before he realized he had not remounted the wheel.
 
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Sep 29, 2008
1,765
Catalina 310 #185 Quantico
How about just a simpler approach like a bigger nut with a knurled knob coupled with a bracket so you could take the wheel off and store it off to the side like jviss mentioned? Seems like simpler is better and the folding models I have seen don't seem to offer all that much advantage especially given the price. :yikes:
 
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Likes: JimInPB

paulj

.
Mar 16, 2007
1,338
Catalina 310 Anacortes,Wa
"Others are right as to the advantages of a bigger wheel but a dirty little secret of cruisers is we almost never actually steer the boat, the autopilot does. "


Well now the secret is out............:worship:

paulj :hook2:
 

Gunni

.
Mar 16, 2010
5,943
Beneteau 411 Oceanis Annapolis
Hey Marks, what you have is a boat; that there is the 180’ steel-hulled tall SHIP Picton Castle which has circumnavigated something like 1/2 dozen times! But yeah, in the picture she is tied up in Elizabeth River during OpSail Norfolk in 2012. :p My buddy is a small time actor and sailor, I asked him to stand at the helm for a shot and he struck his best Captain Courageous pose.

Side note: When we sailed back to Annapolis the next day we shared the channel with Bounty (of Marlon Brando fame), she was on the bottom off Hatteras 120 days later. Another victim of H. Sandy.
 

philzZ

.
Oct 26, 2017
3
Catalina 310 Sunset Marina, Ocean City, MD
Thank you so much for your input guys! boy, I am so glad that I have registered here, I didn't even believe that I could get a real help from strangers online ;)
Alright so now I am certain that I am doing the right thing, and already decided on a Lewmar folding steering: https://www.boatid.com/lewmar/lewmar-marine-miscellaneous-215049826.html
So my second concern is the size, so my original wheel is 36", but since the new one will be folding I can upsize to 40". I really liked the comparison with the "powersteering" as it makes more sense to me.