The 44′ French & Webb built sloop Gusto was originally steered with a tiller. Her new owner felt that a wheel would make her easier to handle while powering in reverse and would also make moving about in the cockpit easier.
We decided to take advantage of an existing autopilot tiller arm that passed from the outboard rudder through the transom and into the lazarette. An Edson rack and pinion steerer was attached to the arm and an elegant box was built on the aft deck to house the mechanism.
The owner is delighted with the outcome. The wheel is placed so as to minimally intrude into the cockpit area. It is easily reached from the comfy helm seat (for maximum visibility) or from the cockpit (for maximum shelter from the elements.) There is excellent feel to the helm and steering is effortless in all conditions due to the fully balanced rudder.