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Thread: Tiller vs. Center Console

  1. #1

    Default Tiller vs. Center Console

    I'm in the market for an 18' Jonboat, probably a G3 or Sea Ark, with a 90/65 jet. I had my mind set on a Center Console, but then I started to think that a tiller steer might be easier to control? I know some outboards take several turns on the steering wheel to go from full right to full left, obviously this would be avoided with a tiller. My concern with a tiller is that it would be harder to see the river and any obstacles. Finally, I have no idea how hard it is to drive a 90 horse tiller...would it wear a guy out running one all day? My dear wife likes to drive, too, so if the tiller is hard to handle, then it will be out of the question.

    We're mainly going to be running the Yentna to Lake Creek, Talachulitna and other tributaries. I'd like to get up past Youngstown Bend and to the Kichatna and more towards the headwaters of the Yentna someday, too.

    So lets hear it...does anybody have advice on one over the other? Advantages/Disadvantages that I haven't thought of???

  2. #2

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    C'mon, I can't believe nobody has an opinion about which one is better! That would be a first for this site, Ha!

  3. #3
    Member northriver21's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Corn View Post
    C'mon, I can't believe nobody has an opinion about which one is better! That would be a first for this site, Ha!
    It comes down to your preference. On one of my boats I have a 90hp Yahmaha with a tiller and it is not hard to handle. When your jet is pushing water it gives some momentum to move the motor easier. A jet with a tiller will be much easier than the same with a prop. Less in the water to turn.

    I personally like a tiller because it is quicker and more responsive than a wheel. You are right about harder to see from the rear of the boat, but I have not had any problems with that.

    I am usually running familiar water.

    I think you need to try and drive both and figure out which one you like more.

    Good luck

  4. #4
    Member AK LIVIN's Avatar
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    My suggestion would be to deside what type of running will you be doing for they both have pros and cons.

    wheel:
    Better for longer trips, back trolling, more comfortable, windshild option to get out of weather, better veiwing the river, run with a knee or hip when on long trips or needing to reach or eat something, weight self distrubited better and even though the same size it feels more like a boat, resale ect.

    Tiller:
    less money to install, takes up less room, easy for short trips, motor pulls off and stores easy, do not have to walk around making fishing and casting from boat easy.

    to me if you are doing short little trips like the little sue or deshka then a tiller would be perfect or if you wish for longer trips then a wheel might seem more comfortable, otherwise you could not go wrong with either for simpley having any boat is a great oportunity.

    Quote Originally Posted by northriver21 View Post
    It comes down to your preference. On one of my boats I have a 90hp Yahmaha with a tiller and it is not hard to handle. When your jet is pushing water it gives some momentum to move the motor easier. A jet with a tiller will be much easier than the same with a prop. Less in the water to turn.

    I personally like a tiller because it is quicker and more responsive than a wheel. You are right about harder to see from the rear of the boat, but I have not had any problems with that.

    I am usually running familiar water.

    I think you need to try and drive both and figure out which one you like more.

    Good luck

  5. #5
    Member Rock_skipper's Avatar
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    I ran tillers for years, and I swore to myself that when I could afford a boat with a wheel and a seat, there would be no more tillers. Well I have a wheel and a seat now, and will not go back to a tiller.

    First off I got my 200 pounds out of the back of the boat, so as stated before the weight was distributed more eq. in the boat. Then you have the windshield to cut down on the windchill factor making for a more pleasant ride. Then giving my age and phyiscal cond. it just makes for a more enjoyable trip.

    Having said that, I think all boaters should start out with a tiller for there first few years. ( 25 hp on a boat over 20' )

  6. #6

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    I have your set up with a center console.

    I like it but would have rather had a wider console (like the Sea Arc) with a windshield for more storage and weather control. Its my first, but I've been in a number of rear tiller boats and like this set up much more.

    I only have so much room in the current set up for my GPS/Fish Finder, UHF radio and storage box's down below on the shelf. It also doesn't leave much room for rod's/gun holders, etc. along the side of the console.

    So, my thoughts are center console, but a wider one - well, that's what I would do if they wern't so spendy... the few extra inches are worth it (to me anyway). I'm still thinking about changing mine out; maybe this winter.

  7. #7
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    I think it comes down to where you want to go and how hard you want to jet. In small tricky spots, a console is a real bugger, it's slower to start and even harder to correct (or so it seems). I went with a tiller, even though I have up to 4 hour trips from where I start at, but I love all the extra room and find that backtrolling is easier with a tiller, and there isn't much that I can't run with it. If you are going to stay on bigger rivers the console is great for the longer trips and won't cost in performance.

    As far as the windshield, I'm designing a fold up windscreen I can set up or collapse that will go right in front of my seat back by the tiller....lookin forward to that.

  8. #8
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    I've had three permutations ; tiller, center console, and full console/walk-thru windshield.
    I once went 80 miles in a snowstorm with only a center console and a windscreen. ONCE !!
    I went to a full console shortly thereafter. Now, I even have a canvas top and a Buddy heater. I guess I am getting soft in my old age...LOL
    PS: I do miss my open boat on nice days.
    Before you buy your wheel and cable, check the ratio. Mine only has about one turn, lock to lock.

  9. #9

    Default Thanks!

    Thanks a lot for all of the advice! I guess I am regressing a bit, I recently sold my Jetcraft with an inboard and full canvas (which my wife liked) in favor of the simplicity of a Jon Boat...I hope I don't regret my decision! I'm starting to think that the console will be the best choice, maybe even a full width console like some Sea Ark's, which would keep my wife and baby out of the wind. The more comfortable they are, the more we'll use the boat....

    Thanks again!

    Corn.

  10. #10

    Default Jetcraft with full canvas..

    to jon boat with center console for simplicity? I think your gonna be dissapointed in the change. Maybe not but I think so simply cause your going from comfort to not so comfy. Let us know how you like it after a few runs though. Others may ponder this decision and may like to hear the final word through your experience. I have heard of people that like the center console setup and imagine it more comfortable than tiller.

    I ran tiller for short tips and liked it for that, but long trips made me sore and I am happy with my full windshield and canvas.

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