widgeon, I bought a 17' War Eagle almost a month ago with a 50 horse Mercury tiller and I love it. Before that the only experience I had ever had with tiller steer motors were 9.9, 15 and 25 horses.
It's all personal preference on what kind of steering you need, but for me the tiller is the best. It frees up lots of room in the boat and not having a console is one less thing to mess with. I've also never had a problem with getting wet with a tiller. I had it out in 3' waves with 35 mph winds a couple of weeks ago and didn't get a drop of water on me.
If you're looking at a used boat see if you can take it out and run it. That will answer your questions a lot better than anything on a forum.
This is the main reason I picked a tiller. Nice and wide open!