Cruisers Forum
 


Join CruisersForum Today

Reply
 
Thread Tools Rate Thread Display Modes
Old 13-01-2010, 12:54   #1
Registered User
 
Bright Eyes's Avatar

Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Nassau, Bahamas
Boat: 1985 Seidelmann 37 - s/v Bright Eyes
Posts: 94
The Right Auto-Pilot?

We are deciding on an appropriate auto-pilot for our Seidelmann 37 (13,900lbs displacement).

We don't know too much about them, but after doing research and considering our budget of about $1000, we think we want a wheel system. But the Raymine auto-pilot builder said that a boat our size needs a below deck auto-pilot.

What are your experiences? Can a boat our size use a wheel auto-pilot effectively?

We found the SmartPilot X-5 Wheel Autopilot from defender for $900.
SmartPilot X-5 Wheel Autopilot - Remanufactured
Has anyone used this unit and have an oppinion on it?

Thanks!
__________________

__________________
s/v Bright Eyes
http://www.sailblogs.com/member/joeynchristine/
Bright Eyes is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 13-01-2010, 13:38   #2
CF Adviser
 
Bash's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: sausalito
Boat: 14 meter sloop
Posts: 7,260
too much displacement for a wheel type

I agree with what the builder told you. I had an Express 37, which displaces 3,400 lbs less than your Seidelmann 37, with a wheel-type autopilot. It worked fine for short stretches when motoring, but really wasn't up to offshore conditions once the sails were up. It was certainly not something to which you could trust the helm with the spinnaker up or when the breeze was much more than twelve knots true.

I suspect that you'll be frustrated with the performance of any autopilot in the $1,000 range on a boat displacing 13,900 lbs.
__________________

__________________
cruising is entirely about showing up--in boat shoes.
Bash is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 13-01-2010, 13:51   #3
Registered User

Join Date: Sep 2009
Posts: 9
Try a ComNav 1420

I just replaced out old autopilot on our GulfStar 50 with with a ComNav 1420. Cheep and rock solid. If you want to find a good autopilot find a fishing boat and ask what they use. They can't mess around with toy autopilots made for the recreational sailor. Many recommend ComNav for their reliability.

Jeff
__________________
Damiana is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 13-01-2010, 14:12   #4
Registered User
 
Bright Eyes's Avatar

Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Nassau, Bahamas
Boat: 1985 Seidelmann 37 - s/v Bright Eyes
Posts: 94
We dont plan to take it offshore. We will just be sailing along the US eastern coast and through the caribean islands. We also wouldnt rely on the AP during a storm or in high winds. I dont think id feel comfortable letting any electronic control my boat in adverse conditions.

The Smart Pilot X-5 says it can handle boats up to 16,500lbs
__________________
s/v Bright Eyes
http://www.sailblogs.com/member/joeynchristine/
Bright Eyes is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 13-01-2010, 14:29   #5
Moderator Emeritus
 
Pblais's Avatar

Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Hayes, VA
Boat: Gozzard 36
Posts: 8,700
Images: 15
Send a message via Skype™ to Pblais
Quote:
But the Raymarine auto-pilot builder said that a boat our size needs a below deck auto-pilot.
You only need a below decks pilot when it's really nasty out there or in your case a little bit nasty Our "Bright Eyes" is about 5,000 lbs more displacement and we use a Raymarine ST7000 below decks pilot. It can handle large chop in gale force winds. I doubt you could hand steer all that long if you had to.

That would be the reason to get one. Wheel pilots are just fine unless you need one that can work when you can't. Unless you have never done heavy weather you can't imagine how exhausting it gets. Imagine if it was in the dark too. The good below decks pilots can do that and better than you ever could. If you look at it that way it changes how important it can be. You could have to bet your life on one.
__________________
Paul Blais
s/v Bright Eyes Gozzard 36
37 15.7 N 76 28.9 W
Pblais is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 13-01-2010, 14:36   #6
Registered User
 
Sailndive345's Avatar

Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: St Augustine, FL
Boat: Beneteau Oceanis 461
Posts: 349
I'd like to echo Paul's comments on below deck autopilots - additionally, if you install one that attaches to the quadrant (I think 'linear drive'), you have a way to steer the boat in case the steering cable decides to go out on you (Murphy has clearly stated that.... ) I use a Raymarine s3g model on Layla, and it has been nothing short of phenomenal in extended messy conditions.

Fair winds!

Sailndive
__________________
Sailndive345 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 13-01-2010, 14:52   #7
Don't ask if you can't handle it
 
sailorboy1's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: On the boat somewhere
Boat: Hunter 410
Posts: 12,310
I agree with getting the wheel drive. My boat is 18000 lbs displacement and its' wheel pilot handled 10-15' waves and 30+ knot wind OK (better than I could do). If it works you save probably $1000 on the drive unit plus all the owrk to mount to the rubber tube. If for some reason you need something stronger later the below deck drive will use the rest of thge system.

I wouldn't believe anything Raymarine says as a given. if you do a search here you will find that thier support people tend to know nothing.
__________________
sailorboy1 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 13-01-2010, 15:18   #8
Registered User
 
Bright Eyes's Avatar

Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Nassau, Bahamas
Boat: 1985 Seidelmann 37 - s/v Bright Eyes
Posts: 94
Quote:
Originally Posted by Don Lucas View Post
My boat is 18000 lbs displacement and its' wheel pilot handled 10-15' waves and 30+ knot wind OK (better than I could do).

Don - What model do you have?
__________________
s/v Bright Eyes
http://www.sailblogs.com/member/joeynchristine/
Bright Eyes is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 13-01-2010, 15:53   #9
Don't ask if you can't handle it
 
sailorboy1's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: On the boat somewhere
Boat: Hunter 410
Posts: 12,310
My Cal-39 has and older Raymarine 6002 wheel drive system. Same wheel unit as the X-5 system, just not as "smart" as the newer system as faer as the control unit. I starting having problems with the wheel drive toward the end of last season and contacted RM who provided NO useful help and with some research it was apparent the TECH who answered my question knew nothing and was just trying to drum up business (I posted this on the product review forum here). Was going to upgrade to a below deck drive using my ccurrent control unit (my boat had one at one time so it already has mounts etc), but now I think all I need is a new belt so am going to go this way.

On my first trip with my boat I ran into 10-15' seas and 30+ wind and had to beat into it. My 6002 unit steered the boat though all this just fine under both motor and sail up until the mounting screws for the bracket on the pedestal backed out (not RM's fault) so I had to take the wheel. Thats when I found how much better the autopilot was doing over what I could do in maintaining course. The saying about "if you have a hard time steering so will your autopilot" is true. If you are trimed correctly the autopilot should do fine 99% of the time. While I feel RM sucks as to the service and support end, the products seem to work just fine.
__________________
sailorboy1 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 13-01-2010, 17:40   #10
Registered User
 
DeWittcap's Avatar

Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Connecticut
Boat: Jeanneau 50 DS
Posts: 28
autopilot

I too had an Express 37. On the Express I had a Navico unit which was not up to the task. In a following sea, it had a mind of its own. I definitely would go with a below deck model ex. Raymarine 6000. The wheel unit is not stong enough.
__________________
DeWittcap is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 13-01-2010, 17:45   #11
Registered User
 
r.furborough's Avatar

Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Norfolk, VA
Boat: Freedom 32 (Hoyt)
Posts: 223
I think your budget is too low as you need to look at a below deck autopilot. I know of a Hunter in the 32-34 foot range that had a wheel pilot that was so unbalanced the weather helm overcame the wheel pilot. result, wheel pilot failed and had to be replaced.
__________________
------------------------------------------------
the memories of a man in his old age, are the dreams of a man in his prime
Pink Floyd - 'Free Four'
r.furborough is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 13-01-2010, 18:30   #12
Senior Cruiser

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: between the devil and the deep blue sea
Boat: a sailing boat
Posts: 17,314
No problem when motoring in relatively normal conditions.

For extensive passages I would go for an underdeck model.

b.
__________________
barnakiel is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 13-01-2010, 19:13   #13
Registered User

Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Brisbane
Boat: deboated
Posts: 672
Raymarine seem to have a very slick marketing set up which has given them a very large share of the leisure market. They also use the warranty as another heavy selling point BUT! My experience is this, you will require the warranty, they do not carry out mid ocean call outs and they are very loath to assist non RM repairers with information or parts. The physical control of the rudder is the main area of concern with any brand. The brain is not where the heavy lifting takes place hence most times belt driven wheel units are usually the point of failure. Price then becomes a problem like most areas in life good luck!
__________________
meyermm is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 13-01-2010, 19:28   #14
Registered User

Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 1,321
See also.
Raymarine X-5 Autopilot Anyone? - Page 2 - Cruisers & Sailing Forums
The rate Gyro on the X-5 really improve Marpa
__________________
chala is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 13-01-2010, 19:36   #15
Registered User
 
DeWittcap's Avatar

Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Connecticut
Boat: Jeanneau 50 DS
Posts: 28
I feel that Raymarine is getting a bad rap. I have had little issue or repair with my 6000+. My boat has a displacement of 29000 and sails regularly offshore in all kinds of weather. It may not be a Robertson, but it is more reliable. As for service and techical help, they have been most responsive and with a quick turn around. If you want non-responsive, try Nobeltec.
__________________

__________________
DeWittcap is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
autohelm, autopilot, raymarine, wheel

Thread Tools
Display Modes Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Raymarine auto pilot wind rose ll Marine Electronics 3 04-07-2007 19:15
Auto Pilot: Looking for input Doghouse Marine Electronics 24 25-08-2006 06:31
CPT Auto Pilot Jerry Seamanship & Boat Handling 3 09-03-2006 09:46
CPT Auto Pilot Jerry General Sailing Forum 10 11-02-2006 11:20
Robertson Auto Pilot capt lar Marine Electronics 2 06-02-2006 19:53



Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -7. The time now is 03:13.


Google+
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Social Knowledge Networks
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

ShowCase vBulletin Plugins by Drive Thru Online, Inc.