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Old 08-11-2015, 15:17   #31
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Re: tiller autopilot - weighing options

The tonnage ratings are meaningless. A boat with a balanced rudder will take way less force to steer than one with a barn door. Boats that don't develop fierce weather helm as speed under sail increases will take less force. Also boats that are directionally stable will have the auto-pilot working less so less subject to wear issues. Even the Raymarine GP tiller pilot isn't designed to the work level of a below decks unit.

Have heard of a Raymarine ST2000 pilot steering a Westail 32 from the East Coast, through the Carribean, and most of the way to Tahiti before it gave up. The workload on a Westsail is so far above the design parameters of the St2000 that Raymarine was mystified that it worked at all.

Personally, the auto-pilot is for powering and the self-steering vane for sailing.
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Old 08-11-2015, 15:36   #32
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Re: tiller autopilot - weighing options

Quote:
Originally Posted by roverhi View Post
The tonnage ratings are meaningless. A boat with a balanced rudder will take way less force to steer than one with a barn door. Boats that don't develop fierce weather helm as speed under sail increases will take less force. Also boats that are directionally stable will have the auto-pilot working less so less subject to wear issues. Even the Raymarine GP tiller pilot isn't designed to the work level of a below decks unit.

...

Personally, the auto-pilot is for powering and the self-steering vane for sailing.
I have a Raymarine X-5 GP running our heavy-displacement (15-ton), full-keel, barn door ruddered boat. As roverhi says, we mainly use the tiller pilot when we're motoring. IOW when there is little or no wind. I have used the pilot in light winds and small seas, but our windvane does the work most of the time.
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Old 08-11-2015, 18:08   #33
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Re: tiller autopilot - weighing options

Our 44' , 20 ton cruiser had an Aries, but no AP.

I installed a RM 2000 adapted to drive the Aries. The force to drive the attachment was negligible. The rig worked well, until it didn't.

There is a bearing on the shaft that holds the force as rod goes in and out. Christ, I'm blocking on what it is called. Ah ha, found it. THRUST bearing! Anyway after a while, a couple of hundred hours, no more, the bearing gave out. The drive motor is shockingly small, but worked. It was the mechanical bits that died, and jammed the gyro, intermittently, sending me all over the place. Very dangerous.

I'm in a kind of remote place so it takes a bit to get parts shipped there. And expensive.

Cutting to the chase...the replacement unit came with a bad gyro. The second replacement ALSO came with a bad gyro. I eventually scavenged the old gyro into the replacement unit and it worked. But I didn't get the cover on watertight and a night of heavy rain fried the circuit board. So I scavenged the circuit board and kept going, with a Baggie over the unit.

Once back home I sent all three units to RM, who repaired all three for no charge, but who would not take one back. So I now have three units.

I've recently installed a CPT wheel pilot in the 44'er and will keep one tiller pilot as an emergency back up to that.

The other two will go on our 33', 8 ton boat. Not sure how I will install them. It has an easily installed emergency tiller that I might use. But also it has an auxiliary rudder vane that has a tiller attachment or I could use the AP instead of the vane for input. I'll work that out next year.
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Old 08-11-2015, 18:12   #34
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Re: tiller autopilot - weighing options

Check out pelagic autopilot.
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Old 08-11-2015, 18:17   #35
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Re: tiller autopilot - weighing options

Guess the pelagic was posted. I have purchased one, but not installed it yet. Its basically still sorta developmental, but I have high expectations and Brain seems to be pretty dedicated to it although I have to wonder how long he'll stick with it. Will be using this winter in the Bahamas. Additional parameter is my boat easily does speeds low to mid teens in cruising trim.
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