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Old 22-08-2006, 21:51   #1
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Alpha 3000 Autopilot

Ok my new boat is 21 years old and has an Alpha 3000 autopilot (41' 21.5k displacement and well balanced) which was original equipment. I can get itrepaired for $600. I plan on getting a windvane for sailing and would use the autopilot when motoring. Does anybody think it is worth throwing $$ at 21 year old technoloy. The other choice is to get the windvane and use a tiller pilot to run the windvane when motoring. I guess the Alpha could be a third back up system. Any thoughts?
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Old 23-08-2006, 06:28   #2
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The Alpha 3000 is one of the most robust and reliable autopilots ever made for yachts. It has successfully guided BOC yachts around the world without failure.

There's simply no comparison between an inexpensive autopilot driving a windvane, and the Alpha. Don't worry about "21 year old technology"....it's plenty good to steer your boat in even extreme conditions.

If it were me, I'd base a decision re: a $600 repair to the Alpha on factors such as the overall condition of the system, including the moving parts (motor or hydraulic RAM). If these are in good condition, or if they're included in the $600 repair, and if I had trust in the folks doing the repair...I'd go for it.

Bill
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Old 23-08-2006, 09:40   #3
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Charlie,
Before putting a windvane on the Sceptre, talk extensively to other Sceptre owners with windvanes. I put a brand-new vane on mine and ended up selling it after a few months. With two steering cables with quadrants and a quadrant for the autopilot, I found that there was simply too much resistance in the steering system for the lines from a servo-pendulum to be able to move in anything less than hull speed. You don't notice the resistance when hand steering, but the lines from the vane just don't have the leverage. However, vanes like the hydrovane that have their own rudder could do the job. I would buy a hydrovane, but the price is imposing. I elected to go with a brand-new autopilot.
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Richard Black
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Old 23-08-2006, 10:17   #4
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Thanks Bill:

I'm sending it to Alpha to have it repaired. They looked at the autopilot and said everything is in good working order except the compass and that is where the $600 would come in. I'm going to ask them more questions today as I only got the info second hand.

Richard:

Thanks for the heads up on the windvanes. I talked to Jemsea (john) who also has a Sceptre. His boat is the only one with a Cape Horn Windvane. He hadn't used it much but the previous owner said that it worked very well. Jeff Rouse said that he sailed on Kloosh and found that the Cape Horn worked really well. In looking at the Cape Horn vanes they seem to be an improvement on the Monitor. Jemsea is going to take a trip to Maine so maybe I'll talk to him about it when he gets back. The Cape Horns attach directly to the quadrant and has less moving parts than other windvanes. See this link: http://www.capehorn.com/sections/menus/SMenuCHAng.htm
Another thing that I liked about them is that they can be set off of center so that we don't lose access to the swim platform. I'll email pictures of Sceptre 41 Kloosh with the windvane on if you are interested if I still have them.

BTW I saw on another post that you have a small DC genset. How is that working out for you? I'm thinking of buying something similar.
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Charlie

Between us there was, as I have already said somewhere, the bond of the sea. Besides holding our hearts together through long periods of separation, it had the effect of making us tolerant of each other's yarns -- and even convictions. Heart of Darkness
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Old 23-08-2006, 10:58   #5
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Hi again Charlie,
I would be interested in the experiences of any Sceptre owners who have used their vanes for any length of time in varying conditions. I looked at the Cape Horn at the boat show. But the Hydrovane really impressed me from an engineering/workmanship standpoint (plus no connection to the main rudder at all). Please be very slow to purchase.

I have the Kestrel DC genset as sold by the Watermaker Store in San Diego. It fits perfectly into the engine room right behind the engine, but high enough over the main drive shaft so that there is good access. That way the engine room sound-proofing provides everything needed. The alternator produces 145AH DC for charging. Of course, the batteries will not accept that kind of input for very long before they start to taper, so then I have plenty of excess DC for running refrigeration and the watermaker.

I have two more days to retirement and the boat is darn near ready, so we should be cutting the docklines in about a week.
(I'll take those "fair winds" you wished me).
Regards,
richard
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Old 23-08-2006, 11:31   #6
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I'm jealous Richard. Try to keep us informed about your trip. I understand there alot of wifi spots.

We've yet to get the boat officially closed but expect that to happen tommorrow or the next day. I just spoke with the watermaker store. They quoted me $5395 on the Kestrel. knew who you were. I'm thinking about it. Feel like a kid in a toy store wanting to buy lots of extras for my new toy. As I've said before I think I'd like to sail it for awhile before spending too much.

Are you doing the Baja Ha Ha or going south on your own?

Take those Fair Winds and use them. If I can't be on the water I'd like others to have a good trip.
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Fair Winds,

Charlie

Between us there was, as I have already said somewhere, the bond of the sea. Besides holding our hearts together through long periods of separation, it had the effect of making us tolerant of each other's yarns -- and even convictions. Heart of Darkness
Joseph Conrad
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Old 23-08-2006, 14:41   #7
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Richard and Charlie:

Hope to be able to use and report back on the Cape Horn vane mid October when we return.


Richard: We wish you the best and hope to cross paths at some point. Please report back when you can.

Have Fun & Be Safe,

John
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Old 23-08-2006, 16:51   #8
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I've use the Alpha 3000 for something 18 yrs and it has performed in all conditions and operated my boat perhaps 30,000 miles including lots of offshore work.

I'd call that a workhorse and a reliable pilot.

Jef
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Old 23-08-2006, 20:12   #9
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Thanks John:

I'd love to hear how your trip to Maine goes. I'm trying to see if I can be in Vancouver BC during part of October. I don't have a heater in my boat which makes me a bit nervous

Jef:

Thanks for the input. I'll talk to the service guys tomorrow and see if I can work a trade in or something. BTW how is the power consumption?
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Fair Winds,

Charlie

Between us there was, as I have already said somewhere, the bond of the sea. Besides holding our hearts together through long periods of separation, it had the effect of making us tolerant of each other's yarns -- and even convictions. Heart of Darkness
Joseph Conrad
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