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Old 06-11-2015, 23:21   #1
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Auto pilot for 27ft Hunter with wheel

I just purchased my first sailboat and will have many questions. I will mostly sail around lake superior and Apostle islands and I wanted to invest in an autopilot. My budget is up to 3k and I will be doing the install myself. I been reading about the wheel mounted units seem to be debatable less reliable then a rudder mounted one. What about that open source chart plotter software. Will that work with most autopilots? Any other things I should look for?
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Old 07-11-2015, 00:57   #2
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Re: Auto pilot for 27ft Hunter with wheel

Congrats on the new boat. What do you need an autopilot for?

Are you planning on exclusively single handing the boat? Are you planning on doing lots of long offshore passages. If you are just day sailing around the Apostle Islands and have friends I would think $3k for an autopilot might be better spent elsewhere. Could sail it for a season to see how it goes before dropping the money on it. Maybe a nice dodger would get more use?
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Old 07-11-2015, 07:33   #3
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Re: Auto pilot for 27ft Hunter with wheel

I have steered enough on power boats to know that when going somewhere and it goes 3-4 times slower I am going to want an autopilot and the 3k will be worth it. Maybe a couple years ago it would not have been worth it but business is good. I have been looking at the Raymarine stuff the most but am open to opinions.
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Old 07-11-2015, 08:50   #4
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Re: Auto pilot for 27ft Hunter with wheel

I have a ray ev100 wheel pilot on my G50. I've used their older stuff on prior boats. Hunter 30's 37c's they worked great on the smaller boats works OK on the 50. I need to limit the "load" from weather helm and excessive wheel motion. The EV series control is much better control. Get a rudder reference sensor makes setup and operation better. Check for sales that come up through usual places (eBay, defender, west) $1500 or so.
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Old 07-11-2015, 14:40   #5
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Re: Auto pilot for 27ft Hunter with wheel

Would you say it would be overkill to go with a hydraulic pump or will I be fine with the wheel pilot?
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Old 07-11-2015, 15:35   #6
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Re: Auto pilot for 27ft Hunter with wheel

Hydraulic twice the price or more and lot more work to install. I say overkill on a 27.
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Old 08-11-2015, 08:17   #7
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Re: Auto pilot for 27ft Hunter with wheel

So everyone agree wheel pilot should be enough? Is there any other brands I should be thinking about? What about chart plotter or depth finder combo? Does anyone use that open source navigation software?
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Old 08-11-2015, 08:30   #8
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Re: Auto pilot for 27ft Hunter with wheel

Wheel pilot is a perfect application for 27 ft...

Stick with the most popular and easily sourceable parts from ebay and the like...

= Ray

Cheap MFD/GPS =
Raymarine c95 Multifunction Navigation Display

You can get that and your otto for your 3k budget... Only missing the depth transducer...
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Old 08-11-2015, 08:33   #9
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Re: Auto pilot for 27ft Hunter with wheel

And yes... Tons here use OpenCPN and tablets/laptops... Me included...
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Old 08-11-2015, 08:36   #10
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Re: Auto pilot for 27ft Hunter with wheel

I have a Raymarine X5 wheel on my C&C 34 and sail on the west coast. No issues if the boat is properly balanced.
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Old 08-11-2015, 08:57   #11
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Re: Auto pilot for 27ft Hunter with wheel

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Originally Posted by Delancey View Post
Congrats on the new boat. What do you need an autopilot for?

Are you planning on exclusively single handing the boat? Are you planning on doing lots of long offshore passages. If you are just day sailing around the Apostle Islands and have friends I would think $3k for an autopilot might be better spent elsewhere. Could sail it for a season to see how it goes before dropping the money on it. Maybe a nice dodger would get more use?
Sorry, disagree.

I use my autohelm 90% of the time when sailing, alone or otherwise. It allows me to focus on other things, like sailtrim, navigation, etc. Autohelm never gets distracted, tired, or needs a drink. Its an excellent investment that will definitely add value to your boat.

I would stick with the appropriately sized Raymarine product. They have always worked for me, although I prefer a tiller and the associated hardware.
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Old 08-11-2015, 09:06   #12
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Re: Auto pilot for 27ft Hunter with wheel

I have a sailboat (1983 Sabre 34) with a freestanding independent CPT autopilot. It is wheel mounted with the motor drive on the lower pedestal.
I don't worry about digital nav systems failing. It holds a course well and allows me to go below when single handing to make a sammie or whatever.
I am very happy with it.
Great customer service. A real person answers the phone. I needed it after someone else mounted the motor drive bracket upside down and the donkey clutch was too close to the wheel. No worries now.
About $1800.
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Old 08-11-2015, 09:37   #13
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Re: Auto pilot for 27ft Hunter with wheel

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Originally Posted by TurboTim View Post
I have steered enough on power boats to know that when going somewhere and it goes 3-4 times slower I am going to want an autopilot and the 3k will be worth it. Maybe a couple years ago it would not have been worth it but business is good. I have been looking at the Raymarine stuff the most but am open to opinions.

there are times and times when i read a message for help they receive the help then throw it right out a simple question was proposed to you and you appear to have been rude to the person who was simply trying to help. dont want advice don't ask for it.
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Old 08-11-2015, 10:00   #14
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Re: Auto pilot for 27ft Hunter with wheel

Do you have any instruments on the boat now? If you do, you may want to look at an auto-pilot by the manufacturer of those instruments. Most newer instruments should be NMEA 2000 or 0183 compatible, so in theory it doesn't matter. I've found that it is sometimes easier to get support when all are the same. I wouldn't let that be an overriding concern, but it is something to consider.


Also, how old are any instruments and/or chart plotter? You want to be sure that they will work with any auto-pilot you buy.
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Old 08-11-2015, 10:15   #15
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Re: Auto pilot for 27ft Hunter with wheel

The CPT unit has received a lot of good reviews on this forum. I've been thinking about the EV100 for my boat.

Raymarine EV 100 Power Evolution Autopilot | eBay

CPT Autopilot Inc.
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