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Old 12-07-2019, 22:52   #1
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Autopilot recommendations

I’m considering an autopilot for our Catalina 28. Our instrumentation is Garmin with a NEMA 2000 network, wind, speed, depth. Seems like the easiest option is to stay with the Garmin autopliot. Before I pull the trigger, are there other options? Do other companies make a unit that will interface with our instrumentation? Any suggestions or recommendations would be appreciated.
Ray
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Old 13-07-2019, 01:00   #2
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Re: Autopilot recommendations

You should not limit yyourself to Garmin because NMEA2000 compatibility is shared by all brands now.

What sensors do you have in your network for heading, wind direction, GPS etc? All these are needed so if you for example don’t have a compatible heading sensor, you need to buy one. These are often available in packages.

Do you have a tiller or steering wheel? What kind of pilot are you considering?
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Old 13-07-2019, 10:34   #3
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Re: Autopilot recommendations

Quote:
Originally Posted by s/v Jedi View Post
You should not limit yyourself to Garmin because NMEA2000 compatibility is shared by all brands now.

What sensors do you have in your network for heading, wind direction, GPS etc? All these are needed so if you for example don’t have a compatible heading sensor, you need to buy one. These are often available in packages.

Do you have a tiller or steering wheel? What kind of pilot are you considering?
We have a Garmin chart plotter with GPS,masthead wind speed/direction transducer, and repeaters. No heading sensor as yet and wheel steering.

Since I wasn’t sure if other units would be compatible I’d only considered the Garmin. The plus with the Garmin is that it will be compatible with the system (plug and play). For esthetics and function I like that the unit is located below deck. That said it may be overly complex for my needs and is more expensive than the units that are attached to the wheel (with belt and motor).

Truth is I’m trying to gain some information before making the decision.
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Old 13-07-2019, 11:15   #4
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Re: Autopilot recommendations

I would stick with a Garmin actuator/control unit, that way you’ll be able to use your MFD to control the autopilot and install firmware updates.
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Old 13-07-2019, 12:46   #5
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Re: Autopilot recommendations

You have a light boat, check out CPT. It's a stand alone unit with great off shore and inshore reputation. But its stand alone. Depends how you intend to sail. If you expect to lay a route on your chartplotter and run the magenta line, go Garmin integration. We're very pleased with ours but we dont sail a route. We only use autopilot for long straight runs
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Old 13-07-2019, 13:35   #6
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Re: Autopilot recommendations

Weight of the boat shouldn’t matter for a CPT.
Force required to turn the wheel at 1’ from center does, the CPT can deliver 86 ft lbs of force, so of course that means 86 lbs at one foot on the wheel.
My 24,000 lb boat has a small wheel and a balanced spade rudder, so it can steer it easily, but a smaller lighter boat with a 5’ wheel may take more than 86 lbs at 1 ft, and it may not can steer that.

I have no idea what a 120’ “Pirate ship” is but here is a video of a CPT steering one.
Of course for all I know it’s powered hydraulic steering, I’d suspect that actually.
https://youtu.be/uX6JdazHbJQ
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Old 13-07-2019, 18:59   #7
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Re: Autopilot recommendations

I think Mike nailed it: get the Garmin so that your plotter integrates with it. It will be able to steer a compass course like the other units mentioned, but it will also allow you to steer a wind angle just like with wind vane steering, plus it can steer a route you plot on the screen. This is very handy when doing something like an entrance with cross currents and other traffic that requires your attention etc.

We use all these modes and only hand steer during anchoring, docking etc. Even when we hoist sails the autopilot keeps the bow into the wind, you'll love it
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Old 14-07-2019, 08:20   #8
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Re: Autopilot recommendations

Thanks for the info. and this is exactly what I was hoping for. It looks like the CPT will do the basics of what I need but it doesn’t have many bells and whistles.
The Garmin interfaces with my existing kit and offers some helpful features.
The CPT is about 2K installed and the Garmin is about 4K.
Thanks again,
Ray
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Old 14-07-2019, 10:10   #9
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Re: Autopilot recommendations

Quote:
Originally Posted by s/v Jedi View Post
I think Mike nailed it: get the Garmin so that your plotter integrates with it. It will be able to steer a compass course like the other units mentioned, but it will also allow you to steer a wind angle just like with wind vane steering, plus it can steer a route you plot on the screen. This is very handy when doing something like an entrance with cross currents and other traffic that requires your attention etc.



We use all these modes and only hand steer during anchoring, docking etc. Even when we hoist sails the autopilot keeps the bow into the wind, you'll love it
Even though I recommended 2 brands, i have to second this comment.
I love the wind vane function.
I use our AP so much. I just dont use the follow route function for several reasons...one being safety, two being lulled into letting the boat do its thing, might as well as start texting at the wheel. Being sarcastic there....
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Old 14-07-2019, 13:18   #10
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Re: Autopilot recommendations

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Even though I recommended 2 brands, i have to second this comment.
I love the wind vane function.
I use our AP so much. I just dont use the follow route function for several reasons...one being safety, two being lulled into letting the boat do its thing, might as well as start texting at the wheel. Being sarcastic there....
About the follow route... so on a ship the Captain should do the navigation as well as steering and lookout? But he hires a navigator, a helmsman etc. As we are shorthanded, it’s only logical to use an autopilot. I think everyone agrees to that. But.... when you have a surge or a cross current, the compass course-keeping function of the AP doesn’t cut it. This means either constant adjustments or hand steering, which takes eyes away from the lookout task. This is why the “Nav-mode” of Autopilots increases safety... as long as the advantage is used for lookout instead of texting
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Old 14-07-2019, 15:19   #11
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Re: Autopilot recommendations

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