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View Poll Results: TELL US ABOUT YOUR AUTOPILOT, CHECK MORE THAN ONE ANSWER IF APPLICABLE
I OWN A B&G AUTOPILOT 14 8.14%
My B&G pilot has been very reliable 10 5.81%
My B&G pilot has been unreliable 2 1.16%
My B&G performs well even in a rough sea state 5 2.91%
I OWN A RAYMARINE AUTOPILOT 83 48.26%
My Raymarine pilot has been very reliable 66 38.37%
My Ramarine pilot has been unreliable 14 8.14%
My Raymarine performs well even in a rough sea state 36 20.93%
I OWN A SIMRAD AUTOPILOT 28 16.28%
My Simrad Pilot has been reliable 24 13.95%
My Simrad Pilot has been unreliable 3 1.74%
My Simrad performs well even in a rough sea state 19 11.05%
I OWN A WH AUTOPILOT 6 3.49%
My WH autopilot is very reliable 5 2.91%
My WH autopilot has been unreliable 1 0.58%
My WH pilot performs well even in a rough sea state 4 2.33%
I OWN A FURUNO AUTOPILOT 3 1.74%
My Furuno Pilot has been reliable 4 2.33%
My Furuno Pilot has been unreliable 0 0%
My Furuno Pilot performs well even in a rough sea state 4 2.33%
MY PILOT HAS A GYRO COMPASS AS WELL AS A FLUXGATE 11 6.40%
MY PILOT USES HYDRAULICS 33 19.19%
MY PILOT IS MECHANICAL 27 15.70%
MY BRAND OF PILOT IS NOT LISTED ABOVE AND I WILL DESCRIBE IT IN A POST BELOW 23 13.37%
Multiple Choice Poll. Voters: 172. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 27-01-2008, 16:07   #1
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AUTOPILOT SURVEY

TELL US ABOUT YOUR AUTOPILOT

After you fill out the survey above please take the time to post more info on your pilot below such as power consumption, boat size/weight, pilot model number, performance in quartering seas, etc. etc.,
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Old 27-01-2008, 16:11   #2
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Old Autohelm 3000. 1981 C&C 34, 12,500 pounds. Have used with no problems up to 50 knots (going to windward). I carry a complete spare on board. Uses about .1 amps in standby, .25 amps on (engaged), 1.5 amps running.
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Old 27-01-2008, 16:20   #3
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Simrad AP26 with below decks oversized hydraulic ram....rock solid...I love it!!!
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Old 27-01-2008, 16:40   #4
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I have a B&G h1000 pilot, new in early 2007. Fluxgate compass was faulty and had to be replaced (under warranty but a MAJOR HASSLE in the Caribbean) and now the speed sensor is faulty even after cleaning it thouroghly. I have yet to use the pilot in really rough or quartering seas so I cannot comment on how well it is going to work when the going gets rough. The H1000 cannot accept a gyro compass. You have to spend major bucks on a higher end B&G to get the GYRO feature. I have ahydraulic drive unit and really like that. This pilot came with the boat. I would have bought Simrad if I had the choice.

Keegan
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Old 27-01-2008, 17:04   #5
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I've installed the Ratmarine 6002 Plus - linear drive with a smart pilot and flux gate compass.. tyed it all into a CRC 72 series/ chart-plotter/radar.. the system has been in for 4 years now and works like a charm..
The part I get a kick out of is in following seas, as the smart pilot learns the conditions and reacts according.. Unlike past auto pilots I've owned, in following seas the boat will bear off as a wave rolls under the boat and the pilot then corrects so the path of the boat is a constant "S" pattern. With this unit, as the boats rear starts to lift, the pilot is already correcting the the action and the boat rides off the swell in a straight line....
I've used it comming down the northwest coat of the US, Washington and Oregon in 40 knots of wind and it worked fine..
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Old 27-01-2008, 17:29   #6
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Keegan, The only problem with your survey is that it will tell you who does the best marketing with their autopilot and not necessarily which is best used for what conditions. Folks that never leave the bay and only sail on weekends will find almost any pilot satisfactory. Those that make long offshore passages will in many instances use wind vanes. also autopilots I suppose. having said this we have had a WH Autopilots installed for several years with extensive cruising both offshore in coastal. The pilot has never failed, steers better than the crew and we have not yet encountered conditions it won't steer in.
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Old 27-01-2008, 17:34   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chuck Baier View Post
Keegan, The only problem with your survey is that it will tell you who does the best marketing with their autopilot and not necessarily which is best used for what conditions. in.
No survey is ever perfect but no matter how much a company advertises, if the product does not work well then customers will not be happy and probably say so. This survey can certainly capture that type of info. People posting can capture even more...

WH pilots are great, just not the best looking. I had one on my previous boat. They last forever.

Keegan
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Old 27-01-2008, 18:44   #8
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I have an Alpha3000 w/ mosfet. It has a mechanical drive (ram) which attaches to the rudder post with a mechanical simple means (teleflex cable) to de couple it from the steering. When disengaged it presents no drag on the helm and does not impact of the "feel". I have used it for more than 18 yrs in coastal as well as difficult offshore conditions with only one problem with the circuit board about 12 years ago which was serviced by Alpha. This pilot drives my 16K# fin keeled boat well in all conditions, but does hunt a bit in large quartering seas and does not like to steer when the boat is over canvased (but who does?). The pilot does NOT interface with GPS and course headings are set with a large rotary dial which is marked like a compass. (very intuitive and now being used in some of the new digital pilots instead of push buttons for 1 and 10 degrees) I am completely satisfied with the autopilot which I think is world class robust and reliable. Raymarine, the Walmart of the marine industry has bought up and re packaged some of AutoHelm's older (crappy) products under a Raymarine logo. Still crap I bet. And the parent company's customer service is world class awful.
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Old 27-01-2008, 18:54   #9
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ST1000 - came with the boat - Must be 10+ years old. Has been reliable. However lately glass is fogging and may be failing ;-(

I will buy a replacement ST1000+ in a heartbeat.
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Old 27-01-2008, 21:35   #10
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We have a Simrad AP21 with an HDL 2000 linear drive. We love it! It keeps the boat on a very straight track with no weave at all and is completely silent which is the best feature of all.
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Old 27-01-2008, 22:39   #11
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The boat came with an Autohelm (Raymarine) 4000. I groaned when I saw it as I used to fix lots of the earlier versions of this unit for other cruisers when we were cruising Mexico back in the 90's.
Fortunately, this one has the bronze gears instead of the cheapo plastic ones of yesteryear.
The unit will interface with the wind guages so it will steer by compass or relative wind.
I've had no problems at all, and it's rather easy on the batteries as well.
I should mention that the boat helm is very balanced.


Steve B.
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Old 28-01-2008, 06:41   #12
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We have a Simrad AP11 with HD2000L hydraulic drive on our 45 ft Beneteau. It has driven the boat well in all sea states for about 35,000 miles, with two breakdowns--the rudder feedback unit after 15,000 miles and the brushes in the drive motor at about 30,000 miles.

For comparison we fishtailed 13,000 miles across the Pacific in a boat with an Alpha 3000--great drive unit, but the brain was dumber than a fencepost. We have also tried to help about a dozen boats fix dead Raymarine pilots in remote places over the past 10 years.
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Old 28-01-2008, 08:30   #13
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Installed a WH about 8 years and 7k sea miles ago. Haven't touched it since except to change the drive belt once. I think of it as my no nonsense, no frills always reliable steering companion.

Steve
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Old 28-01-2008, 08:44   #14
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I have a Raymarine 6002 installed on my Catalina 350. So far it's taken me from Lake Ontario to Key West with almost 0 problems. I say "almost" because twice during the 500+ hours of sailing it did a hard-over for no discernible reason. But that's the worst of it. I'm extremely happy and it's gyro plus it's learning capabilities mean that it keeps the boat on course like a laser beam - it's pretty unreal. I ended up turning the response level WAY down because there's just no need for it to be as precise as it wants to be, might as well save some power and let the boat wander around a little bit. I have done 4 day open ocean passages and it's handled that just as well as the dreaded ICW. Good thing to, because I'm singlehanding. I NEED a reliable autopilot.
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Old 28-01-2008, 09:05   #15
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We have an Alpha 3000 - Flux Gate/Mechanical drive.

We love it - Works great: low current draw, reliable, handles tough seas well, tracks great.

We've been able to easily fix what few problems we've had (mostly either loose bolts or self caused - like when I knocked the cover off the flux gate compass and spilled the damping oil).

What conversations I've had with Chris the owner of Alpha have always been great.

We've got around 200 engine hours so far - mostly with the Alpha. We've gone well over 15,000 miles total, mostly with the Alpha, but some under sail with our Monitor wind vane.
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