Originally Posted by colemj
I am not aware of any autopilot
that requires a plotter for operation. The RM one I mentioned for $2800 comes complete with computer, compass
, drive unit and control head
. Installed, it is self-contained. You can hook it up to a plotter, but that isn't required.
, B&G, NKE and Furuno
pilots are stand-alone that do not require a plotter. I don't have experience with other brands, so can't say there.
Are you sure you didn't get the older gyro version? If not, you really got screwed - but I bet you got the older gyro compass
, which is still good kit.
How could you pass up the huge advantage of redundancy you have with the second rudder
? I am green with envy that you are able to have an entirely redundant pilot set up below decks. I would do the same in a heart beat if I could.
However, autopilots are not that complicated (and none that I ever heard of was dependent on any plotter or anything else other than a source of heading data). One can also keep a spare hydraulic pump and spare ram and just swap out these components if they fail. The job wouldn't be that much fun with a sea running, but it's feasible. As for electronics
, all you need is a computer, control head
position sensor, and a heading sensor and you're good to go.
The other killer pilot backup is a windvane
, which for many sailors is not a backup, but primary steering
on a long passage
. These don't even need power, much less any other input from any other system. Some of these even give you a backup rudder altogether. Quite difficult to fit on my boat, unfortunately (davits in the way; reverse counter transom with tip-out platform). I don't know whether one of these would work on your boat or not.