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Old 16-12-2011, 09:14   #1
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Heavy duty or hydraulic or custom tiller pilot options?

My Westsail 28 displaces 13,500 lbs., before I load her down for the big cruise.

So I am thinking near 16,000 lbs. ready to sail around the world.

Raymarine's biggest tiller pilot is rated at 16,500 lbs. I would like something rated to 20,000.

I have googled and read and searched, but I have not found anything else or more heavy duty.

Any other ideas?

I have thrown around the idea of taking a hydraulic steering arm pilot off of a wheel system, but don't think it will have enough through. And it is designed to be in the lazerrette, out of the weather.

A wind vane would be nice and ideal, but at $8,000 for a new one, I could buy four Raymarine SPX-5 pilots for that. But if one SPX-5 is too small, three more won't help me.

Any ideas please?
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Old 16-12-2011, 09:34   #2
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Re: Heavy duty or hydraulic or custom tiller pilot options?

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A wind vane would be nice and ideal, but at $8,000 for a new one, I could buy four Raymarine SPX-5 pilots for that.
A brand-new Monitor windvane for your boat will only cost $4,500 USD.
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Old 16-12-2011, 09:45   #3
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Re: Heavy duty or hydraulic or custom tiller pilot options?

I second the idea for a windvane, with the addition of a small tiller pilot for motoring (either attached to the vane or directly to your tiller, since it doesn't need to be powerful or energy efficient for motoring).

NKE makes a very well regarded hydraulic tiller pilot.
Autopilots, nke and others.
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Old 16-12-2011, 09:45   #4
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Re: Heavy duty or hydraulic or custom tiller pilot options?

I stand corrected, $4,500 for the Monitor.

But still looking for a computer controlled unit.
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Old 16-12-2011, 17:04   #5
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Re: Heavy duty or hydraulic or custom tiller pilot options?

Ray may be up to the job, but you will need the GP unit, not the plain one. Get the new ('G') brains too.

The alternative, and a good one, is to build a pushrod thru the transom and use a plain hydraulic drive with a remote pump. They are reliable, simple to mount, easy to fix, powerful and silent. I think if going the hydraulic way, you will need a rudder reference unit too!

BTW - when using the hydraulic drive try to build the way that the drive will be inside rather than outside - you will get much more life out of yours - esp. from the ball joints that tend to corrode on many (not all) units.

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Old 16-12-2011, 19:12   #6
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Re: Heavy duty or hydraulic or custom tiller pilot options?

"But still looking for a computer controlled unit." Do you really want to entrust your cruise to something that is almost guaranteed to screw up, can't be fixed by you and eats huge amounts of electrons??

On a boat like a W28 can't see why you wouldn't go with a windvane. A vane doesn't have any electrickery and doesn't eat electrons. Feeding and caring for an autopilot is an expense that easily double and even triple the initial cost. We had an Aires vane, only, on our W32 and probably didn't spend more than 1 day in 700 handsteering. Didn't have to run the engine constantly, buy and feed a generator, install multiple solar panels or other generating capacity. Amazingly enough, it worked fine with only minor servicing for the 10 years we owned the boat.

Just did a solo transpac DDW most of the way with the WindPilot Pacific Plus on my current boat and didn't touch the helm for 14 of the 15 days to Hilo. Had to meet my wife so turned on the engine the last afternoon to get in before dark.

If you have to have an autopilot, the Raymarine X5 GT model should have plenty of power to steer your boat.
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Old 16-12-2011, 19:46   #7
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Re: Heavy duty or hydraulic or custom tiller pilot options?

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On a boat like a W28 can't see why you wouldn't go with a windvane. A vane doesn't have any electrickery and doesn't eat electrons. Feeding and caring for an autopilot is an expense that easily double and even triple the initial cost.
More to the point, a Westsail simply doesn't look right without a windvane. I doubt there's any boat in the history of sailing that has a higher percentage of transoms with vanes.
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Old 16-12-2011, 20:36   #8
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My bothers boat (50k lbs) uses a tillerpilot (st2000 sized) to push a vane that pushes the rudder.

In this photo you can just make out the vane and the rod.

The hydraulic steering is put in neutral (bypassed) and the tiller pilot takes the place of the windvane.

Of course the caveat is you have to make the tiller pilot reverse sensing/operating.
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Old 17-12-2011, 10:15   #9
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Re: Heavy duty or hydraulic or custom tiller pilot options?

After some more rethought, I am going with the wind vane, with a small tiller pilot to drive it when motoring. What's another $4000 added to the shopping cart....
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Old 17-12-2011, 10:34   #10
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Re: Heavy duty or hydraulic or custom tiller pilot options?

Check Craig's List for all major boating areas and Ebay. A Monitor or other vane will turn up for under $2,000, maybe even in Florida. Sold mine for $1.700 when I found the WindPilot for the same price. Might want to check with the Westsail owner's site. Know they have negotiated a good price for a group buy from Cap Horn in the past.
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