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Old 10-07-2016, 15:37   #1
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Autopilot RayMarine vs Garmin

Looking to purchase a 2016 Helia 44
Just sailed a 2015 for 10 days and the autopilot sailed like a drunken sailor.
Anyone else have that experience or was it just this boat and needs to be adjusted?
Also, any feedback on the Raymarine?
And final question, does anyone know if FP only installs the Garmin or can you select the brand?

Thanks for the insight.
Rebecca
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Old 10-07-2016, 23:34   #2
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Re: Autopilot RayMarine vs Garmin

I have Garmin on my Helia and had Raymarine on my last boat. Both worked well. In fact any autopilot properly set up should work OK. The only real difference between brands is in features and user interface.

Cannot comment on the problem as "sailed like a drunken sailor" is not very descriptive.

FP will install Raymarine if you give plenty of notice prior to manufacture but it will cost more because FP have a deal with Garmin.
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Old 11-07-2016, 00:03   #3
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Re: Autopilot RayMarine vs Garmin

you might be able to adjust trim rate. a fast rate means a straight course. A slow rate is drunken sailor stuff.
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Old 11-07-2016, 00:08   #4
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Re: Autopilot RayMarine vs Garmin

Look for videos of "cheeky monkey" on yuotube. Your ap problems are not an isolated case

Sent from my GT-I9300 using Cruisers Sailing Forum mobile app
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Old 12-07-2016, 01:17   #5
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Re: Autopilot RayMarine vs Garmin

Don't know the status now, but a couple of years ago when I purchased my Salina the FP factory would only install Garmin.

I have a preference for Raymarine so had it fitted post factory by an excellent contractor in La Rochelle.

See Uchimata - Entretien et maintenance nautique
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Old 13-07-2016, 03:33   #6
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Re: Autopilot RayMarine vs Garmin

Quote:
Originally Posted by Amaranth View Post
Don't know the status now, but a couple of years ago when I purchased my Salina the FP factory would only install Garmin.

I have a preference for Raymarine so had it fitted post factory by an excellent contractor in La Rochelle.

See Uchimata - Entretien et maintenance nautique

We have five Helia's in the charter fleet a couple of the early ones hull 2 and 3 have factory Garmin. We prefer the Raymarine and use Uchimata in La Rochelle to install them prior to sailing across. Your dealer should be able to price it that way and pay Uchimata to do the work prior to leaving France.


Jay
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Old 31-07-2016, 08:00   #7
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Re: Autopilot RayMarine vs Garmin

We have Helia hull #4 with Garmin autopilot and are very displeased with the product. The "drunken sailor" syndrome means the autopilot will oscillate 20-30 degrees on either side of the rhumb line especially when following a GPS course in waves and at a wind angle of less than 80 degrees.
My wife and I find we use heading hold as much if not more than GPS course hold. Several phone calls to Garmin support gave us totally different suggestions for solutions. We know the dealer configuration wizard so well we could do it in the dark.
Finally we found some improvement when we adjusted "rudder gain" and "rudder countergain" manually. Adjust one setting at a time and 5% at a time. We found that a rudder gain = 45% and countergain = 75% is the most effective.
We still talk to our autopilot who we have named Jude with a plethora of four letter words.
Hint: Get the Raymarine.
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Old 01-08-2016, 08:16   #8
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Re: Autopilot RayMarine vs Garmin

Dream Chaser is a 2014 model, with the Garmin factory installed instruments including auto pilot. I would guess that the one you sailed needs adjustment. Ours has worked flawlessly with one exception (noted below). The auto pilot easily handles the boat and tracks a much better line than we do manually. We use it all the time. But we also always use "heading hold" and do not usually sail to a waypoint (if that makes any difference). Our only issue involved a "clunking" noise when we first took delivery of the boat. Turns out we needed to add a rubber bushing to the hydraulics that attached to the tillers. This problem was diagnosed and resolved by the company that made the hydraulics, and not a Garmin issue. In order to have Raymarine, we would have had to go "after market" as FP had no Raymarine option then. The cost difference was significant. All in all we are pleased with Garmin, other than the fact that all the instruments are "connected" and one fault crashes everything (a design issue).
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Old 02-08-2016, 20:01   #9
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Re: Autopilot RayMarine vs Garmin

We purchased our Helia #14 in 2013 from the factory and elected to have Raymarine systems fitted and this was done after delivery from factory to the commission agent Uchimata and they supplied and installed. There was no additional cost between the Garmin options or Raymarine. We have been operating these items now having sailed two six month seasons in the Med, crossed the Atlantic and through the Caribbean,BVI's Bahamas and north to the Chessapeak Bay. There have been no problems and the A/P has behaved as it should.
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Old 29-08-2016, 11:32   #10
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Re: Autopilot RayMarine vs Garmin

I've been using the FP Helia with Raymarine Autopilot. Works very well. Caution though that the wheel does not lock and it is very easy to strip the steering gear if you are not careful. Can't manually steer when it Auto Pilot (of course). It took about 3 days to replace steering cables and hub. Equipment came from Seastar Solutions, and was shipped quickly, but not easy to find part #

Surprise that FP does not have an official parts manual for each boat.
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Old 29-08-2016, 17:35   #11
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Re: Autopilot RayMarine vs Garmin

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Originally Posted by rforman View Post
I've been using the FP Helia with Raymarine Autopilot. Works very well. Caution though that the wheel does not lock and it is very easy to strip the steering gear if you are not careful. Can't manually steer when it Auto Pilot (of course). It took about 3 days to replace steering cables and hub. Equipment came from Seastar Solutions, and was shipped quickly, but not easy to find part #

Surprise that FP does not have an official parts manual for each boat.
FP has stopped using this system the new boats have a hydraulic steering system. It is a huge improvement.
Jay
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Old 01-09-2016, 14:25   #12
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Re: Autopilot RayMarine vs Garmin

We picked up our Helia in May this year. We had problems with the Garmin autopilot however all have been fixed under warranty.

Our Garmin nav instruments were all installed by a local contractor called Pochon (hired by FP). The folks at Pochon are great, and the physical install quality is great, but the software setup had issues.

Our Garmin autopilot initially sailed fine, but we never really put it to the test until after leaving La Rochelle. Even in 30kt winds, the bay by LR doesnt see seas more than a few feet seas. A walk in the park for any auto pilot with a balanced set of sails. Once in Biscay, the high winds and high seas completely overwhelmed the autopilot and she did indeed sail like a drunken sailor. We spent hours on end at the wheel to get her across Biscay and further south. She could not hold a heading and had constant "drive unit overload" errors which would kick her into standby when you least expected it.

I reached out to FP, who immediately contacted Pochon, who helped us troubleshoot en route. We were able to adjust rudder gains to improve performance, but we kept having "drive unit overload" errors that kicked her into standby. Essentially higher rudder gains were demanding more power which was limited by software setting that we couldn't resolve (or figure out how via phone with a language barrier). we sailed for another 1000nm with issues only in moderate to heavy seas, when power demand was high. Pochon then hired a local Garmin tech in Barcelona (our next long stop) to further diagnose the issue. His fix was to update the Garmin software and re-calibrate both on the dock and at sea. There's also a setting which you can adjust for max power consumption allowed by the drive unit which fixed the "overload" problem. Anyway, root cause was improper software setup in LR. It's still not clear to me whether FP or Pochon was responsible for the on the water calibration and software setup.

Since then our autopilot has been extremely reliable. Worst we've seen since was in a levanter with 35kts and 3-4m seas and the Garmin autopilot did great.

Anyway, I'm happy with the Garmin nav instruments and autopilot. I've been pleased with all parties involved to remedy warranty work at no cost to me. The autopilot mess was a PITA, but I learned an awful lot about the garmin system and software that otherwise would have taken years to figure out.
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