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Old 02-06-2015, 06:56   #1
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Electronics refit on Irwin 43

Closed the sale on our "new" to us 1987 Irwin 43 and now it's time to outfit her with updated electronics. She's currently outfitted with only a vhf and older Garmin chart plotter.

I believe I'll design the system from the "autopilot up", ie - select the AP first and then select best electronic nav components to interface with it.

She displaces 26,000 and we plan to sail her offshore quite a bit. I lean more towards an AP that's physically robust and reliable rather than just the latest gee whiz technology (not that gee whiz doesn't have its place...).

I'd appreciate opinions regarding the following brands and their appropriate linear drive models - Garmin, Raymarine, Simrad, B&G and ComNav.

Thanks
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Old 02-06-2015, 07:36   #2
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Re: Electronics refit on Irwin 43

Garmin is new to the AP market and not a lot of long term use reports yet.

Raymarine seems to have some that love them, some that hate them. Think it very much depends on the model as well.

B&G and Simrad both get high marks and can be part of an integrated package.

Many (most?) of the autopilots use drives made by other companies so don't let the drive limit your choice of the system. Most APs also allow different drive options for the same head units. You can pick the linear drive you like for your boat as long as the head unit has enough power to drive it.
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Old 02-06-2015, 08:23   #3
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Re: Electronics refit on Irwin 43

I redid the electronics with a RTW in mind.

We kept the Ray 7000 (electric) and added a Ray ACP 400 (hydraulic)

We also chose a Ray a98 at helm and a smaller a75 at nav station. Radar is a 12 KW SHD unit and viewable at both stations. Ray i70 instruments displays including AIS A & B. Sidescan sonar too. Expensive but we'll be on the boat for 5-7 years. Sea trials soon.
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Old 02-06-2015, 08:29   #4
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Re: Electronics refit on Irwin 43

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Originally Posted by malyea View Post
...I believe I'll design the system from the "autopilot up", ie - select the AP first and then select best electronic nav components to interface with it...
I wouldn't interface anything with the a/p.
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Old 02-06-2015, 09:21   #5
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Re: Electronics refit on Irwin 43

The interface to the AP should be one of the easier things to do since the communication sentences (probably via NMEA 2000 but could be 0183 unless you go all Raymarine with Seatalk). You will want a very heavy duty drive for a 26,000# boat though, but as noted all the biggies will hookup to a hydraulic pump, which is what I would recommend.

I am leaning towards Simrad for an AP but B&G is on the short list. Raymarine is one of the harder makes to integrate across devices so would go all RM or none. No info on the Garmin APs at all.

One of the new issues to deal with is whether the new vessel heading/attitude sensor/feedback units are what you want - supposed to be much better for sailboats - but I have yet to hear from someone I know who has used one. Definitely more money.
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Old 02-06-2015, 09:52   #6
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Re: Electronics refit on Irwin 43

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I wouldn't interface anything with the a/p.
What's your logic plz?
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Old 02-06-2015, 09:59   #7
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Re: Electronics refit on Irwin 43

I want the autopilot to go where I tell it to go, and to always be under my control, not the control of several other possibly faulty black boxes.
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Old 02-06-2015, 10:07   #8
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Re: Electronics refit on Irwin 43

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Originally Posted by Terra Nova View Post
I want the autopilot to go where I tell it to go, and to always be under my control, not the control of several other possibly faulty black boxes.

+100%.............. its not like you are setting waypoints as one would on a power boat (many AP are really designed for Power Boats), you have to reset the sails so if you make a course change disengage AP, reset sails reset AP, especially if as you say you will be offshore.........
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Old 02-06-2015, 10:41   #9
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Re: Electronics refit on Irwin 43

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I want the autopilot to go where I tell it to go, and to always be under my control, not the control of several other possibly faulty black boxes.

I don't disagree with that. One reason why I have never spent the extra bucks for a wind sensor for any AP. 99% of the time I want my boat to follow a course, not the wind. If I need to I can trim the sails to match the wind direction changes.

On the other hand, I see no down side to integrating the AP with the plotter and GPS. It still only takes you where you tell it too, just allows more options like setting waypoints, and setting a destination point that will allow the AP to adjust the course to compensate for leeway, drift, etc.

So it could be cool (and safe) to integrate the AP but still I wouldn't spend a whole lot of money or time doing it. Never found it that much work to adjust the AP course as needed.
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Old 02-06-2015, 11:09   #10
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Re: Electronics refit on Irwin 43

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...It still only takes you where you tell it too, just allows more options like setting waypoints, and setting a destination point that will allow the AP to adjust the course to compensate for leeway, drift, etc...
That is where you have lost control of your vessel.
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Old 02-06-2015, 13:07   #11
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Re: Electronics refit on Irwin 43

Yes, you have lost control of your vessel. Just like if you were using a windvane that followed the wind around.

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Old 02-06-2015, 13:27   #12
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Re: Electronics refit on Irwin 43

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Originally Posted by Terra Nova View Post
That is where you have lost control of your vessel.
I would not call this a loss of control at all. This is not like setting the AP to follow wind shifts. Setting the AP to go to a waypoint is absolutely control, just on a different level. The boat is going where I, the captain directed it, not in some random direction determined by wind or any other outside force.

The only difference between setting the AP to a waypoint instead of a magnetic bearing is the electronics are compensating for drift leeway or other effects that cause a difference between the boat's heading and the course made good.

If you want to put it in terms of control then one might say the boat is more out of control when the AP is set to a magnetic heading since it may not be going where you pointed it due to the to these effects.
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Old 02-06-2015, 13:43   #13
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Re: Electronics refit on Irwin 43

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Yes, you have lost control of your vessel. Just like if you were using a windvane that followed the wind around.

Mark
This is the first time I can recall that I didn't completely agree with you. Would like to hear why you think setting AP to a waypoint instead of a magnetic course sis losing control.

Nothing at all like setting a course to a wind vane. Setting a course to a waypoint I would consider giving the captain more control.

Of course I can think of a situation where the AP might alter course to compensate for a current drift and put you into danger but that would be a matter of selecting the proper waypoint to take that into consideration. No different than setting a compass course and taking into account leeway that might put the boat into danger.
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Old 02-06-2015, 14:32   #14
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Re: Electronics refit on Irwin 43

How about AP interface that allows captain to select either steering to a) mag crs or b) waypoint or ) specified wind angle like a wind vane? Haven't yet compared AP models ... Are there any that allow all three selectable steering options?
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Old 02-06-2015, 15:09   #15
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Re: Electronics refit on Irwin 43

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Originally Posted by malyea View Post
How about AP interface that allows captain to select either steering to a) mag crs or b) waypoint or ) specified wind angle like a wind vane? Haven't yet compared AP models ... Are there any that allow all three selectable steering options?
I have a seven year old Raymarine wheel pilot that works like that. So I would expect every manufacturer to be able to do that by now.

That said, I just went thru an electronics upgrade. Kept the Raymarine AP, and the SeaTalk ST60 wind and depth/speed. Went with B&G Zeus2 touch screen chartplotter because I liked the SailSteer function. It will control a B&G autopilot as well, but I kept the Raymarine because it still works. I went with a Vesper XB8000 AIS transceiver, the B&G broadband 4G radar, and a new Icom VHF (my old one was so old that it didn't have DSC). The chartplotter shows the AIS targets, you can tap on it and a menu comes up with all of the specifics. If I had gone with a B&G VHF, there is a call button at the bottom that places a direct DSC call to the target. (Although B&G told me the Icom would work before I purchased it, it doesn't. Pisser)

My advice is read the manuals for the equipment, and confirm the different stuff can interface. The B&G can get all of the data from the other instruments, the Icom VHF gets the Vesper AIS data on its screen as well. Haven't confirmed that the autopilot can still steer to the waypoint, but that is of secondary importance now. Raymarine says the STng to ST converter will provide that data in usable form to the AP, but haven't been able to test yet.
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