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Old 01-11-2015, 12:27   #16
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Boat: Beneteau 311. 32 ft
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Re: First boat - a beneteau 311?

I replaced my Raymarine Mk 1 which had broken and no spares with a Mk 2 a couple of years ago. Been working fine ever since although I only use it when motoring. I would have thought installing a linear drive could be expensive?
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Old 01-11-2015, 12:55   #17
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Re: First boat - a beneteau 311?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Phil_Lawes View Post
I am interested in fitting an autopilot to the 311 but am concerned about the reliability of wheelpilots. Has anyone fitted a mechanical (linear) drive to a twin rudder 311?

Which wheelpilots have been reliable and robust enough for the job please?
I have a Beneteau 323 that has similar (Figaro) hull shape and sail plan as the 311. The Raymarine wheel pilot has worked great for me. charterers have managed to break some parts twice but only because the one rule with wheel pilots: Disengage the wheel drive with thehandle before grabbing the wheel to steer manually. This is because pressing "Standby" does not activate a clutch as in a proper autopilot.
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Old 01-11-2015, 12:58   #18
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Re: First boat - a beneteau 311?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Phil_Lawes View Post
I am interested in fitting an autopilot to the 311 but am concerned about the reliability of wheelpilots. Has anyone fitted a mechanical (linear) drive to a twin rudder 311?

Which wheelpilots have been reliable and robust enough for the job please?
I have the drawings for teh upgrade to install a linear drive in the single rudder version. I suggets you ask Beneteau (in particular their USA branch); they are very helpful in sharing documents like that.
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Old 01-11-2015, 13:47   #19
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Re: First boat - a beneteau 311?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brighteyes View Post
I replaced my Raymarine Mk 1 which had broken and no spares with a Mk 2 a couple of years ago. Been working fine ever since although I only use it when motoring. I would have thought installing a linear drive could be expensive?
I am looking into it and the cost will be over twice the cost of a wheel pilot. But I want a solution that can cope with sailing, not just motoring and rough weather too!
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Old 01-11-2015, 13:52   #20
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Re: First boat - a beneteau 311?

The main reason I don't use it for sailing is the load on the battery. No problem with rough weather as long as you're not running down sea, relying on the auto pilot then would be hazardous.
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Old 01-11-2015, 13:54   #21
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Re: First boat - a beneteau 311?

Quote:
Originally Posted by svlamorocha View Post
I have a Beneteau 323 that has similar (Figaro) hull shape and sail plan as the 311. The Raymarine wheel pilot has worked great for me. charterers have managed to break some parts twice but only because the one rule with wheel pilots: Disengage the wheel drive with thehandle before grabbing the wheel to steer manually. This is because pressing "Standby" does not activate a clutch as in a proper autopilot.
Does the wheel pilot perform while sailing in rough weather (moderate to rough sea state/fresh to strong breeze)? I know that normally you would manually helm in rough weather but if short handed a robust drive may be really helpful.
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Old 01-11-2015, 14:01   #22
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Re: First boat - a beneteau 311?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brighteyes View Post
The main reason I don't use it for sailing is the load on the battery. No problem with rough weather as long as you're not running down sea, relying on the auto pilot then would be hazardous.
Is the load on the battery a known issue on autopilots in general? Thanks for this tip!
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Old 01-11-2015, 14:02   #23
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Re: First boat - a beneteau 311?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Phil_Lawes View Post
Does the wheel pilot perform while sailing in rough weather (moderate to rough sea state/fresh to strong breeze)? I know that normally you would manually helm in rough weather but if short handed a robust drive may be really helpful.
My 323 is in the Caribbean; the MkII wheel drive works absolutely fine in 30-60-mile passages passages between islands like St Martin-Tortola, Tortola-St Croix, St Croix-Culebra, etc.

The only thing I have not tried is sailing upwind under autopilot because I do not have wind instruments to stick to desired apparent wind angle. After all, someone said that gentlemen do not sail upwind.

From a close reach to almost dead downwind it works absolutely fine.
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Old 01-11-2015, 14:02   #24
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Re: First boat - a beneteau 311?

From personal experience it works fine under engine in mod/rough sea up to top end of F5/lower end of 6 but I wouldn't trust any auto pilot when it's a rough sea from astern, you need to be on the wheel then.
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Old 01-11-2015, 14:05   #25
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Re: First boat - a beneteau 311?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Phil_Lawes View Post
Is the load on the battery a known issue on autopilots in general? Thanks for this tip!
In my boat the average draw (as in Ah accummulated over an hour, to average the infrequent peaks in current) of the MkII autopilot is smaller than the fridge or the chart plotter. Of course, in order to achieve that I have to choose settings that will not make it too too "pedantic". Otherwise the thing will fight the swell back and forth and draw unnecessary current.
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Old 01-11-2015, 14:11   #26
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Re: First boat - a beneteau 311?

Less than 2 amps as far as I can remember to operate but it's an intermittent load and operation depends on the response setting. As slavamorcha says the fridge is a killer. Besides the auto pilot is a bit squeaky and detracts from the sailing experience.
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Old 01-11-2015, 14:17   #27
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Re: First boat - a beneteau 311?

Thanks for all your comments. The cost of fitting a linear drive may be prohibitive and problematic with the twin rudder version of the 311.

I have had some negative feedback on wheel pilots, e.g. they need cleaning regularly and are noisy? The drive band seems a point of weakness but they should be 'fit for the purpose'.
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Old 01-11-2015, 14:56   #28
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Re: First boat - a beneteau 311?

Clean mine a couple of times a year, very easy. Current drive band has been on for two years, plenty of spares available. Certainly an annoying squeaking in use. Fit for use - sure, just did a 200 mile trip with it in almost constant use and 2 years over all hassle free.
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Old 01-11-2015, 20:38   #29
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Re: First boat - a beneteau 311?

Can anyone explain how the rudder sensors were installed on 311 (single rudder) for the wheel pilot controller? My Raymarine vendor claimed it was impossible as there is no room on the quadrant (above the deck), and the rudder shaft is enclosed and not accessible below deck. Thanks.
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Old 02-11-2015, 01:58   #30
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Re: First boat - a beneteau 311?

Rudder sensor? There aren't any on my installation. Deviation from the desired course is sensed by a flux gate compass and feedback provided to the drive motor. In my installation the flux gate compass is mounted in the port aft cabin locker.
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