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Old 05-05-2015, 10:47   #1
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Advice/ Buying AP-- Vane for Sailing & Electronic Nav. Type for Sailing/ Motoring

Hello All,

For: Islander 37, MS

I have an Auto-Helm 4000 that's seen it's better days. I am refitting the I-37 MS with updated equipment. I have read quite a lot of information in regard to autopilots (AP). I looking for Advice ref. >> What works well in ref. to -- The Two (Vane / Electric) Type's of AP's installed together. I'm looking for Owner's that have them installed on their boat or have operated these units.

My I-37 is around 15,500 + when fully loaded. It has spade type rudder and it's fairly loaded up (takes effort) to steer the boat. The Auto-Helm 4000 AP was labored to steer the I-37 as reported by it's previous owner. He told me that the 2nd drive unit was burnt up. He had replaced two of them since he owned the I-37.

I have read, that a -- Vane Type AP is the Correct/ Best Type AP when Sailing. The Electric Type AP works best when motoring and clam winds conditions.

Also, some Vane AP's will Work with an Electric AP and Switch On & Off as needed for the different Sailing Conditions.

What I Desire (listed as priority 1st) for a Vane & Electronic Installed Together:

1. Reliability, will hold up over time for a sailboat with a heavier effort force rudder. I don't want a AP that fails because it was too light of duty & over worked and fails in a few months time.

2. Compatibility, the Vane & Electronic AP have a built-in/ engineered marriage between them.

3. Vendor Support and a Known Performance Reputation (good stuff).

4. Price VS Quality (you get what you pay for)
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Old 07-05-2015, 08:18   #2
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Re: Advice/ Buying AP-- Vane for Sailing & Electronic Nav. Type for Sailing/ Motoring

It depends on what type of sailing you do. You might try a wind wave,like a Monitor or Hydrovane, and add an actuator so that it can steer to a compass bearing when desired.
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Old 07-05-2015, 09:03   #3
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Re: Advice/ Buying AP-- Vane for Sailing & Electronic Nav. Type for Sailing/ Motoring

Getting a mechanical wind vane to work using a cheap tiller pilot, no doubt works on some vane gear but it is going to be a mickey mouse set-up and probably fall apart in the middle of the night. As best as I can tell, a wind vane does not work under power (on our boat anyway.) It seems like you are going to need both or maybe just a good electro/hyd a/p and forget the vane gear.
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Old 07-05-2015, 09:27   #4
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Re: Advice/ Buying AP-- Vane for Sailing & Electronic Nav. Type for Sailing/ Motoring

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Originally Posted by Guy View Post
Getting a mechanical wind vane to work using a cheap tiller pilot, no doubt works on some vane gear but it is going to be a mickey mouse set-up and probably fall apart in the middle of the night. As best as I can tell, a wind vane does not work under power (on our boat anyway.) It seems like you are going to need both or maybe just a good electro/hyd a/p and forget the vane gear.
Nope to all the above.

Read this:

PelagicAutopilot | Sailing Autopilot Technologies

Again, it depends on what type of sailing you do.
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Old 07-05-2015, 09:32   #5
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Re: Advice/ Buying AP-- Vane for Sailing & Electronic Nav. Type for Sailing/ Motoring

Quote:
Originally Posted by Guy View Post
Getting a mechanical wind vane to work using a cheap tiller pilot, no doubt works on some vane gear but it is going to be a mickey mouse set-up and probably fall apart in the middle of the night. As best as I can tell, a wind vane does not work under power (on our boat anyway.) It seems like you are going to need both or maybe just a good electro/hyd a/p and forget the vane gear.

Yup! Vanes are great for ocean crossings. But the average person you talk to that has both a vane and below deck AP, uses the AP 90% of the time. AP are so much easier to use... just a click of a button. Need to alter course? Just tap +or - a few times. The vanes just sits on the transom with rudder up and weathervane down below deck collecting dust.

Those with only wind vane end-up steering at the helm an awful lot for coastal or close island hops.

Funny how often I see someone working on a windvane At least with an autopilot you're below deck and out of view while you fix it We have had 0 issues with our Raymarine over thousands of miles while friends with Capehorn, Windpilot and Monitor have had issues to fix.

Matt
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Old 07-05-2015, 10:09   #6
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I am a big fan of the CPT autopilot. I haven't crossed an ocean with it, but I have sailed all day in 20 knots of wind and it did better than I could do! Also, it is a HUGE help when I am tacking. Just push the tack button and she goes over to whatever I set the tack angle at.

Ben
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Old 07-05-2015, 10:27   #7
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Re: Advice/ Buying AP-- Vane for Sailing & Electronic Nav. Type for Sailing/ Motoring

Unless your planning off shore crusing and/or on a long distance tack, its a bother to use,tried it several times intercoastal for practice with land in sight between tacks, came to that conclusion fairly quick. I have the Cape Horn wind vane steering, Used it once while off the coast on a distance run of 4 hours in 20+ knt wind just to try it and save the AP motor from working overtime. I do use the AP in rough conditions and it has worked flawlessly, sounds like yours is on the way out.
but hey, if you can afford both, get both!!!
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Old 07-05-2015, 10:30   #8
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Re: Advice/ Buying AP-- Vane for Sailing & Electronic Nav. Type for Sailing/ Motoring

What are your plans? I've had 4 windvanes over the years. 3 were Monitors. I used them very little. Prefer a good AP by far. But if you are crossing the pacific, etc then maybe a vane is for you.
If not, get a good quality AP. I'm not sure why you have a heavy helm with a spade rudder....? Are you sure your bearings are ok?
There are a lot of choices in AP's, it depends mostly on how integrated you want to be with your other instruments. I had old school Alpha 3000 AP's mostly on monos to 47 ft and cat to 42 ft....and they will steer most anything well.
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Old 07-05-2015, 10:31   #9
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Re: Advice/ Buying AP-- Vane for Sailing & Electronic Nav. Type for Sailing/ Motoring

Quote:
Originally Posted by The Smokester View Post
Nope to all the above.

Read this:

PelagicAutopilot | Sailing Autopilot Technologies

Again, it depends on what type of sailing you do.
Very nice. Much better than a Raymarine tillerpilot adapted somehow. This does not change at all, motoring with a wind vane. I cringe when I see prop wash hitting the water rudder. Unless it's made to stay in the water all the time, a wind vane rudder should not be subjected to prop wash. Way to much wear and tear. On our boat the turbulence also causes the gear not to steer very well.
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Old 07-05-2015, 12:19   #10
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Re: Advice/ Buying AP-- Vane for Sailing & Electronic Nav. Type for Sailing/ Motoring

Thanks All for the Input,

The Pelagic AP looks pretty good and has the interface I want between with a Hyd./ Electric AP system. I just sent Pelagic a email inquiry and waiting for them to respond.

Just to clarify, the AP System I want is for a long ocean passage. I need reliability 1st with either one of the AP systems becoming the No# 1 Sys; if the other AP fails, and for short handed sailing, perhaps solo.

Avery
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Old 07-05-2015, 19:20   #11
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Re: Advice/ Buying AP-- Vane for Sailing & Electronic Nav. Type for Sailing/ Motoring

Quote:
Originally Posted by HighFly_27 View Post
Thanks All for the Input,

The Pelagic AP looks pretty good and has the interface I want between with a Hyd./ Electric AP system. I just sent Pelagic a email inquiry and waiting for them to respond.

Just to clarify, the AP System I want is for a long ocean passage. I need reliability 1st with either one of the AP systems becoming the No# 1 Sys; if the other AP fails, and for short handed sailing, perhaps solo.

Avery
Gr8. It is pretty sophisticated with magnetic and inertial guidance and a wireless remote (which I seem to have misplaced ). It has a tacking function.

One of the reasons I use it is to save electrical power on trips over a few hours. The monitor alone uses none, of course. Even using the Pelagic system combined with the wind vane uses less than 100 mA. It's also completely quiet which is way big on my list.

I agree with the comments that prop wash vibrates the paddle under power (probably not good for long) and that for close quarters maneuvering a push button auto pilot is better, especially under power. That's why I have a below-decks hydraulic system. However, even on San Francisco Bay I tend to use the Monitor most of the time, transferring back and forth between it and the autopilot. Once outside the Golden Gate, though, it's the Monitor all the way.

I'm surprised at the comments on windvane maintenance...There exist windvanes that have circumnavigated multiple times.

Again, it depends on the boat, the course and the use (racing versus passage making versus long-distance cruising) as to what is most effective.
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Old 07-05-2015, 20:05   #12
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Re: Advice/ Buying AP-- Vane for Sailing & Electronic Nav. Type for Sailing/ Motoring

Smokester & All,

You gave me good info. and valuable from an owners prospective. I'm big on what a owner will say... rather that what a vendor may claim about their product.

I'm waiting for a email or call back from Pelagic ref. what they'd spec. out against my I-37 MS and Price.

Thank You,

Avery
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