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Old 15-09-2014, 13:04   #16
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Re: Autopilot

I put an simrad wheel pilot on my former boat. It worked well for 7 years, but when it gave up the ghost, there were no replacement parts available -- so I tore it out and put a new Raymarine - I think it was X-5. Worked fine for a couple of years and then I sold the boat. The new owner told me it stopped working after a month and he was still trying to figure out why.

My new boat has redundant below deck autopilots -- a B&G and a Raymarine. The motor on the hydraulic pump for the B&G failed after about 8 years and 45,000nm -- it needed new bushings. One of the hoses ruptured on the Raymarine where it was zip-tied and so I proactively replaced all the other hoses too. The universal joint which attaches the ram to the quadrant came unbolted and needed to be replaced. Other than that, they work well and don't need to be babied.

I remember a conversation with a delivery captain. He told me that he used to ask about whether the boat had a liferaft. Now he doesn't ask about that, just about the autopilot. I agree with him -- an autopilot shouldn't be considered optional on a long journey and having redundancy is desirable. I've done long trips hand-steering and I find it much more tiring. Also, the autopilot frees up more hands for repairs or to deal with other issues. As for the below-deck vs. wheel pilot, I've found that both work, but that the below-deck is more reliable and lasts longer. I would consider a wheel pilot for a backup if there were another a/p on board.
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Old 15-09-2014, 13:05   #17
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Re: Autopilot

The CPT has a new redesigned fluxgate compass and steering software. Up until last year they were not able to tack or make small course changes by the push of a button but that has all changed. We never even had to drill a hole to install ours as its all held in place by rubber backed clamps. We do have a large electric hydraulic below decks autopilot and the CPT was purchased strictly as a backup but the damn thing steers our 42 foot boat so well and only sips battery power that we tend to use it more than the below decks. There is also another reason our big autopilot is on the noisy side but you can't hear the CPT so its wonderful at night if you are sleeping in the aft bunk right next to the rudder quadrant. We are really impressed by CPT's newest version and really can't say enough good things about their product.
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Old 15-09-2014, 13:22   #18
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Re: Autopilot

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Originally Posted by robert sailor View Post
The CPT has a new redesigned fluxgate compass and steering software. Up until last year they were not able to tack or make small course changes by the push of a button but that has all changed. We never even had to drill a hole to install ours as its all held in place by rubber backed clamps. We do have a large electric hydraulic below decks autopilot and the CPT was purchased strictly as a backup but the damn thing steers our 42 foot boat so well and only sips battery power that we tend to use it more than the below decks.
Our CSY 44 friend also has a below decks but prefers his CPT. And yes, I lust after the new CPT but haven't figured out a way to slip it past my wife. Not much chance of the old one breaking down in the next twenty years or so.
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Old 16-09-2014, 09:02   #19
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Re: Autopilot

What about a wind vane? We use it most of the time also during coastal passages. No electricity needed and definitely enough power to steer.
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Old 16-09-2014, 09:19   #20
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Re: Autopilot

Have you checked the island packet factory site. Lots of owners and many with your boat. No need to reinvent the wheel so to speak.
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Old 16-09-2014, 09:43   #21
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Re: Autopilot

I think with everything I have on the stern and with what is coming a wind vane is not really an option.
I have not checked the Island Packet site yet. I'm still struggling with this, I like the simplicity of a wheel pilot, beginning to think that a CPT may be a logical back up to a "real" autopilot once we actually begin cruising, but I can afford a CPT now.
I really don't have a real need, just having to hand steer for eight hours or so is a bear, and for my rare trip of 72 hours or so it's borderline torture, I would say an Engineer designed the helm of an IP, not a sailor. It sort of forces me into a little bit of a hunched over position and that kills my back.
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Old 16-09-2014, 10:15   #22
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Re: Autopilot

Is there enough room to install a larger wheel?
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Old 16-09-2014, 10:22   #23
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Re: Autopilot

37--excellent suggestion. Though an a/p is essential, make your helm comfortable. If there's room, a bigger wheel would add needed height as well as reduce steering effort.
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Old 16-09-2014, 10:46   #24
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Re: Autopilot

i can't imagine why anyone would NOT install an autopilot under the deck. one splash of salt water and the wheel pilot would probably be done.
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Old 16-09-2014, 11:38   #25
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Re: Autopilot

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i can't imagine why anyone would NOT install an autopilot under the deck. one splash of salt water and the wheel pilot would probably be done.
I will refer this to a FAQ on the company's website.

Is the CPT waterproof?
Cockpit autopilots are more exposed to the elements than their underdeck counterparts, so we have built the CPT for immersion.

The control box and drive box are designed and built to withstand immersion. We prefer to call the CPT truly water resistant, as the term “waterproof” is often misunderstood. Storing the unit improperly for long periods in standing water or flooded conditions can eventually exceed the rating of the watertight seals.
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Old 16-09-2014, 11:51   #26
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Re: Autopilot

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Is there enough room to install a larger wheel?
No, but it would be nice though, as it is there is very little clearance between the wheel bottom and the cockpit sole, a bigger wheel would allow me to sit straight up and be more comfortable when standing. Steering effort as long as the sails are balanced is quite light, even with the little wheel, there is a significant portion of the rudder ahead of the hinge point, making of course for the light steering effort.
Being that the wheel force is so light, and because of the small wheel, the 90 ft lbs of torque that the CPT can exert is honestly I believe more than I would want input into the steering gear anyway.
The bigger your wheel, the more torque you exert with the same effort, but seeing as how the large sprocket on the CPT is the same size regardless of wheel size, it can impart significantly more torque to the steering gear on a small wheeled boat, when compared to the same manual effort of the helmsman on a larger wheel
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Old 16-09-2014, 11:55   #27
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Re: Autopilot

How about a spacer under the binnacle?
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Old 16-09-2014, 13:02   #28
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Re: Autopilot

This isn't my boat, but it is the same design
http://photos.mostsailboats.org/1991...-35_4847_4.jpg

What you sit on is a box with a steering sector in it, it's a rack mounted directly to the rudder shaft. The pinion shaft extends past the rack and is keyed, the best most efficient way to drive the pinion shaft directly with a sprocket and chain and a rotary drive, but that's really exactly what a wheel pilot is, just your driving the other end of the shaft with a chain and sprocket as opposed to a belt and sprocket.
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Old 16-09-2014, 13:09   #29
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Re: Autopilot

For comfort, the top of the wheel could have been at least 1' higher. An unfortunate arrangement. However it's easy to see how you gravitated towards a wheel pilot.
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Old 16-09-2014, 13:21   #30
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Re: Autopilot

I've considered cutting a slot in the sole and glassing in a sort of tray that a bigger wheel could extend into, course my luck I'd drop a screwdriver into the slot when docking jamming the wheel. If it can happen , it happens to me
From a mechanical engineering standpoint it's real hard to beat a rack and pinion system, strong and simple with no play, but the ergonomics leave something to be desired, it's really the only thing I don't like about the boat
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