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Old 15-09-2014, 07:22   #1
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Autopilot

I'm searching for an autopilot for my older Island Packet 38. 25,000 lb displacement, but does have a balanced / spade rudder, or otherwise you wouldn't be man enough to helm it with the little wheel IP puts on these boats.
I'm therefore assuming that my auto pilot torque requirement may not be as much as for someone with a "barn door" rudder that takes a large diameter wheel to helm it?
I have a dock mate that has a Raymarine wheel pilot on his Hunter Passage 42, and he says it works fine. Now I'm guessing that if it works on a Passage 42, why wouldn't it work on my IP 38?
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Old 15-09-2014, 07:36   #2
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Re: Autopilot

Consider the CPT Autopilot. The most powerful wheel pilot made. Designed for large boats. I've used mine for ten years, never failed me, on my csy 37, 20000 lb cutter. And the guy who owns the company, Jeff Swedberg, usually answers the phone when you call. He's an engineer who knows his product and will work with you. Website is

www.cptautopilot.com
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Old 15-09-2014, 07:39   #3
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Re: Autopilot

A wheel pilot didn't work well for my old light weight Cal-39 at 17k displacement unless conditions were pretty calm. A 25k displacement boat needs a below deck AP and it probably needs the bigger unit. APs 90+% of the time don't need all the power, but when it does it is bad conditions where you REALLY need it to work.

If I were you I definitely would get a below deck unit and NOT a wheel drive unit!
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Old 15-09-2014, 08:37   #4
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Re: Autopilot

I also suggest a below deck unit with hydronic ram. You have a serious quality heavy boat. Give it a seriously strong autopilot.


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Old 15-09-2014, 08:50   #5
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Re: Autopilot

I have a 41 Formosa (28,000 lbs bare) Installed a SiTex SP80 below deck AP. So far very satisfied with it. Great customer service. AP talks to SiTex chartplotter.
Was also the best priced unit I found. Bought from Defender.

David
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Old 15-09-2014, 08:53   #6
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Re: Autopilot

Yup, a below-decks a/p.
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Old 15-09-2014, 09:11   #7
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Re: Autopilot

Look at the ComNav 1101. The most dependable I have seen.
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Old 15-09-2014, 09:26   #8
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Re: Autopilot

Couple of things I don't like about a below deck, first is cost, second is I believe they go through a lot of power don't they? Plus I'd rather work on something that is all within easy reach.
The CPT is interesting, looks ancient, doesn't interface with anything, seems simple to work on, no rudder position xducer though? How does it know rudder angle?
Although while I have interfaced autopilots before, seems like most all I did was set a course and adjust that every so often as needed, but I've not done long passages before, is an autopilot interfaced with a GPS that much of a nice thing to have?
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Old 15-09-2014, 09:40   #9
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Re: Autopilot

Quote:
Originally Posted by a64pilot View Post
Although while I have interfaced autopilots before, seems like most all I did was set a course and adjust that every so often as needed, but I've not done long passages before, is an autopilot interfaced with a GPS that much of a nice thing to have?
No this not a very important feature.

However, the reliability of an under deck (as opposed to wheel) autopilot is very important.
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Old 15-09-2014, 09:49   #10
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Re: Autopilot

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Originally Posted by a64pilot View Post
Couple of things I don't like about a below deck, first is cost, second is I believe they go through a lot of power don't they? Plus I'd rather work on something that is all within easy reach.
The CPT is interesting, looks ancient, doesn't interface with anything, seems simple to work on, no rudder position xducer though? How does it know rudder angle?
Although while I have interfaced autopilots before, seems like most all I did was set a course and adjust that every so often as needed, but I've not done long passages before, is an autopilot interfaced with a GPS that much of a nice thing to have?
You can buy a wheel pilot now, and use it as the backup to your below deck AP later after you find out that the wheel pilots just don't have enough strength.

The CPT doesn't know rudder angle, it uses a simpler feedback algorithm. Its a good unit, but the toothed belt jumps under load, and shear pins break under higher loads--you have to nurse it with reduced sails.

All autopilots use power, but even the below decks hydraulic units only average 2-3 amps, and you will come to appreciate their superior reliablity after you have hand-steered for a few days.

On long passages, you can save a lot off power if you just turn your chartplotter off. Interfacing the autopilot to the chartplotter is a BAD thing to have in coastal and Caribbean sailing--as a pilot you should know that everyone tracking within 10 ft of the same waypoints leads to autopilot assisted collisions.
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Old 15-09-2014, 09:58   #11
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Re: Autopilot

If you are going to doing near-shore coastal cruising and can plan to avoid bad weather you might be OK with a wheel pilot. It will probably steer most of the time. If you plan on longer passages where the weather may deteriorate you should get a below decks unit. It will be able to steer all of the time. In the sort of calm conditions where your wheel pilot would work you will find the below deck unit does not use that much more power.
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Old 15-09-2014, 10:00   #12
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Re: Autopilot

[QUOTE=a64pilot;1628427 I believe they go through a lot of power don't they? Plus I'd rather work on something that is all within easy reach.
[/QUOTE]

uses the same power MOST of the time, only uses more where things are bad when you need it, which is when the wheel unit craps our

you don't need to work on it, haven'r touched mine sine I installed it 2 years ago
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Old 15-09-2014, 10:12   #13
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Re: Autopilot

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Originally Posted by onestepcsy37 View Post
Consider the CPT Autopilot. The most powerful wheel pilot made. Designed for large boats. I've used mine for ten years, never failed me, on my csy 37, 20000 lb cutter. And the guy who owns the company, Jeff Swedberg, usually answers the phone when you call. He's an engineer who knows his product and will work with you. Website is

www.cptautopilot.com
It's good to hear that you have had good luck with the CPT. I plan on installing one before we leave again.

I might add, I've heard of many cruisers losing their AP's. They sure cry a lot when that happens (bunch of woosies)! We've cruised 5000 miles with no AP. People can't believe we actually don't mind being on the helm most of the time. The overnighters do become tiring though, so could use a little help from an AP for those times.

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Old 15-09-2014, 10:14   #14
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Re: Autopilot

Another vote for a beefy under-deck model. We opted for the WH. Not the prettiest unit on the shelf, but certainly one of the beefiest. The only time we've had any issues is when I stuffed my PC on the shelf right next to the fluxgate compass. Then I got really upset when the autopilot was a little slower to react than normal.
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Old 15-09-2014, 12:44   #15
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Re: Autopilot

More on the CPT.

We've had it for 10 years. A fellow CSY owner has had his longer, and he's got the 44 footer which weighs around 35000 lbs. We've punched into the gulfstream with wind on the nose going to the Bahamas and we've run dead downwind and current coming back, with our third crewmember, Otto the ottopilot, steering the entire way. No problems.

CPT has an idler pulley that keeps the belt taught. Never had the belt skip off the pulley. In fact, I still use the original belt. There is a pair of safety pins which will disconnect the motor if a hard load is suddenly applied, but thats never happened to me.

Installation is do-it-yourself simple. Line up everything, drill some holes, attach some bolts, hook up two wires. There is no interface to your GPS - I wouldn't want one anyway. There is no rudder position feedback because their computer doesn't require it. There are two controls to adjust deadband (how far you can go off course before making a correction) and rudder (how much rudder to apply to bring you back on course). You set these when you start out and pretty much leave them alone after that, although in truth I love playing with it - what else is there to do when you're not steering?

Go to the website and look it over. You can download the installation manual, the operating manual, and a quick guide in pdf format - free. Or just call Jeff.

www.cptautopilot.com
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