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Old 18-04-2019, 23:42   #1
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TillerPilot on Double Ender

Recently I purchased a 1978 34 foot True North, a full keel cutter-rigged double-ender (canoe stern). This is a very heavy boat with a stern hung rudder. It came with a Simrad TP32 TillerPilot that was not set up well. The TillerPilot manual specifies that the pin be located on the tiller 18” from he rudder post. The problem is that with such a narrow stern this distance is essentially impossible.

Has anyone else confronted this problem? To secure the tillerpilot inboard I would need to locate the tillerpin at 42” from the rudder post. The result of doing this would be that when the tillerpilot is adjusting the course, the result would be a much smaller movement of the tiller (a smaller angle of course adjustment than if it it were closer to the rudder post). My thought is that this increase beyond the specified distance in the tillerpilot setup specifications might be at least partially compensated for by adjusting the gain or “seastate” as described in the Simrad TillerPilot manual. But I don't know if such a large change could be compensated for in this way or is practical.

I would like to hear from sailors who have had to deal with the issue of setting up a tiller pilot on a double-ender. Thanks in advance for any practical suggestion you might have!
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Old 19-04-2019, 03:28   #2
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Re: TillerPilot on Double Ender

Tiller pilots sucks , at least you have a simrad and not a raymarine......
That being said the best setup I have seen in double ender is by adding a trimtab on the rudder and connect the autopilot to the trimtab , I do the same on my boat , huge performance difference and lower consumption.
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Old 19-04-2019, 04:20   #3
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pirate Re: TillerPilot on Double Ender

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Tiller pilots sucks , at least you have a simrad and not a raymarine......
That being said the best setup I have seen in double ender is by adding a trimtab on the rudder and connect the autopilot to the trimtab , I do the same on my boat , huge performance difference and lower consumption.
Funny.. My preference is the Raymarine.. Simrad has not made me a happy chappy in the past.. niether wheel or tiller pilots..
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Old 19-04-2019, 05:03   #4
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Re: TillerPilot on Double Ender

Then maybe both suck , I am very displeased with raymatine have test until now
St1000
St2000
St4000
Ev100 (tiller arm broke 2 time )
None of them are made with thinking the needs of the sailor .
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Old 19-04-2019, 05:28   #5
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pirate Re: TillerPilot on Double Ender

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Then maybe both suck , I am very displeased with raymatine have test until now
St1000
St2000
St4000
Ev100 (tiller arm broke 2 time )
None of them are made with thinking the needs of the sailor .
Never had one break.. one suffered water intrusion on a delivery but other than that they have served me well.
Simrad WP's let me down twice on a transat..
Turned back to NC and sent it back and was mailed a new replacement.. failed me again short of Bermuda.. this time I opted to continue hand steering to the UK..
Likely still be ping ponging back and forth today if not.
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Old 19-04-2019, 05:31   #6
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Re: TillerPilot on Double Ender

Then I am sorry to see that both are bad choices....
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Old 19-04-2019, 05:42   #7
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Re: TillerPilot on Double Ender

I have TP32 on my westsail 32, not sure how far in front of rudder post but at least 36"..
No issues works great

True North 34.....nice boat!
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Old 19-04-2019, 06:50   #8
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Re: TillerPilot on Double Ender

Yours is a close sister-ship to my Rafiki 37 NWSail. Both designed by Stan Huntingford. My main self-steerer is an wind vane">Aries wind vane, but I installed a Raymarine SPX-5GP, which was the largest/strongest tiller pilot I could find back then.

Although this too is severely undersized for my boat (and yours), it has performed nearly perfectly so far. I tend to use it in light airs or when we’re motoring, although it has been called into service a couple of times in very challenging winds and seas. So far, it has never let me down.

I have since learned about the Pelagic tiller pilots. If/when I replace the raymarine I will likely go with Pelagic.

https://pelagicautopilot.com

To get back to your question, I forget how far off I had to locate the pin, but it wasn’t to Raymarine specs. This does indeed reduce the swing room of the arm. To compensate I use a rod extension, although this is only a partial remedy.

I haven’t found the reduction of arm swing to be very serious. On occasion I’ve hit the limit, but obviously most of the time the corrects required are small, so it does fine.
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Old 19-04-2019, 08:15   #9
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Re: TillerPilot on Double Ender

I installed a Monitor wind vain pilot on my 40ft mono with a tiller and it works wonderful, matter fact it steers better then me.
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Old 19-04-2019, 08:30   #10
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Re: TillerPilot on Double Ender

I've sailed to Hawaii twice with tiller pilots, although on much lighter, more easily steered boats. While they have not had great reliability, when they work, I've found them to be efficient and accurate.

The issue is that we're expecting a motor the size of a large pill bottle to steer a boat in all conditions and to not draw any power. On a 2000# boat, that's possible, but not on a 20,000# boat.

I think the tiller mounting distance is a compromise, and there's nothing that requires the tiller pilot to be mounted exactly at 18". This distance is a balance between the leverage that you can exert with a small amount of thrust (perhaps 100# of linear push) vs. the effort required to steer your boat vs. the amount of rudder travel or swing that you require. I recall that my tiller pilots (both Autohelm and Tillermaster) had about 10" of total travel. That means that hardover (acc'd to the pilot) was only 5" off center, or what I think is about 15 degrees of deflection (check my math: arc tan of 5/18?).

So, if you move the tiller pilot away from the rudder post, you get slower, more powerful steering with less maximum deflection. If you move it towards the rudder post, you get faster, less powerful steering with more maximum deflection. I say slower and faster since the speed of pushing and pulling in a constant, so the distance along the tiller controls the rudder deflection speed.

Changing the rudder rate is not the answer, although you should adjust it for your boat. This changes how far the tiller pilot moves the tiller for a given deviation off-course. It cannot make up for a dramatically different mounting location for the tiller pilot "pin".

Here's what I would suggest: is there any way to create a mounting point for the tiller pilot that is further athwartships than wherever it is that you're considering? Can built a little pedestal or platform to have it farther to one side? This might allow you to stay closer to the 18" measurement.

Cheers,

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Old 19-04-2019, 11:49   #11
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Re: TillerPilot on Double Ender

Make a ss bracket that hangs outboard of the curve of the deck 18-24 inches from the rudder head.
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Old 19-04-2019, 14:52   #12
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Re: TillerPilot on Double Ender

That unit is just way too weak for reliable service on your boat, unless you use it linked to a windvane system. The Pelagic tillerpilot is much more powerful and robust.
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Old 19-04-2019, 15:30   #13
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Re: TillerPilot on Double Ender

Quote:
Originally Posted by gmakhs View Post
Then maybe both suck , I am very displeased with raymatine have test until now
St1000
St2000
St4000
Ev100 (tiller arm broke 2 time )
None of them are made with thinking the needs of the sailor .
I've been using RayMarine (formerly Autohelm) tiller pilots for over 25 years.

I've worn out a few. Right now I have a RayMarine X5 with a 4000GP drive unit, and a spare drive unit.

Your problems will be two fold:
1. How to mount it. Possibly build it onto a bracket higher than the bulwarks, or outboard, or possibly over the stern behind the rudder and reverse the polarity of the drive wires. I think you can solve this problem if you are creative.
2. The rudder on your boat is not balanced and it will take a lot of force to counteract weather helm. The tiller pilot will struggle and may wear out quickly. I recommend that you use the tiller pilot for motoring only and install a servo type windvane (Monitor) which, by the way, then can allow an alternate method of mounting the tiller pilot. Use the tiller pilot to activate the windvane and steer the boat that way and meanwhile enjoy miles of quiet and reliable wind vane self steering.
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Old 19-04-2019, 17:29   #14
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Re: TillerPilot on Double Ender

Have had both Raymarine and Simrad and they've worked fine though only under power in good conditions on smaller boats. The vane steers when sailing. Some one reported using a Raymarine Tiller Pilot on a Westsail 32. It got them from New England, through the Caribbean and 1/2 way to the Marquesas before it died. Raymarine and I was amazed that it got that far because they simply aren't designed to steer a boat with that heavy a tiller.

If you can work out a jury rig would experiment with how well the pilot will steer the boat in different locations on the tiller. Maybe creative use of Duct Tape and wood blocks would allow you to set up so it will work for at least a few minutes and give you an idea if the position will have enough throw to work. Would expect 24" from rudder stock wouldn't make a big difference but going beyond that only trying it out will tell.
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