Cruisers Forum
 


Join CruisersForum Today

Reply
 
Thread Tools Rate Thread Display Modes
Old 16-02-2012, 08:14   #1
Registered User

Join Date: May 2011
Location: Mahone Bay NS
Boat: 46 steel pilothouse cutter
Posts: 4
Best Choice for an Autopilot ?

Hello Everyone,

Our 46' Kanter pilothouse cutter ("Ulidia") is equipped with a Fleming windvane system, but not with an electrical autopilot. I would like to install a very robust and reliable system. We plan to do a lot of coastal cruising, stating this spring, on our way from Lunenburg, Nova Scotia, to the Carribean. I mention, in case its relevant, that Ulidia has outside helm with cable steering and an inside helm with hydraulic steering system.

We would very much appreciate any comments or recommendations you may provide.

Thank you. All my best, Mark.
__________________

__________________
Team Ryer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 16-02-2012, 08:29   #2
Registered User

Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: Swansboro, NC
Boat: Looking for that next boat...
Posts: 358
Re: Best choice for an autopilot?

Something you may want to consider doing and that worked very nicely on our Express 37 is to use a tiller pilot connected to your windvane. This combination worked like a champ, especially during light winds or while running downwind as well as the added advantages of low power draw and low(er) cost. If your Fleming does a nice job of steering your boat this could be the perfect solution, it was for us.
__________________

__________________
prof_mariner is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 16-02-2012, 08:43   #3
Registered User
 
sy_gilana's Avatar

Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: On board
Boat: Van de Stadt 50'
Posts: 1,101
Send a message via Skype™ to sy_gilana
Re: Best choice for an autopilot?

HI, I ordered a scanmar Monitor windvane for Gilana back in 1998. Then the "Around Alone" race pulled in to Cape Town, and I had the opportunity to ask some of these sailors their opinion. George Stricker of Rapscallion III summed it up nicely, he asked "Are you going to be crossing oceans 90% of your time at sea?" I answered "Hellno" Then he said go for a autopilot and invest that same money for the windvane into making it really butch.
I ended up buying a RayXXXX system, (raytheon in those days) I put in a 24v type 3 rotary motor, geared 3.5:1 to the existing hydraulic pump that is turned by the wheel via a chain from the binnacle. My Hydraulic steering is 5 turns lock to lock. In real life you only need 10 degrees of rudder deflection to maintain course. We have about 25 degrees.
In the last 13 years we have NEVER had a drivestop error, not even in the liquidmountain seas of the southern ocean, nor running downwind under spinnaker, nor beating in 70+ knots of wind (wind instrument pegged) FRED our autopilot just keeps working. We love him. When we cruise in uncharted waters and meander our way in between coral heads (bommies) I sit on the spreader and drive with a remote control, under engine, with Laura standing by to stop engine or operate reverse propulsion. One more thing...we take the wheel off while Fred drives. The inertia or flywheel effect of A/pilot turning the wheel this way and that absorbs a LOT of power.
__________________
Tight sheets to ya.
http://gilana.org
sy_gilana is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 16-02-2012, 09:09   #4
Registered User
 
sabray's Avatar

Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Wash DC
Boat: PETERSON 44
Posts: 3,169
Re: Best choice for an autopilot?

I think the ray x-30 is better then the older ray pilots. I just installed a garmin ghp 12 on my Peterson. Set up was nice and easy.Interfaced seamlessly with other mixed stuff. Im reusing the ray linear drive and have a octopus linear hydraulic as back up that is a little to short on the throw for everyday use . I plan on changing out to either the garmin hydraulic or octopus with proper throw. Octopus has a in line hydraulic solution that would work nicely with either of the control heads. worth looking into.
__________________
sabray is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 16-02-2012, 09:26   #5
Registered User
 
stevensuf's Avatar

Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Back in Scotland!
Boat: Gib sea 43
Posts: 840
Images: 10
Re: Best Choice for an Autopilot ?

if relying on an autopilot, make sure it is very sturdy!
__________________
http://nicnsteve.blogspot.com/

If the pen is mightier than the sword, then my keyboard must be a nuclear missile!
stevensuf is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 17-02-2012, 04:54   #6
Registered User

Join Date: May 2011
Location: Mahone Bay NS
Boat: 46 steel pilothouse cutter
Posts: 4
Re: Best Choice for an Autopilot ?

Thank you for your replies ... very much appreciated! Mark.
__________________
Team Ryer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 17-02-2012, 06:20   #7
Registered User

Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Cruising the east coast and Bahamas
Boat: Pearson 422
Posts: 228
Re: Best Choice for an Autopilot ?

I'm also in the shopping and comparing stage. Consider looking at WH autopilots. Very impressive with lots of great recommendations. I haven't pulled the trigger yet, but that's mostly because I'm still working down the refit list and haven't gotten to that item yet.
__________________
Greg Long
s/v Paperbird
www.paperbird.us
Paperbird is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 17-02-2012, 07:17   #8
Registered User

Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: PNW
Boat: custom teak ketch 48' Eastwind
Posts: 607
Images: 9
Re: Best Choice for an Autopilot ?

I put a Monitor on the boat and use a Simrad tiller pilot to drive the Monitor when under power or light wind. It works perfect! The tiller pilot barely uses any juice because it has very little load on it. The best part - it's cheap! $400 or so. You can buy half a dozen of them for backup for the price of one Iron Mike.
If you want to go the $$$$ route - go with WH autopilots - indestructable, last forever. Many of them on commercial boats that work 24-7.
I've had several pilots over the years and WH or Wood Freeman are the most reliable. Woodies are the oldest in the biz but I dont think they're at it anymore. WH(Will Ham) is still alive and well doing biz as usuall - you cant beat one of his pilots!
__________________
Geoduck is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 17-02-2012, 07:44   #9
Registered User

Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: W Carib
Boat: Wildcat 35, Hobie 33
Posts: 7,947
Re: Best Choice for an Autopilot ?

Been very pleased with my Raymarine system (6000+). Hydraulic system -- twin rams on a cat. Very low energy usage. Very precise steering (the adaptive software of this system is pretty impressive -- it "learns" as it steers and adapts to present conditions -- you can literally watch it learn when you engage the auto in new conditions -- after a few minutes of learning it keeps course amazingly well). Steers well even in heavy conditions (although I never venture far from helm in such conditions...don't trust it that much!).

Has handy features like integration with the GPS so it can steer to a waypoint (convenient particularly if fighting a contrary current) and "auto tack" with user-definable tacking angle which I use when single-handing. Can be configured to steer to compass, GPS, or wind angle.
__________________
belizesailor is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 18-02-2012, 07:00   #10
Moderator
 
Hudson Force's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Lived aboard & cruised for 45 years,- now on a chair in my walk-in closet.
Boat: Morgan OI 413 1973 - Aythya
Posts: 7,894
Images: 1
Re: Best Choice for an Autopilot ?

When you consider the two options to connect an autopilot to your systems, cable or hydraulic; then, I would choose to place the autopilot on the hydraulic system. I would expect that it would be more efficient to use your 12VDC operating the hydraulic pump rather than the mechanical movement of the cable system.
__________________
Take care and joy, Aythya crew
Hudson Force is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 18-02-2012, 07:47   #11
Senior Cruiser

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Nevada City. CA
Boat: Sceptre 41
Posts: 3,745
Images: 9
Re: Best Choice for an Autopilot ?

I have a WH AP. It is great. Very solid robust system. Uses more power then some of the new ones. I think it would plumb right into the hydraulic system but you would have to ask Will Hamm about it. I installed mine and had a problem with leaks in the hydraulic system. I would recommend using permatex aviation #3 as the sealant instead of Teflon to seal all the threads. Besides the leaks it has been great.
__________________
Fair Winds,

Charlie

Between us there was, as I have already said somewhere, the bond of the sea. Besides holding our hearts together through long periods of separation, it had the effect of making us tolerant of each other's yarns -- and even convictions. Heart of Darkness
Joseph Conrad
Charlie is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 18-02-2012, 08:23   #12
Registered User

Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 1,968
Re: Best Choice for an Autopilot ?

I have a Simrad autopilot (AP24) on a heavy motorsailer and have been very happy. The Simrad units got their start in the Norwegian fishing fleet and I think it shows.

Specific comments:

At least with the Simrad, you can use their rams and pumps or choose different ones. The computer and control heads don't care about the brand attached to the rudder.

The Simrad has many more tuning features than I remember in my previous boat's Raymarine. It is by far the smartest autopilot I've had and seems to learn the wave pattern. It almost always steers better than I can by hand.

It is the only autopilot I've had that actually works OK steering to wind direction under sail. Again, it has a bunch of sail related settings that let you adjust it for your boat's behavior under sail.

Carl
__________________
CarlF is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 18-02-2012, 08:47   #13
Registered User
 
ka4wja's Avatar

Join Date: May 2007
Location: Florida
Boat: Catalina 470
Posts: 2,033
Re: Best Choice for an Autopilot ?

Mark,
Welcome....
I suspect you'll get a variety of opinions here, so I'll add mine to the mix as well...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Team Ryer View Post
I would like to install a very robust and reliable system. We plan to do a lot of coastal cruising, stating this spring, on our way from Lunenburg, Nova Scotia, to the Carribean. I mention, in case its relevant, that Ulidia has outside helm with cable steering and an inside helm with hydraulic steering system.
Mark.
1) First let me state an opinion....
The "heart and lungs" of an electric autopilot are the "brain" and the "muscles", NOT the fancy clothes and jewerly!!!
Meaning it is the ugly "core-pak"/"computer" mounted down below (in a locker, etc.) that makes the unit actually play... and it is the drive unit (attached to the rudder post or steering system) that actually does the work...
So, my first piece of advice is to look beneath the surface and do not be swayed by the fancy features of a unit, nor its display's aesthetic appeal, but try to find out how reliable are its brain and muscles....



2) Also, let me say that I've never sailed a Kanter, nor any heavy steel sailboat at all.....

But, I do have experience with a variety of autopilots, on a variety of different boats, both coastally and well offshore / across oceans...
{back in the 60's we had a beast of a unit, a "coursemaster", which was so unreliable that my Dad used to comment that it was why he taught his kids to navigate and steer a compass course!!!....then in the 70's we had a completely bullet-proof electric Wood Freeman (model 400/420) autopilot which could've steered a destoyer thru a storm.....(I believe the guys at WH are former Wood Freeman guys)......and then more recently an electric AutoHelm (Raytheon), which worked quite well.....
And then just in the past 10 years I've had a 1999 Raymarine model 400 w/ ST-6000 control head, and long linear electric drive, all of which worked flawlessly, but this was mostly coastal and near-offshore / Bahamas....(this entire system was replaced after a lightning strike in late 2006)
And, for the past 5+ years, I've had a Raymarine S3G autopilot, with ST-6002+ control heads, and long linear electric drive unit.....this has proven to be VERY robust / reliable and sailed across the Atlantic twice, including many gales and 3 days thru TS Olga.....(the only trouble with it, was NOT an autopilot issue, but rather the inadequate hardware/mounting of the drive unit...see link for article and photos of what happened and what I did to solve the problem completely....)

Autopilot Drive Mount
Windlass Remote

and here's a photo of what thw mounting looked like before I improved it..
Annie Laurie Translant

I hope this drives the point home that no matter what autopilot you choose, the drive unit MUST be securely and robustly mounted!!
Please feel free to use my unfortunate experience as a cautionary tale to help you thru your autopilot system design!!!!

Many a salesperson will try to wow you with all their unit's features, etc...and some will tout "integration", etc.....and still others (like myself) will comment on power consumption and the need to design a complete autopilot system, and not get too bogged down on some specific feature.....but no matter who you're communicating with and no matter what they are saying (me included), you should not underestimate the necessity of of robust and secure mounting/installation of any autopilot / steering system for long offshore passage making.....}


So, I CAN relate to your desire for a "robust and reliable" system....



3) As for a "best choice"????
I cannot really answer that for you, as I do not know exactly how your current steering system works / is set-up, nor exactly how/where an electrical drive unit would be installed, or whether a hydraulic pump system would work better...(all of which directly effects the electrical power consumption of any autopilot)

But, I can say that for most modern sailboats of your size, the best choice is an electric drive unit on its own "tiller arm" on the rudder post.....(this allows for autopilot use even if you have other steering system issues/failures....but this also needs to be designed and installed properly, in order to maximize reliablity and minimize power consumption....)

Some with hyd. steering, choose to go with a hydr pump autopilot system....
And, some without adequate space / equipment to have enough mechanical advantage to use electric drive units, have also chosen hydr drive systems.....

Trying to find what others have found to be "robust and reliable" on your specific boat is probably the best overall way to judge what might be best for you and your application.....next up would be others sailing similar boats, similar in displ. and windage as well as similar in the location and type of sailing you're planning....


Mark, I know I didn't actually give you a direct answer....sorry about that...
But, if I just told you something like "my Raymarine S3G w/ type 2 long linear drive and ST-6002+ control head is the best choice..." I would be telling the truth, but also doing you a disservice, as our boats (and steering systems) are different, and as such what is best might also be different....


I do hope this helps....

Fair winds...
John
s/v Annie Laurie
__________________
ka4wja is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 18-02-2012, 09:21   #14
cat herder, extreme blacksheep
 
zeehag's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: furycame alley , tropics, mexico for now
Boat: 1976 FORMOSA yankee clipper 41
Posts: 17,770
Images: 56
Send a message via Yahoo to zeehag Send a message via Skype™ to zeehag
Re: Best Choice for an Autopilot ?

my simrad hdl2000 has lasted many years sans failure so far--i love it and is burly...60 kt winds are a very slight breeze with it....
zeehag is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 18-02-2012, 11:29   #15
Senior Cruiser
 
Blue Stocking's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: St. Georges, Bda
Boat: Rhodes Reliant 41ft
Posts: 4,115
Re: Best Choice for an Autopilot ?

Look at the ComNav 1101.
__________________

__________________
so many projects--so little time !!
Blue Stocking is online now   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
autopilot

Thread Tools
Display Modes Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Best MOB Alarm System ? Pacific2012 Health, Safety & Related Gear 29 23-05-2012 05:47
Best Choice for an Autopilot ? Team Ryer Liveaboard's Forum 29 15-04-2012 13:17
Boat Suggestions for Circumnavigation Robes Monohull Sailboats 18 18-02-2012 08:26
Wiring an Air Breeze Wind Gen landonshaw Electrical: Batteries, Generators & Solar 2 17-02-2012 19:18
Mistaken for Pirates and Killed ! Doodles Cruising News & Events 36 16-02-2012 23:07



Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -7. The time now is 16:14.


Google+
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Social Knowledge Networks
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

ShowCase vBulletin Plugins by Drive Thru Online, Inc.