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Old 05-03-2009, 18:45   #1
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tiller autopilot attached to wheel?

Anybody have this arrangement? Basically the tiller pilot attaches to a protrusion attached to the wheel, and can make smallish corrections. I'm thinking about this as a backup, since I can buy a box of cheap tiller pilots for the cost of one complete below-deck spare, and my boat was designed by Olin Stephens, so she sails herself better than I can.

A fellow I know attached a cheap tiller pilot to his windvane to help it in light air. Worked wonderfully (and very clever, I thought).
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Old 05-03-2009, 19:15   #2
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If you are using it as a backup, perhaps you could rig it to your emergency tiller.
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Old 05-03-2009, 20:38   #3
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I don't think the mechanical advantage is there to make this work. You would ahve to mount it to the outside of a large wheel.

Plus, what little corrections it could make would be only good in calm seas.

Now you could perhaps attach a tiller pilot to a quadrant, if it had sufficient power.


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Old 09-03-2009, 12:58   #4
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Tillerpilot extension

We have a 1975 Alberg 37 yawl, with an Edson Wheel. When we bought the boat in 1982, it came with an early Autohelm 1000(? not sure if that's the model, but it is a tiller autopilot). There was a TillerPilot wheel attachment which attaches to the wheel, and a bracket on the side of the cockpit combing to which the Autohelm attached. It worked fine and I still have the autopilot and the wheel attachment (I think I could find most of the items). We subsequently upgraded to a Simrad WP30 wheelpilot, which interfaces with the GPS (will track to a waypoint).

If you are interested, I'd give the autopilot and wheel attachment to a good home for the cost of shipping. I'm currently on Man O War Cay (dirt dwelling this time) in the Abacos til around the first week in April. I could send some photos of the setup once I get home.Send me a private message if interested.

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Old 10-03-2009, 05:40   #5
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Back-Up Auto Pilot

Although our primary auto-pilot is a Robertson AP, as a back-up we have an inexpensive Ray-Marine ST2000 Tiller Pilot that attaches to the wheel. For this we have a bracket that attaches to the wheel hub and the rim. Approximately 2/3rds of the distance between the hub and the rim--roughly level with the top of the seats in the cockpit--is a pin that is free to rotate with a small transverse hole that will accept the pin from the tiller-pilot. The stock length of the push-rod on the Pilot is about 2' but you can purchase extensions, if necessary. This arrangement will give our wheel about a 1/4 turn in each direction which, for our boat, is more than enough to maintain a steady course under most conditions. The tiller pilot is entirely self contained and merely needs power and has more than enough thrust to handle our boat given the advantage of the wheel.


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Old 10-03-2009, 09:08   #6
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Prices on marine electronics are going down these days. I bought a Raymarine S1 Wheel Pilot - complete - for $780 last week. It came from a dealer selling out his excess stock on ebay. Regular price is $1250. It came to me complete in the original factory sealed box. Unless money is a big issue it seems like the best way to go is to go with a purpose designed product rather than a jury rig.
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Old 10-03-2009, 09:13   #7
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If you have a windvane as well as the autopilot, most vane servo-pendulum designs can be adapted to allow a small, weak tiller pilot to steer any size boat whose wind vane is appropriately sized.

As others have mentioned, most likely you could attach the tiller pilot to the quadrant. With a remote control tiller pilot you may be able to get it completely below decks and out of the sun/weather, which will certainly help it's life expectancy. I've seen pictures of arrangements using blocks in the lazarette to increase the mechanical advantage, allowing a smaller pilot to manage a larger boat.

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