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Old 20-06-2009, 09:17   #1
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Location: Portland, Oregon
Boat: Kha Shing, trawler, 40, SNO MON
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Auto Pilots

Just wanted to check with the group on Autopilots. I have a Garmin5212 Chartplotter and want to add a autopilot to it. I've looked at Raymarine and Garmin. My friend has a Raymarine and it works great. I am considering the Garmin unit but don't know much about how well they do. Any comments would help me make up my mind.


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Old 21-06-2009, 05:52   #2
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Boat: Endeavour 37
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Hey ITM. I am not too sure how many folks on this site have crossed over to the dark side, power boating, to answer your question regarding autopilots. I have been researching APs for my 37 foot sloop for the last month and the primary thing I have learned is not to purchase an AP that is rated at the upper most limits of your displacement. You should add 20% to factor the loaded weight of the vessel. Unfortunately, the price goes up considerably each level, but in the long run you'll have a system that is up to the job. I've been looking at Simrad, just because it appears they are the only folks making APs for large displacement vessels, ie, over 20k lb displacement.
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Old 21-06-2009, 06:15   #3
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I've got Simrad, I think its a AP 20, I've never used it, but the guys that brought my boat over said it performed flawlessly during the 14,000 mile trip.
S/V Arctic Lady
I love my boat, I can't afford not to!
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Old 21-06-2009, 06:35   #4
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Take a look at the ComNav 1101. I have installed them on a Hatteras 54 sportfisherman, a couple of CSY 44's and am putting 1 in my 12 ton yawl (Rhodes Reliant). Most head units which talk the NMEA lingo can command the A/P, but IMHO its the quality of the components down the line which really control dependability. Parts such as rudder feedback sensors, fluxgate compasses, seals in the hydraulic reversing pumps are where you need good quality.
On sailboats a common complaint is that when changing from sail to powering configuration the A/P needs to be course-corrected to allow for the amount of helm being carried to compensate for engine torque or sail trim.
On you Twawler look for an A/P that will be robust enough to deal with long term quartering sea course corrections to allow for yaw. A good commercial pilot should have multiple setting capability in thia area.
Once again IMHO I would go for the reversing pump/ separate ram combo at the rudder head. If the steering fails, you can come home on the independant A/P system.
Don't ask me how I know

Hope this helps
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Old 21-06-2009, 07:28   #5
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Location: St Augustine, FL
Boat: Beneteau Oceanis 461
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I use a Raymarine S3G comp with a rotary drive and it has been flawless in conditions ranging from motoring under flat calm to sailing in eight foot plus seas with 30 knots of wind.... In the long run, I plan on converting the system to a linear drive (it attaches to the quadrant) to have a backup steering mechanism in case the steering cables slip or break.

My autopilot is interfaced to an older model Northstar GPS/Chartplotter; no problems so far. Already purchased a Raymarine GPS/chartplotter awaiting installation

Good luck!

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Old 21-06-2009, 10:36   #6
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I can highly recommend the Alpha pilot. Small company that has buyilt bulletproof linear drive units for many years. Not sure how much interface capability they have upgraded to though. Talk with them. Hard to go wrong with a Simrad probably though.
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