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Old 18-04-2010, 17:52   #1
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What Is the Best Tiller Pilot ?

I am currently looking for a tiller pilot. Before everyone goes crazy, I know that a below the deck autopilot would be best, but is not in the budget.

The pilots duties will mostly consist of taking the helm for sail changes and the sort. We (myself, wife, 6 & 2 yr old boy) coastal cruise in the Long Island Sound to Nantucket area.

The boat is a Tripp-Lentsch 29 a modified full keel sloop displacing about 10,000 lbs.

Currently I am considering a Simrad TP32 or Autohelm 2000. Any other ideas or comments would be appreciated.

Thanks for any help...
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Old 18-04-2010, 19:01   #2
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Nothing wrong with a tiller pilot for your intended use. I just replaced my (old and failed) ST1000 with and ST1000+.

West Marine had one on the shelf and matched the best internet price I found so I was very happy.

I was very happy with the ST1000 and am very happy with the new one which has a little more power. The installation instructions are fine and they have lot's of extensions and adapters to match a wide variety of tiller and cockpit configurations.

The unit interfaces with nav and wind systems if you want it to. I had the old one coupled to a handheld GPS for a while but that's really only useful while motoring a course. I don't have wind instruments so haven't used that feature.

I generally use it the way you intend. Hold a course while I hoist sails. It is particularly useful when flying the spinnaker short handed.

The autotacking feature isn't that great and I will sometimes get caught in irons letting Otto tack the boat in light conditions. I could shorten the coupling to the tiller and get a greater rudder angle but I find if I get right up close hauled with decent boat speed it works OK.

Don't have any experience with Simrad.
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