It really depends on the load placed on the steering. An unbalanced barn door rudder
on a 12,000# boat may be too much for a wheel rated for that displacement
. On the other hand, a semi balanced spade rudder
on a boat twice that size may be steered just fine. In my case, the Raymarine
X5 wheel pilot steers our Pearson
35 just fine when powering or in moderate sailing conditions. It's faithfully steered the boat on the open ocean under these conditions for 48 straight hours.
When the hull speed
goes up under sail and weather helm
kicks in, the motor
overloads and drops out in a matter of a minute or two. Having had to hand steer for long distances under these conditions, I understand why. The force on the helm
to maintain course is pretty damned high. It would take a big motor to produce the force necessary. It would also take a whole bunch of juice to run the pilot under those conditions. Undoubtedly would have to run the engine
for long periods to keep up with the electrical consumption
. Thank heavens for wind vane self steering
If you are just looking for an autopilot to steer the boat under power and slow speed sailing, a wheel pilot might work. In any case, don't tell the manufacturer what boat it's being used on should you need warranty work.