Using Wheel Pilots - SailNet Community

   Search Sailnet:

 forums  store  

Quick Menu
Boat Reviews  
Search SailNet 
Boat Search (new)

Shop the
SailNet Store
Anchor Locker
Boatbuilding & Repair
Hatches and Portlights
Interior And Galley
Marine Electronics
Other Items
Plumbing and Pumps
Sailing Hardware
Trailer & Watersports
Clearance Items

Advertise Here

Go Back   SailNet Community > Contributing Authors > Cruising Articles
 Not a Member? 

Closed Thread
LinkBack Thread Tools
Old 08-18-2002
Contributing Authors
Join Date: Jan 2000
Posts: 244
Thanks: 0
Thanked 9 Times in 5 Posts
Rep Power: 16
Mark Matthews is on a distinguished road
Using Wheel Pilots

Can I use a Simrad or Autohelm wheel pilot on a 46-foot boat with hydraulic steering for daysailing in lieu of the main hydraulic autopilot? The displacement is approximately 35,000 pounds.

Mark Matthews responds:
I think you'll find that you'll end up testing the limits of these units if you opt to use a wheel pilot on a boat set up for a hydraulic autopilot. For example, Simrad recommends the Wheelpilot WP10 for boats around 35 feet or with 16,490 pounds of displacement. The Simrad Wheel Autopilot 5000 allows for a maximum boat length of 40 feet and a 17,000-pound displacement. Wheel pilots are often asked to steer boats that are larger than those they were designed for, which isn't good for their longevity.

Price is one thing when it comes to autopilots, but my experience has shown that there's more to it than that. These units are good in moderate wind conditions, coastal passages of short duration, and for motoring. They are not designed for heavy offshore use. Autohelm does make a number of below-deck models that would be better suited for your vessel. And while the price is greater, if you've ever had an autopilot pack up on you, you know it's not a pleasant experience. In fact, it's one that you want to avoid if at all possible.

Little is worse than hand-steering for days on end in a flat calm or being tossed about by the wheel in rough conditions. Below-deck systems are used primarily for heavy displacement cruising vessels and offshore work, and they will allow you to be spared both of those fates. The drive can be either a linear, hydraulic, or rotary, which is connected directly to either the rudderstock or the steering quadrant. They generally have longer lifespans than models that live in the harsh conditions of the cockpit.

You should also check out our Autopilot Buying Guide, and the autopilot section of SailNet's on line Store for more information. Good luck to you.

Quick reply to this message
Closed Thread

Quick Reply

By choosing to post the reply above you agree to the rules you agreed to when joining Sailnet.
Click Here to view those rules.

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the SailNet Community forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.
Please note: After entering 3 characters a list of Usernames already in use will appear and the list will disappear once a valid Username is entered.
User Name:
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.
Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.
Email Address:


Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.

Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may post attachments
You may edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On

All times are GMT -4. The time now is 12:21 PM.

Add to My Yahoo!         
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2015, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
SEO by vBSEO 3.6.1
(c) LLC 2000-2012

The store is owned and operated by a company independent of the forum. You are now leaving the SailNet forum. Click OK to continue or Cancel to return to the SailNet forum.