AutoPilots - SailNet Community

   Search Sailnet:

 forums  store  


Quick Menu
Forums           
Articles          
Galleries        
Boat Reviews  
Classifieds     
Search SailNet 
Boat Search (new)

Shop the
SailNet Store
Anchor Locker
Boatbuilding & Repair
Charts
Clothing
Electrical
Electronics
Engine
Hatches and Portlights
Interior And Galley
Maintenance
Marine Electronics
Navigation
Other Items
Plumbing and Pumps
Rigging
Safety
Sailing Hardware
Trailer & Watersports
Clearance Items

Advertise Here






Go Back   SailNet Community > Out There > Cruising & Liveaboard Forum
 Not a Member? 


Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools
  #1  
Old 06-04-2013
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2013
Posts: 2
Thanks: 0
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Rep Power: 0
The Admirable Cretin is on a distinguished road
AutoPilots

I'm hoping for some advice on this.. I'm in the process of buying a boat that's 40+ ft ... medium displacement (around 23000 lbs)... I'll be taking it to Europe from the east coast and intend to remain there for at least a couple of years..
I need to fit a new autopilot as I'll be single-handed on the way over and looking at all the options I find myself getting more and more out of my depth...
I'm going for an autopilot as opposed to a wind vane as I'm familiar enough with the Med to know that a wind-vane would be more of a liability than anything else... if I was fortunate enough to spend my life cruising a wind-vane would be my first option.
There's nothing like first hand experience so I'd like to hear from anyone out there that has some well grounded opinions.. in particular.. can a boat this size and weight comfortably get by with a cockpit wheel drive system or realistically do I have to look at a below decks installation (very expensive) and if so, how hard are these on the power supply... I don't fancy running the motor for 4 weeks just to charge the batteries.
I have tried the 'search' option but there's nothing there that covers the subject sufficiently and as this represents a fairly major outlay I'd like to get it right..
Tales of lousy service from any manufacturers are also welcome... let them suffer for their arrogance. :>) Many thanks T A C
Reply With Quote Share with Facebook
  #2  
Old 06-04-2013
chucklesR's Avatar
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Pasadena Md - Magothy side
Posts: 5,938
Thanks: 9
Thanked 29 Times in 29 Posts
Rep Power: 9
chucklesR is a jewel in the rough chucklesR is a jewel in the rough chucklesR is a jewel in the rough
Re: AutoPilots

Your displacement is at the limit (24k) of wheel pilot systems (for example Raymarine's type 1 units).
I'd not want to be solo on the Atlantic with a autopilot that was at the limit, for that reason I'd suggest you steer away from wheel pilots (pun intended).
Heck, in my opinion my 20k displacement Irwin 38 CC is too heavy for a wheel pilot, especially once loaded for cruising. Fuel and water (full) will add 2k.
__________________
Lessons learned are opportunities earned.
Reply With Quote Share with Facebook
  #3  
Old 06-04-2013
svHyLyte's Avatar
Old as Dirt!
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Tampa Bay Area
Posts: 2,548
Thanks: 11
Thanked 84 Times in 80 Posts
Rep Power: 6
svHyLyte is on a distinguished road
Re: AutoPilots

We have a Robertson/Simrad AP driving a 42' yacht displacing about 23,000 lbs in cruising mode and have found the system very robust (now 16 years old without failure), under some very trying conditions. Our drive is a hydraulic ram type that quite easily handles the ship, even under very adverse wind/sea conditions.

FWIW...
__________________
"It is not so much for its beauty that the sea makes a claim upon men's hearts, as for that subtle something, that quality of air, that emanation from the waves, that so wonderfully renews a weary spirit."
Reply With Quote Share with Facebook
  #4  
Old 06-04-2013
MarkofSeaLife's Avatar
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 1,972
Thanks: 25
Thanked 39 Times in 36 Posts
Rep Power: 4
MarkofSeaLife is on a distinguished road
Re: AutoPilots

My Raymarine 6002 was on my boat when I bought it as an excharter so I guess it had done 5 years non stop. Then I have done 35,000 to 40,000 nms with it.

It WORKS.

I dont know about Raymarine service because I have NEVER had to get any of it serviced, looked at or nuffin.

I would never go to sea without my Raymarine 6002.
__________________
Sea Life
Notes on a Circumnavigation:
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
Reply With Quote Share with Facebook
  #5  
Old 06-04-2013
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Corpus Christi, Tx
Posts: 876
Thanks: 8
Thanked 15 Times in 14 Posts
Rep Power: 9
ccriders is on a distinguished road
Re: AutoPilots

An AP installed in the cockpit is subject to all kinds of unintended consequences. One below deck can be installed to guard against such events. More robust is better than marginal. Power consumption is important, but can be provided from non-engine sources. You will use the most power in the worst conditions, where you might be using the engine anyway. Reliability and backup is very important. Look at the "spares package" if the mfgr recommends one, which they should. And most importantly, install it early enough that you can fully train yourself in all of its operations and capabilities and sea test the installation.
My experience comes mostly from military electronics and some from sailing, none from crossing the Atlantic.
John
Reply With Quote Share with Facebook
  #6  
Old 06-04-2013
Sailboat Reboot
 
Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: On Board
Posts: 364
Thanks: 0
Thanked 11 Times in 10 Posts
Rep Power: 15
svzephyr44 is on a distinguished road
Send a message via Skype™ to svzephyr44
Re: AutoPilots

My advice is to get serious about crossing the Atlantic solo. Do you have any concept of what hand steering after an autopilot failure for 1500 NM (maybe 15 days) would be like? Do you have any sense of what it would be like to heave to in 8 to 10 foot mixed up waves to try and get some sleep? My personal advice - you better have at least two systems for auto steering.

My personal story:
1) Solo crossing, Florida to Portugal - Monitor wind vane 95% of time. I have 560 watts of solar panels - after five days of overcast and storms my batteries were near flat - not using the electric autopilot saved many amps. (Elapsed trip time including stops in Bermuda and Azores - 44 days)
2) Crewed crossing, Canary Islands to Sint Maarten. Wheel steering failed disabling Monitor wind vane. Used Autohelm electric autopilot last 1500 NM. (Repaired wheel steering with quick fix but did not want to stress it if possible.) (Elapsed trip time 27 days)
3) Crewed crossing, BVI to Bahamas - Autohelm autopilot failed. Used Monitor wind vane - becalmed - hand steered 250 NM (Elapsed trip time 11 days)

One last piece of advice - no one else can comment on their experience. My Raymarine autopilot is 17 years old. For the first 13 it was never used in heavy seas and high winds. In the last 4 years 7 to 10 foot seas and 20 to 25 knot winds have been the rule, not the exception. The particular failure mode that I just experienced (on the trip from the BVI) was diagnosed by Raymarine as probable clutch failure. Given how hard the system has had to work for the last 5,000 NM I am not really surprised.

Good luck on your crossing
__________________
Roger
Current position
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.

Ham: W2ZDB Reboot: WDB8435
Web Site:
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.

Blog:
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
Reply With Quote Share with Facebook
  #7  
Old 06-05-2013
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2013
Posts: 2
Thanks: 0
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Rep Power: 0
The Admirable Cretin is on a distinguished road
Re: AutoPilots

Thanks to all for that... It's been 30 years since my last trans Atlantic and I have to remind myself that I don't bounce as easily as I once did..(My last solo trip around the Med a couple of years back, I broke three ribs the first night out and learned to appreciate what people suffer who live with constant pain.. very fatiguing) The AP is going to have be a reliable shipmate and an internal set-up is probably worth the extra expense..

svZephyr44..Out of interest... at what time of the year did you choose to make the Florida / Portugal crossing that proved so miserable ?

Again.. many thanks to all T A C
Reply With Quote Share with Facebook
  #8  
Old 06-05-2013
Bristol 45.5 - AiniA
 
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 3,043
Thanks: 3
Thanked 49 Times in 44 Posts
Rep Power: 9
killarney_sailor is on a distinguished road
Re: AutoPilots

Talking to people doing circumnavigations with autopilots, the great majority (70%?) have had significant problems. Redundancy is your friend, either two autopilots or autopilot and vane.
__________________
Finished the circumnavigation in early February in Grenada. Have to work on a book project for the next several months so the boat will be waiting for next year.
Reply With Quote Share with Facebook
  #9  
Old 06-05-2013
youmeandthed's Avatar
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: Vancouver, BC
Posts: 109
Thanks: 0
Thanked 1 Time in 1 Post
Rep Power: 3
youmeandthed is on a distinguished road
Re: AutoPilots

we have a raymarine 6000 series that is connected to the quadrant. after breaking old steering cables once or twice, I wouldn't go with a wheel mounted AP. Trimming your sails well really take the stress off the AP, plus having a windvane AP is the best for passages, but you will only use it a minor fraction of the time you are on your boat, and having a clear transom can be a bit nicer.
__________________
Life's a dream, live it!


To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
Reply With Quote Share with Facebook
  #10  
Old 06-05-2013
CaptainForce's Avatar
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: living aboard since 1972
Posts: 1,697
Thanks: 0
Thanked 12 Times in 12 Posts
Rep Power: 9
CaptainForce will become famous soon enough
Re: AutoPilots

Quote:
Originally Posted by svHyLyte View Post
.................. Our drive is a hydraulic ram type that quite easily handles the ship, even under very adverse wind/sea conditions.
FWIW...
HyLyte points out an important factor. The size of the vessel is secondary to the mechanics of the steering system. A low power auto pilot system can easily operate a hydraulic drive that in turn supplies a great force to the steering of the vessel. I would think that worm gear would come next in line with the need for power from the auto pilot and cable with quadrant comming in with the most need of power supply. I "married" a Nexus control head to my 1973 Benmar hyraulic drive twenty years ago and it continues to work well with the drive now forty years old.
__________________

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
Take Care and Joy, Aythya Crew
Reply With Quote Share with Facebook
Reply


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


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
autopilots endevour Electronics 11 04-11-2010 07:42 AM
autopilots mychaos Gear & Maintenance 12 06-24-2008 01:11 PM


All times are GMT -4. The time now is 12:32 AM.

Add to My Yahoo!         
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
SEO by vBSEO 3.6.1
(c) Marine.com LLC 2000-2012

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