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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance > Electronics
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  #1  
Old 08-16-2010
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Autopilot recomendations

My circa 1993 Autohelm Wheel pilot Autopilot died over the weekend. The successor unit is the X-5 from Raymarine. According to the Raymarine website, its rated for loaded displacement up to 16,500. I have a Sabre 362 with empty discplacement listed at 14,060 lbs, full water and diesel brings us up to 15,300lbs, add food, people, assorted accumulated junk, we are probably pushing the limit if not exceeding. We are New England coastal cruisers, no ocean crossings in the near furture. My questions:
1. does any body have a Sabre 362 or similar displacement boat) with a X-5 wheelpilot? How does it work?
2. What other options are there? the under deck autopliots are more than twice as expensive.

thanks
bill
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Old 08-16-2010
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A lot depends on how you will use the autopilot. For short term use, such as furling, getting a beer, or use in light winds, the wheel pilot will work. If you are sailing long distance or in heavy weather, you will be much happier with a below deck system.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wpdragan View Post
My circa 1993 Autohelm Wheel pilot Autopilot died over the weekend. The successor unit is the X-5 from Raymarine. According to the Raymarine website, its rated for loaded displacement up to 16,500. I have a Sabre 362 with empty discplacement listed at 14,060 lbs, full water and diesel brings us up to 15,300lbs, add food, people, assorted accumulated junk, we are probably pushing the limit if not exceeding. We are New England coastal cruisers, no ocean crossings in the near furture. My questions:
1. does any body have a Sabre 362 or similar displacement boat) with a X-5 wheelpilot? How does it work?
2. What other options are there? the under deck autopliots are more than twice as expensive.

thanks
bill
Rule of thumb is to add 25%. Loaded displacement used for choosing autopilot would be 17,500 lbs. I would go with a below deck autopilot.
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Old 08-16-2010
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I'd also point out that you're pretty near the limit of a wheel pilot, and getting a more robust under-deck pilot will likely be a much better investment.
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Thanks to all for the input. My feeling was the under deck version was what I needed, butwas hoping to replace with the less expensive wheel pilot. I was just hoping someone had good experience with the x-5 in a larger boat, but, I guess not!

Any recomendations on a reasonable under deck replacement?
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Old 08-16-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wpdragan View Post
Thanks to all for the input. My feeling was the under deck version was what I needed, but was hoping to replace with the less expensive wheel pilot. I was just hoping someone had good experience with the x-5 in a larger boat, but, I guess not!

Any recomendations on a reasonable under deck replacement?

We are of similar size and displacement, going through the same exercise.

When I spoke with Raymarine they opined that the X-5 is quite sufficient for our needs and that paying the extra for an under deck system was something of a waste.

Probability is that as long as your boat is properly balanced you'll be fine. My feeling is that with our current boat, running up and down the east coast of Oz is all we are likely to do. Should we get snotted crossing Bass Strait e.g. then I'm probably going to be steering her myself in those extreme conditions.

Were we planning on taking the old girl across the Tasman or doing a circuit of the Pacific then perhaps I'd think differently but its interesting to note that our old pilot is a Navico WP5000 installed in 1990 and only now giving up the ghost. One of the previous owners did the Pacific tour using this gear.

I'm accepting that given your size/displacement that its marginal but you could end up spending big and only achieving overkill for your intended use.
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Last edited by tdw; 08-16-2010 at 06:45 PM.
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Old 08-16-2010
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I'm with Andrew. We weigh somewhere between 20,000 and 24,000 lbs. We have an old Autohelm 4000 wheel pilot that steers the boat straight. Heck the boat practically steers straight by itself when we're motoring in calm water. When the Autohelm finally gives in, I'm putting another cheap wheel pilot on it. I anticipate the heavy lifting will be done by the windvane self steerer anyhoo and the wheel pilot is good enough for coastal work when there is no wind to sail in, at least in our case.
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Ray,

Thanks for that. I don't think I stressed enough the importance of getting the boat balanced. As you so rightly suggest, when you get it right, most boats will pretty much steer themselves. When our WP started misbehaving we ended up sailing from Broken Bay to Newcastle (approx 50nms) and the old girl steered herself quite happily in light to medium winds on the nose.

I'd also be seriously thinking of having a wind vane for offshore work if only for the energy saving. So I'd figure that a relatively inexpensive WP used close inshore and when motoring plus a wind vane would be a fine alternative to a larger below deck pilot.

Cheers
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wpdragan,
just curious as to what type of old autopilot you had, need some parts for a navico wp5000, seems the offset cam on mine has went missing.
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Thanks for the additional input. Now I'm reconsidering the wheelpilot option. Its easier to install, 1/3 the price of the under deck version and I am not soon likely to venture much farther out of LIS than the Vineyard or Nantucket. The old one is a 1993 Autohelm 4000 which lasted until last weekend!
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