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  #1  
Old 07-29-2007
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Thumbs down Autopilot suggestion?

Hi Gang,

I finally have our new old boat out sailing (Endeavour 33). Now I am thinking we would like an autopilot. Our boat is about 11,000 lb with a wheel.....

Any suggestions of what make & models I should be considering? I am also wondering about ballpark for cost, etc......

I took a brief look around the web, but didn't see much yet......

Any suggestions appreciated-

Thanks, SaltyPat
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Old 07-29-2007
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I have 10s of thousands of miles on the Alpha 3000 which I like for many reasons. I have expereience with some others on other boats and here is what I like about the Alpha and don't about Autohelm (now raymarine) and others.

The 3000 does not interface with GPS. I take the information and set the pilot to steer the coarse I want. If you can't fetch a waypoint with a sailboat autopilot steering to a waypoint is meaningless.

My steering is down with a 360° dial... so it is like have a little helm. When I want t steer to starboard I turn the dial clockwise and so forth.

The pilot can be mechanically disengaged from the rudder post. No friction or drag on the helm for manual steering. To use the auto pilot you must mechanically engage it and turn it one and set the heading. It also has controls to dampen the amount of "corrections" it makes to hold the course. This means you can limit the power used. It does disengage and round up into the wind... as some other do. It doesn't sound an alarm when going off course. The Alpha has done 99% of the steering for the last 18 yrs and with hardly a repair.

Can't say a bad thing about the 3000.

jef
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Last edited by SanderO; 07-30-2007 at 07:40 PM.
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Old 07-29-2007
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Simrad WP30....about $750 would work fine on your boat.
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Old 07-29-2007
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I'm quite happy with my S1 WheelPilot from Raymarine, which is on a similar sized boat as yours saltypat. Just over a thousand through Sailnet.

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Raymarine..

If you want to go with a wheel pilot you now only have one option and that is the Raymarine S1. The Simrad WP series has been discontinued..
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A wheel mounted pilot is simply not robust enough for heavy weather.

You will need a below decks model.

Steering a straight course without confused seas and strong winds and lots of yaw and so forth is a no brainer for any autopilot.

It's the more complex conditions which one has to consider and the user interface, the usage of power, etc. and the algorithms etc the pilot uses.

Automhelms and Raymarines are simply not reliable, subject to failures, and have a lousy user interface from my (limited) experience with them.

The GPS interface is actually a silly feature, can be dangerous in crowded waters. What's the problem with YOU actually programming the heading by monitoring your position and making the necessary corrections? Please explain.

jef
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Thanks for the update on the Simrad Halekai...guess the only option is the Raymarine for around $1250. Sold here:
http://shop.sailnet.com/product_info...ducts_id/29861

As to "heavy weather"...he's got a 33 foot boat in the Chesapeake that weighs 11000 lbs. ...a wheel pilot will do just fine. You don't need to spend $2K or more unless you are doing passagemaking or have a boat that is several tons heavier.
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Old 07-30-2007
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To hell with the "yachtie" stuff: Go ComNav or W-H.
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Old 07-30-2007
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If you buy Raymarine S1, keep an eye on their product replacement time scale and buy another S1 when they change the model to have spares. I am still using ST50 and Autohelm 3000 kit. I missed out buying spares on the ST50 series, so as they die, they are not being replaced by Raymarine bits. I got a "new" 3000 from a chandler who was very happy to get rid of an obsolete model gathering dust. The good thing is that the newest electronics happily drives the oldest (30 years old) actuator, but that's another story.
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Suggestions appreciated, but

Thanks for the suggestions. I will do some more looking.

I do not really understand the the Comnav or W-H suggestion.....
Also, what is W-H?

Thanks,

SaltyPat
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