Curret Wheel Autopilot Options <$1500 - SailNet Community

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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance
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  #1  
Old 08-18-2008
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Curret Wheel Autopilot Options <$1500

I have been waiting for Raymarine to get their act together with their new X-5 autopilot, but they keep pushing back the release date to the point that it looks like I won't have it in time to use this season. Any other wheel autopilot options for a 30' 9800# sailboat that cost less than $1500?? I can still get the Raymarine S1 for $1200 I guess but I'd rather not buy something that will be outdated in a couple months.
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Old 08-18-2008
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There are no other wheel pilots currently available other than Raymarine. The S1 WP is a great Ap and it has beat the pants off every previous pilot I've owned including bellow deck units from Simrad & Raymarine. The only difference that I can see between the S1 and the X-5 is that the rate gyro is now built in but you can always add a rate gyro to the S1 making it not as outdated. The drive unit itself is unchanged, as far as I know, and it was unchanged from the ST 4000 Plus MKII when they went to the S1..

I run the S1 on a 36' 17,500 pound boat and it steers it very well with not even a sign of it being under powered.

Dave's Marine Electronics has the S1 for $1087.00

Defender has the S1 for $1059.00

Port Supply is wholesale only but they have it for $1089.00

The Defender price is very, very good!!
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Old 08-19-2008
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Hmm yeah I'm thinking about just getting the S1, those are decent prices. The install looks tricky, I was hoping to avoid dealing with the rudder position sensor (X-5 doesn't have one). I could figure it out though. I guess when only 1 company is making these things there aren't many options.

By the way very nice boat halekai36, I enjoyed your pictures.
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Old 08-19-2008
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It's been awhile since I bought my S1 (which I also am quite happy with), but I thought I recalled the rate gyro being available for it at that time.
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Old 08-19-2008
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I would not worry about it becoming outdated, just worry that it lasts a long time. I bought my garmin GPS Map76cs and it was outdated in the first year but today works as well as the day I bought it. I also bought one of the last ST4000 MKII wheel pilots in the supply chain for a great price and it still works as good as the day I bought it, looks like it too. Everything becomes outdated sooner or later, it is a matter of when not if. Buy the SI if you still can and enjoy it, should be fine on a 30' boat. They are built pretty strong and will last a long time, likely longer than you have the boat.
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Old 08-19-2008
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West Marine will meet the Defender price and you get face to face customer service a your local store. Most of your local small town chandleriers will also try to match anybodies price, all you have to do is ask.
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Old 08-19-2008
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One other interesting thing I just noticed ... the new X-5 autopilots say they have eliminated the need for rudder position sensors, but they have them available as $200+ options for the X-5. And the higher level X-series autopilots include rudder position sensors. It seems to me that they have decided that rudder position sensors are still a good idea if you can install them. I wonder how good the steering would be without the sensor?? The S1 includes one.
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Old 08-21-2008
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Autopilot question

These recent posts are helping me decide to go ahead and order the S-1, thanks for asking the question. My issue is time. We plan to start moving the boat south from MD to NC right after labor day. That is just enough time for me to order and receive an S-1, but probably not enough time to do the custom install necessary for the rudder sensor. I am sure if I ask Raymarine if it is necessary they will say yes, but on their website they indicate it is only needed for optimum performance. I am thinking I could do a short install without the rudder sensor and at least have some autopilot assistance during the trip and then deal with the rudder sensor once we get to NC. Does this seem reasonable, anyone have experience using the S-1 w/o the rudder sensor? On the Defender website they imply that delivery captains carry one for just this purpose and I doubt they install the rudder sensor. So I am thinking this should be ok. Besides our boat has only 1 head, so we cannot both be 'busy' down below at the same time anyway. Thanks in advance for any feedback or advice. Forgot to mention that we will be sailing (motoring if this weather keeps up) down the bay and the ICW.

Last edited by CapnRon47; 08-21-2008 at 10:15 PM. Reason: forgot to add we are traveling in the bay and the ICW
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Old 08-22-2008
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We sometimes install autopilots with out the rudder position indicator be cause of the added expense to the owner. It is not necessary to install the device but it is nice to have for optimum sail trim. On Raymarine if it's not installed eventually the rudder bar will disappear and if it's installed at a later date all you need to do is a reset on the controller to make it reappear.
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Old 08-28-2008
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Installed an S-1 this spring

Not that difficult but is time consuming to do a careful job. Mainesail has a play by play of his position sensor on his site Installing A Raymarine Rudder Position Sensor Photo Gallery by Maine Sailing at pbase.com which is about how I did it. I had the gyro put in the computer, in for a nickel, in for a dime . . . .
Photos show my radial drive wheel before install, and the mount block parts I made to install. Part for ball joint on radial drive wheel is aluminum. (Ooops, sailnet doesn't seem to like my photos and I can't spend all night on this. Resized under their limit, but that didn't work)

Last edited by Shortman; 08-28-2008 at 09:00 PM.
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