Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Washington, DC area
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Re: Smart Pilot Raymarine X5 Wheel Pilot
Thank you all, to the folks who resurrected this thread.
I put a Raymarine X-5 Smart Pilot on my MacGregor 26X, Bossa Nova, a few years ago. It did a pretty good job, when I used it; but I did have a catastrophic failure of the wheel-drive, probably because of 'inadvertent' stresses on the drive and its motor-pod (Raymarine fixed it under warranty, but it was a nuisance.) What I disliked about it was the fussy "bzzzt-bzzzt-bzzzt" as it swung the helm to each pitch of a wave. Of course, the Mac is a very lightweight boat, long spade rudders, skinny little centerboard, water ballast in the hull - a 26-foot sleep-aboard sailing dinghy.
Now I'm in another boat; a Bristol 29.9 whose ballast alone weighs more that the fully-loaded Mac 26X! (She displaces about 9000#, loaded as she is now for Chesapeake Bay weekends.) I'm planning to take this vessel on longer cruises; in fact I'm emboldened to maybe even take her to Bermuda. I'll be going solo, so of course I'm going to need some kind of self-steering mechanism. I'm wondering whether to go the easy, cheap way with another SPX-5 wheel pilot, or to mount a Cape Horn wind-vane for about three times as much money (but no electrical power needed.)
Any opinions? I'd welcome your thoughts.