Under Deck Auto Pilots and Tiller Steering - SailNet Community
 
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post #1 of 9 Old 02-06-2009 Thread Starter
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Under Deck Auto Pilots and Tiller Steering

When looking at boats to buy:

I want a significant under deck autohelm. For this, is it best to stay away from tiller steering. Is the typical instillation of such a system reliable and is it pretty straight forward and non-invasive to the boat.

For instance: I have a 36' Capy George in mind, with tiller steering. Anyone know if it would readily take a good sized under deck autohelm system?

Are there other boats better suited for this?

I would be greatfull for any expertise with this.
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post #2 of 9 Old 02-06-2009
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I don't think you want a below deck auto pilot with a tiller. If it should malfunction, the thought of the tiller swinging back and forth across the cockpit with 800 lbs of force is not safe. At least above deck you've got a chance to disconnect the ram if all else fails.
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post #3 of 9 Old 02-06-2009
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Most tiller equipped boat can NOT take a below decks autopilot without some modification. Many tiller equipped boats will not have a steering quadrant below decks, since that isn't needed in most cases. If you want a below-deck autopilot, get a wheel equipped boat.
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When looking at boats to buy:

I want a significant under deck autohelm. For this, is it best to stay away from tiller steering. Is the typical instillation of such a system reliable and is it pretty straight forward and non-invasive to the boat.

For instance: I have a 36' Capy George in mind, with tiller steering. Anyone know if it would readily take a good sized under deck autohelm system?

Are there other boats better suited for this?

I would be greatfull for any expertise with this.

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You can buy tiller arms designed specifically to adapt tiller steered boats to accept an underdeck autopilot.
Edson Marine Catalog

This is a perfectly acceptable solution and not only does not present any danger but actually adds safety by providing an "emergency tiller" completely separate from the existing tiller connection.

As to the Cape George..NO you will not be able to use an underdeck pilot since it is not only tiller steered but has an externally hung pintle/gudgeon type rudder. Exactly what did you think the underdeck pilot would connect to? Sorry...but tiller pilot is all you can use on this boat.

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post #5 of 9 Old 02-06-2009 Thread Starter
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From what I've heard and read, tiller autopilot arrangements are not reliable for bluewater mile after mile. Is that a misconception on my part. Is there a system that would mount well on the Cape George that would have the stamina to steer the boat in heavy conditions, mile after mile?
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post #6 of 9 Old 02-06-2009
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Cam, I don't follow the added safety part. Am I missing something?
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The main problem with tiller pilots is that the control electronics on most is exposed to the weather, in that they're in the tiller pilot. A good solution to helping prevent problems with them is to make a splash sleeve to put over the tiller pilot. Some of the heavier duty tiller pilots use a separate control head and are less susceptible to such problems.
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From what I've heard and read, tiller autopilot arrangements are not reliable for bluewater mile after mile. Is that a misconception on my part. Is there a system that would mount well on the Cape George that would have the stamina to steer the boat in heavy conditions, mile after mile?

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her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.

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Winder...I agree that tiller pilots are not as reliable. On the other hand they are simple and cheap comparatively. Carry several. A better solution might be a wind vane for ocean cruising and a tiller pilot for inshore work.

39512...added safety comes from having the ability to still steer the boat if the tiller itself breaks or if the tiller attachment to the rudder post breaks. With a separate tiller arm attached to the rudder post you have the ability to steer via the autopilot even when you can't hand steer.

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Last edited by camaraderie; 02-06-2009 at 04:42 PM.
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post #9 of 9 Old 02-06-2009
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Have you considered a wind vane steering system for this boat? Many have sailed across a lot of 'blue' water with these alone. I'm not sure that many of these would be compatible with a transom mounted rudder anyway.

39512,
With a transom/stern mounted rudder there is no way to mount control lines to it without putting further holes in the transom. Extra holes offer more ways for water to come aboard.

The tyranny of the tiller.

"The cure for anything is salt water~ sweat, tears, or the sea." ~Isak Denesen

Everybody has one:

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