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Old 07-26-2009
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Tiller Autopilots Redux

I'm trying to decide on a tiller autopilot for my Pearson 28, which weighs almost 8,000 pounds, has a fin keel and partial skeg mounted rudder. It seems there are two brands and six models to choose from: Autohelm (Raymarine) ST 1000, ST 2000+ ST 4000+ and Simrad TP 10 TP 22 and TP 32. In 2006 Practical Sailor rated the two brands as about equal in quality with nuanced differences in features and performance between models. PS did recommend going to a "recirculating ball" drive system if buying other than the most basic system. So, given that I wish to interface the tiller autopilot with my garmin GPSMAP 76C and/or to a pc running a navigation software package, it comes down to the Simarad TP32 or the Autohelm ST2000+.
Are there any particular reasons to choose one over the other? The only thing I see is that the Simrad seems to use less power while working.
I have read elsewhere to oversize a tiller autopilot so that it is not maxed out when working hard. Does that sound right to those of you who use autopilots?
I would appreciate any comments you have.
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Old 07-29-2009
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Sounds like you have done your homework. I have found that my 8,000 pound fin keel spade rudder sloop works well with the Simrad 30 (older) or 32 (current model). FWIW, I had an older Autohelm that I jettisoned after numerous repairs. It now rests off Rochester, NY, where it will no longer cause problems on my boat.
Paul Van Voorhees
Certified Tohatsu TLDI Technician
Mgr, Obersheimer Sails
Buffalo, NY USA
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Old 07-29-2009
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The Simrad 22 and 32 both will do NMEA 0183 AND 2000, Although you will need to adapt the simnet plug if you want to connect to a standard NMEA 2000 network.

1984 Wauquiez Pretorien
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