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  #11  
Old 05-03-2013
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Re: Wheel Pilot Control Head - Where to place?

Hmm... I do have extra holes at the cabin bulkhead now that the old instruments are being removed. I was planning to put a wind instrument display in the main cockpit and then place everything else at the helm.

I agree that the reason for the AP is so you don't have to be at the helm station; and being able to control the helm from the cockpit seems to be more necessary than having to return to the helm station to make a change (all of my winches/sheets are forward in the cockpit) .

My AP probably won't see a whole lot of use since we get such heavy wind here but I do want to be able to sail unattended on short stretches or possibly on longer offshore trips where wind is moderate.
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Old 05-03-2013
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Re: Wheel Pilot Control Head - Where to place?

To be honest we don't find that our RM AP does a very good job under sail, esp in any kind of wave action or high sail loads. We primarily use it to hold course while we hoist and douse sails, long calm motoring situations, esp when wet, I drive from under the dodger with the remote, and during spinnaker gybes as described previously.

btw, re mounting new instruments over old cutouts.. a friend did a real nice job by using a 1/4" starboard panel overlaying the back of the cabin, with new holes the right size for the new instr.s and covered the old. Looked real tidy once it was done.

I find that no matter where you mount these things there will always be times when they are not immediately visible, either due to moving around at the helm, or people sitting/standing in front of them. I think it was on the J40 where they mounted repeaters on deck immediately in front of the steering position both sides.. that was a nice setup.

The racers' large displays on the mast, just under the gooseneck look like they'd work too... everyone aft of the mast can see them.. I'd imagine they don't come cheap though.
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  #13  
Old 05-03-2013
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Re: Wheel Pilot Control Head - Where to place?

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Originally Posted by Faster View Post
To be honest we don't find that our RM AP does a very good job under sail, esp in any kind of wave action or high sail loads. We primarily use it to hold course while we hoist and douse sails, long calm motoring situations, esp when wet, I drive from under the dodger with the remote, and during spinnaker gybes as described previously.
Yeah I was not going to expect too much more (aside from maybe being able to do some coastal AP in lighter wind); but it would be nice to be able to step away from the helm now and then.

Quote:
btw, re mounting new instruments over old cutouts.. a friend did a real nice job by using a 1/4" starboard panel overlaying the back of the cabin, with new holes the right size for the new instr.s and covered the old. Looked real tidy once it was done.
That's exactly what I was planning to do; but not put new cutouts in because I am putting in a Navpod block for the ST's at the helm, and wanted the small teak cabinet behind old instruments to hold the course computer. I have two wind instruments (standard, close hauled) so I was going to place the standard at the bulkhead for crew and the CH as a repeater at the helm.

Quote:
I find that no matter where you mount these things there will always be times when they are not immediately visible
Yes I've been grumbling for quite a while now at not being able to see the depth gauge because it's covered by sheets or blocked by crew. Can't imagine having all of the instruments there and no visibility of them. I can live without seeing the regular wind guage there since the CH display will give everything with finer detail (I think).
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Old 05-05-2013
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Re: Wheel Pilot Control Head - Where to place?

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Originally Posted by 4arch View Post
Also I've never had any luck using the AP to steer a tack. Easier to disengage and hand steer through the tack. They just don't seem to "know" the nuances of slowly coming up to the wind, punching through the eye of the wind, and then slowly bearing off.
Mine isn't worth a damn for tacking. It drives me crazy. On auto-tack it steers really slowly and I end up stalled nose into the wind pretty well every time. Then I curse. However, I find my pilot otherwise steers very well in pretty well any circumstance I have used it. We get impressive weather on Lake Ontario, and my X-5 chugs right through it. My boat weighs just short of 12,000 lb.

I would concur about placing it at the helm. I fiddle with it all the time. However, once it's set up and steering well, I move all over the boat. One feature I LOVE is steering by the wind. Since I am often or actually usually going nowhere in particular, I set the boat up for a point of sail, trim it up, and let the pilot chat with the wind instrument to keep up with wind shifts. I can lounge in the cockpit for hours while the sails stay perfectly trimmed. Gadget geek meets sailor.
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Last edited by Ritchard; 05-05-2013 at 09:21 AM.
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Old 05-05-2013
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Re: Wheel Pilot Control Head - Where to place?

My control head is mounted into the coaming, even with the helm. I can easily reach it from the helm, or from under the dodger (as well as read it) with one step and one hand on the pedestal.
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Old 05-05-2013
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Re: Wheel Pilot Control Head - Where to place?

My original (1990) Autohelm wheelpilot control head was on the coaming by the wheel. It could be disengaged mechanically or by using the "standby" button. That was a primitive autopilot that would steer a compass course.

I now have a below-deck AP that has lots of bells and whistles, but I am not up on your wheelpilot version, so the following may or may not apply. My AP control head is mounted at the binnacle, just above the C-series chartplotter.

I like the ability to disengage the AP and IMMEDIATELY take the wheel--such as in a last minute avoidance maneuver (where did that pot come from?) With my AP I must hit "standby" to disengage the AP, and there is no way I can physically override the AP otherwise. I therefore like the proximity of the "standby" button and the wheel.

Also, if you want to set up to autotack with the AP, it is convenient to hand steer to optimize everything--particularly when sailing close on the wind. That requires one hand on the wheel and the other on the "track" button. You are then set up for a really neat autotack function. In my setup, I can use a soft key on the chartplotter to activate the AP, but I don't know if you can do that with your AP.

Another reason is to double check your AP heading with your chartplotter/instruments before going below for your coffee.

My setup is shown here:



Other folks have discussed a remote. I just bought a wireless AP controller this winter that would allow me the best of both worlds. The hard-wired stuff is at the helm and the wireless remote will allow me to work the AP in the companionway, under the dodger, or up on deck.

My bottom line: the helm location is best for the way I sail the boat.
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Old 05-05-2013
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Re: Wheel Pilot Control Head - Where to place?

Thanks for your reply fallard; I can understand how it would be better for the AP head to be at the helm for you because you can't engage/disengage without using the control. On the wheelpilot there is a manual lever on the drive unit that you engage to give control of the helm to the AP, and disengage in an emergency. Based on what Bristol299Bob says engaging the drive will hold the course you are on long enough to get to the control head and activate it.

I think I'm going to install the control on the bulkhead at the companionway re-using the hole for the old depthfinder. If it does not work for me there I can put an added cutout in my Navpod and re-locate it to the helm.
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Old 05-06-2013
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Re: Wheel Pilot Control Head - Where to place?

I have a Ray Marine wheel pilot with the control unit mounted at the helm in an Edson Pod.



The pod was already there and I found it a convenient place to put the control unit. I also have to manually engage the wheel pilot and then press the button from Standby to Run. I have found you can just engage the wheel manually and it will hold a course for a bit, but it is only because of increased friction on the wheel, so it depends on how well balanced the boat is set up. I like to watch the control unit for a little while when I engage it just to make sure it is doing what I want. Then I can go about the boat as I need to.

If I approach a tack with enough speed the wheel pilot will take me thru the tack, but I do usually double the tack angle (by pressing two buttons simultaneously on the controller).

If only small corrections need to be made I can make those without looking at the controller, as I know where the buttons are. So I can be working someplace else and just come back without getting behind the wheel to make the change. My boat does have a full bimini that overlaps the dodger, so making changes at the helm in poor weather is not an issue. I try to avoid storms in my mostly coastal sailing, so I don't worry about being at the helm. I think the longest I have used the autopilot to steer the ship is about 2 hours.
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