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JudyZ 08-23-2006 07:12 PM

Will my husband make the boat ugly?
We have a new 27 foot sailboat, and my husband is talking about adding an autopilot to it. I would rather not steer while he plays with the sails, so that is not a bad idea.

My problem is what will this look like on the boat. He has been talking the simrad wp32 so he won't have to drill into the boat. Does anyone have a picture of one installed on a boat so that I can understand what he is talking about?


knothead 08-23-2006 07:14 PM

Judy, Judy, Judy,
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

sailingdog 08-23-2006 07:24 PM

You can see a rather bad photo of one here.

Surfesq 08-23-2006 07:38 PM

Plus there are so many other things you can do as a couple when you have autopilot.

SailorMitch 08-23-2006 08:09 PM


I had an earlier model of that AP (but the same basic unit as the newer one -- same size) on my former boat, a Pearson 27. Alas, I don't have a pic of it handy. Needless to say, it did not ruin the looks of the boat one bit and did not create a space problem in the cockpit. In fact, it was one of the best upgrades I ever made to the boat since I singlehanded most of the time -- which is exactly what your hubby will be doing while you are knitting or whatever.

Only other alternative I can see is for you to spend some time at the helm and learn what it's all about, and learn how to "play" with the sails as well. You might enjoy having control over the boat and making it go faster, and in the direction you want it to go (most of the time). It's also a safety factor should hubby one day not be able to do those things and you suddenly have a desire to get back to port. Can you operate the VHF radio as well?

Yes, I am suggesting that you learn how to sail. And still buy the AP. :)

hellosailor 08-23-2006 09:25 PM

Judy, IF there is room to install it, an under-deck autopilot is always going to be more reliable and, pretty much invisible unless you're crawling around the steering post.

The downside is that it is going to cost more and take longer to install. So, if you want "pretty" aware that it's gonna cost you, and sell it to your husband on the "better" angle.

Lots of stuff on a machine (and a sailboat is a machine with the real engine spread all over the place) is ugly. Kinda like having a pony, you have to deal with the piles it leaves behind.

JudyZ 08-23-2006 09:27 PM

We have been boating for over 11 years now. Now that we have a new boat, I don't want to have it looking like a junkyard with too many additions to the cockpit. Just FYI, I passed my BS&S course with a 99%, so Mitch I find your suggestion that I learn how to sail a little condescending.

That being said, SailingDog I saw that picture but it is such a closeup you don't have a feel for the entire look. The other thing I question is that the throttle lever is on the right and would the Autopilot interfere with the ability to shift into reverse to dock. (I steer for docking he handles the lines).

sailingdog 08-23-2006 09:36 PM

Well, I don't know what the cockpit of your boat looks like, but it will add a bit more clutter to it. I'm a bit surprised that the boat has wheel steering, as most boats under 28' have a tiller, not a wheel.

I would agree that an under-the-deck autopilot will be cleaner and more reliable.

JudyZ 08-23-2006 10:01 PM

pictures of the cockpit

This is the pedestal and wheel.

Viewed from the aft.

As you can see it is close as one would expect for this size boat. Yet the cost of the below units is 2x the cost of the Simrad. Besides I want to get a larger boat in a couple of years and don't want to sink loads of money in this one.

sailingdog 08-23-2006 10:07 PM

Actually, it looks like it should fit, as it fits around the center of the wheel. I don't know how the Lewmar folding wheel is going to affect the autopilot installation though. It does look like it'll fit, even with the folding wheel.

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