Upgrading autopilot on PSC31 - SailNet Community

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Go Back   SailNet Community > Boat Builders Row > Pacific Seacraft
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  #1  
Old 09-11-2011
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Upgrading autopilot on PSC31

I am ready to retire the Raymarine Autohelm 4000ST+ on my PSC 31. I need something more powerful and quieter. I would be interested in hearing if any other 31 owners have installed different units, which ones and what their experience has been. I am trying to decide between getting the smallest Simrad tiller autopilot and integrate it with my CapeHorn windvane (low cost, low power consumption--autopilot just needs to rotate steering oar and then servo-pendulum uses the power of the water flow to turn rudder) or buy a separate, more powerful, i.e, expensive, autopilot that can handle bigger wind and waves, preferably underdeck. Any thoughts? Anyone have personal experience using a small autopilot with a windvane steerer to verify that it really works? Thanks.

Paul
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Paul Cooper
PSC31 #9 "Wayfarer"
Chesapeake

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Old 09-12-2011
Mondofromredondo
 
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Hi Paul,

I have a PSC 34' so I can't speak specifically to the application in a 31'.
However I had an above deck Raymarine ST4000 wheel pilot for my Cal 34'.
I'm pretty sure it was an ST4000 or maybe thats the one I have on my PSC.

Bottom line. It was a wheel pilot above the deck application.

On my PSC it is below the deck. I find it to be sooo much nicer for a couple reasons.

1. I don't have to engage anything.
2. No hardware to be exposed to the elements.
3. Dead quiet.
4. Below deck seems to be stronger and have quicker response.
5. Nothing for anyone to steal.

I have a monitor windvane but it tracks the wind direction.
My autopilot like most holds a bearing only unless a wind accessory is installed.

These boats are such high quality that it warrants spending the extra dough up front whenever installing any new device. I would definitly go under deck now.

Besides I am guessing a tiller pilot is one of those devices you need to attatch and detach to use. Thats just more work. And I recall tripping over one on another boat once. I believe I damaged it also as a result. Out of sigh out of mind.

Best of luck
Keith
'88 PSC 34'
S/V Charity Rose
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Old 09-13-2011
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Keith, what type/brand of below deck autopilot do you have on your 34'?

As for the small tiller pilot, it would be mounted in the stern lazarette and operated with a remote since the CapeHorn is all under deck transmission.

Paul
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Old 09-13-2011
Mondofromredondo
 
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Hi Paul,

I am not down at the boat at the moment so I couldn't tell you the model but it is a Raymarine.
It was already installed on my boat when I bought it.
The corepack is fairly large. Much larger than that of the Raymarine wheel pilot I once had.
The head unit where I set the autopilot to "auto / standby" etc is typical of the raymarine autopilots.
I've not looked very closely at the actual unit under the deck that physically changes the rudder direction. However it is very strong and for most applications as with a PSC it feels overbuilt which is exactly what I want on my boat. I'd consider a unit larger than needed.

I've used this autopilot in 45 kt winds with 15' seas. It was fast and responsive.
I'm sure the newer unit corepacks are far more intuitive as well.
I'd guess mine is at least 10 years old.

I think you can basically mix and match the items you want within the Raymarine family.
Get the strongest underdeck unit you can find. Pick the corepack that suits your needs.
Place the head unit where you set auto / standby in a VERY convenient location.

Set it and forget it ! Don't forget! Silence is golden. I use to hate hearing my wheel pilot motor moving the wheel back and forth. Thats why you'll truly appreciate the unit under the deck.

I'd really like to get the wind directional accessory as well.

But thats what the windvane is for I guess. Just more convenient sometimes.

Last edited by mondofromredondo; 09-13-2011 at 10:40 AM.
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