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Discussion Starter #1
We managed to wreck our Raymarine ST4000+ wheel pilot in some heavy winds and seas last week - just too much load for too long. I talked to Thumper at PSC this morning and he confirmed my fears of installing a below-decks autopilot on our 34 (really difficult).

What types of autopilots are being used on 34's and 37's ? We're looking at the X5 wheel pilot as a simple replacement but maybe someone's figured out a better solution ?

Thanks,
Sam
sv Grace PSC34 #163
 

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Mondofromredondo
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This probably isn't he answer your looking for.
I had an ST 4000 on my Cal 34 and now I have the ST5000 linear drive on my PSC. I would never go back to that noisy wheel drive.
It pays to put equipment on the PSC that is relative in quality scale.

Keith
PSC 34
S/V Charity Rose
 

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I use the Raymarine 3000 - seems to work really well. However, when the wind's up I much prefer to use the Monitor Wind Vane - no noise and the harder she blows, the more power she has! A little pricey perhaps, but installation is quite easy - and makes the boat look like a real cruiser! ;)
 

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I installed a Raymarine below decks autopilot on my PSC 34 without too much difficulty. The boat already had a mounting bracket installed to hold the linear drive and the Edson bronze tiller arm for the rudder post however. If you don't already have them, they're not hard to get. Since you're using the boat in challenging conditions, its probably well worth the trouble and extra cost.
 

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Sam, Good to hear from you and Ginger. We are sitll having our SSCA lunch meetings here in Houston. You may recall Kindred spirit has a Smartpilot system pak with the linear drive. Wasn,t too difficult to install but works much more accurately. The cost is high but worth my expense and labor. This is one I would do over with no changes. Doug Griffith
 

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I just noticed the request for pictures of the install. For now I have a picture prior to the install showing the aluminum bracket for the linear drive (right side of photo, may be available from PSC - not sure because my boat came with it already installed) and the bronze Edson tiller arm (attached to the rudder post, available from an Edson dealer, spec's on the Edson website, PSC may also be able to get it at a good price for you). I'll take a picture of the installed linear drive and rudder position sensor and post it in the next day or two. I understand the newest units do not come with or (supposedly) require the rudder position sensor, but I've seen some posts where people have had problems without one. You might want to research that topic a little.

One item to take note of regarding the tiller arm installation . . . based on the recommendations from Edson and the geometries involved, one would end up attaching the linear drive shaft nearly at the end of the tiller arm. This should not actually be done with the PSC34 however because you'll have interference with the cockpit scupper drain hoses. My tiller arm had the correct hole position already drilled, which was several positions in toward the center (I'd have to measure it since I don't remember the exact postion off hand).
 

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access on PSC37

Is the access the same on the pacific seacraft voyagemaker 37, through the cockpit floor?

Keep reading how access is a squeeze, then see this an looks easy.

I wish to put a below deck auto pilot the the afore mentioned. Any experience or advice (and photo) much appreciated
 

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On our 37 we installed a gen set in the space just below the wheel. Psc installed the ram for the auto pilot on the bulkhead just behind the water heater starboard side. Because I filled that space with the Panda I needed another option. I called Don Kohlmann at the old factory and he went out to a 37 being built and gave me some critical measurments. Since I cut the bulkhead between the engine room and the starboard deep locker and made it removeable to access the quadrant and Gen set, there was my option. I had a 1/2 " L shaped SS bracket 6"x6" that I thru bolted to the back bulkhead in the before mentioned locker with a 6x6 backing plate of 1/2" ss. Cut a hole in the removable door to the engine room and have the ram moving port to starboard instead of bow to stearn. I bought a stick shift boot from the auto parts store and fit it to the ram and the door to dress it up and provide a noise and water seal. When you use the long shaft raymarine ram you limit the rudder movement to 70 degrees port to starboard that matches their rudder angle gauge. I bought some dolly wheels to slip over the rudder stops to make up for the difference. I have adapted to the loss of 20 degrees
steering. It was easy to run the wires to the Smart pilot brain mounted midships behind the dinette just above and to the right of the battery box. Also easy to access to change fuses if need be. I put the flux gate in the head on the oak mast support facing forward close to the coach roof. That was in 2003 and I have never had a failure. Raymarine builds a stout system that includes a gyro compass that steadys the course in waves. Two thumbs up for this auto pilot. I even have a wireless remote that works anywhere on the boat. Best money I have spent to date. I will down load pics if anyone wishes to see. Doug Griffith PSC37 #249 Kindred Spirit.
 

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Sam,
Before we bought Indigo, we looked at a number of other PSC 34s. One (a 1995 model) had a below deck auto pilot. I cannot remember the make or model, but it does appear to be doable.
 

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. . . Finally was able to take a picture showing an installed below-decks auto-pilot on a PSC34. I used steel braces (from Lowes, hand cut to needed length, isolated from the aluminum mounting bracket and also the linear drive with "custom cut" plastic from a milk carton, painted for rust-proofing) to mount the linear drive to the bracket to get the correct positioning (existing bracket didn't extend far enough to center and was mounted too low) . . . there was probably a better way, but this worked and is very strong. I used an L-shaped (for strength) piece of aluminum (also from Lowes) running port-starboard to mount the rudder position sensor. If you do this, be careful the starboard cockpit scupper seacock handle is able to move fully from open to closed position. The linear drive needs to connect to the tiller arm toward the middle of the arm so it doesn't interfere with the port cockpit scupper drain hose, but stay outboard as far as possible otherwise. I'm sure this can be much improved upon, but it's one workable approach.
 

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Cloud Messenger's linear drive

On Cloud Messenger we have a Robertson/Simrad linear drive pilot that is mounted differently (I think) than any of the other descriptions here. Ours is not mounted in the "engine room". Cloud Messenger has three lockers lids in the cockpit, two of which are smallish located port and starboard of the rudder post (sorry I don't know the proper name for these lockers). The rudder post comes up through the bottom of this locker space and terminates just below where the helmsman would sit. Between the floor of this locker and the top of the rudder post there is plenty of room to attach an arm to the rudder post, and the locker itself (either port or starboard..... ours is on the port side) is big enough to house the motor/ram with plenty of room to store other gear......
Just make sure the ram and arm can move freely without hitting other stored gear.

I don't know if this is an option on a PSC 34 but thought others might be interested in hearing how ours is installed.

I tried posting a picture, but I guess it's too big for the system. If anybody is interested I can try posting it again tomorrow.
David Schachter
Cloud Messenger PSC 37 #293
San Francisco, CA.
(currently in Oriental, NC.)
 

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What a coincidence. My ST4000Plus gave up the ghost about a week before that (while single-handing offshore in 10 foot waves and 20-25 kts). I did a lot of research on the things and found lots of bad press--and, yes, the noise really reduces the joy of turning off the engine and sailing. I think a new belt will fix mine, but I have decided to install a Cape Horn windvane and integrate it with the smallest push-rod type tiller autopilot for compass steering. The servo-pendulum does all the work so a strong autopilot is not needed. I really think this is the way to go. I have sent in my deposit on the CapeHorn (Yves has been extremely helpful) and will be installing it in the Spring (10% discount for waiting). I will let the forum know how it goes. I'm pretty excited about it.

Paul
 

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I see many of the Cape Horn installation photos show steering lines attached directly to the steering quadrent, which allows the vane to backup the regular steering in case of a steering cable faillure, etc.. This is also a benefit of the below-decks auto-pilot with tiller arm (although the below-decks AP w/ tiller arm still works if the bolt connecting the steering quadrent to the rudder post fails - rare, but happens). Of course most wind vanes attach their steering lines to the steering wheel instead, so the Cape Horn method seems like a better approach if you're concerned about redundancy (I'd need a few weeks of therapy before drilling that big hole anywhere near the waterline though). If the vane hardware itself fails (and therefore the small tiller pilot isn't useful either), for me it'd be nice to have the below decks auto-pilot available as a fully redundant AP system. I'm waiting a while to install a wind vane (since I'm only crusing locally for now), so its nice to use a capable AP in the mean time. I notice the Hydrovane has an option for an actual backup rudder, which is appealing in the spirit of having as much redundancy as possible for long distance crusing. Even with a below-decks AP, I'd still add a tiller pilot to work with a vane for low energy consumption (and additional redundancy).
 

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Thanks for posting this as it's on my project list in a 31. Any chance you could send me a larger photo? stevemac00 at gmail.com
(I tried to PM you but was not allowed.)
 

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Discussion Starter #17
I don't know if the Cape Horn will behave differently than a Monitor but I cannot use our Monitor while the engine's running. The prop wash causes the vane to overcompensate and it will not settle into a course.

I'm always amazed at how often we motor sail. We prefer to sail using the Monitor but weather and time tend to conspire against us...

Sam
s/v Grace PSC34 #163
 

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I don't know if the Cape Horn will behave differently than a Monitor but I cannot use our Monitor while the engine's running. The prop wash causes the vane to overcompensate and it will not settle into a course.
I have, but I have a 2-blade prop and kept the speed
down to 5 knots to minimize prop wash. And assuming
its light wind conditions, it helps alot to have the light-
air wind vane.
Tom
 

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Is the access the same on the pacific seacraft voyagemaker 37, through the cockpit floor?

Keep reading how access is a squeeze, then see this an looks easy.

I wish to put a below deck auto pilot the the afore mentioned. Any experience or advice (and photo) much appreciated
The pictures are of C34 but access on the newer 37s (at least from 1989 on) is thru an access hatch in the forward part of cockpit.

I installed a WH belowdecks autopilot on Crazy Fish and I ended up spending quite a bit of time behind the engine but there seemed to be plenty of access.

The hydraulic ram installed on the starboard bulkhead and the bulkhead needed to be reinforced to support the forces involved. Reinforcement was done with a piece of mahogany, West System epoxy and a layer or two of fiberglass mat.

Autopilot was installed with in 97 and I was very happy with the support from WH and the autopilot itself. Largely made up of robust off-the-shelf components easily replaced without buying from WH if needed. That said I have never had to replace any component.

Regards
Marc Hall
Crazy Fish, Crealock 37, Hull 207
 

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bill norrie
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We have a tiller on Terrwyn ( PSC 37 hull no. 231) and are looking at a below deck Auto Pilot ( to back up to our Monitor Windvane ) how to access rudder stock, Any suggestions please ? where to cut into the glass rudder post tube and is this required ?? necessary ???
Thanking you all,
Bill
 
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