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A melon with a dream...
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Discussion Starter #1
My boat, a '69 Columbia 28, is right on the cusp of displacement rating (6600lbs and I am at 6500lbs) between the Raymarine ST1000 and ST2000 tiller pilots. My question is, if I am going offshore and will be doing a fair amount of single-handed sailing would it be worth it to spend the extra $ to go with the ST2000? I will have alternate means of steering so will not rely on the tiller pilot 24/7, but I guess the question is if one is really that much more robustly built than the other. Anyone have experience with this? I'm going to the Seattle Boat Show in a couple of weeks and will ask a rep, but they never tend to give straight answers.
 

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'81 H22 & '86 Legend 37
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The 2000 has a heftier drive than the 1000 and will handle higher continuous tiller effort. I would suggest the 2000 as the better unit for your boat.
 

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A melon with a dream...
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Discussion Starter #3
Thank you for your reply! That was my thinking as well. And really the difference is $50-$60 or so. A mere drop when it comes to equipping a boat. ;)
 

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'81 H22 & '86 Legend 37
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Yessir. We have a Hunter 22 that we keep on Lake Superior and it has a ST1000, so I am familiar with the capabilities of those. If it even gets close to being on the "edge" I would go with the bigger 2000 so you don't strip the gear out of the smaller one. They are a pretty good tiller pilot. After you get the sensitivity adjusted so it doesn't over-react you will be happy with it and it will last a very long time. Definitely a nice crew member to have onboard if you are single handing your boat.
 

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From folks I know of with boats the size of yours and mine, the 2000 for semi protected area's works well. OFF SHORE.......better step up to the next sized larger YET! I'm looking at getting a Simrad TP32 which is stronger than the 2000 you are looking at, and the rep told me the 32 may work off shore, but better to go one size larger yet if truly going off shore. I was told the same thing about raymarine. Puget sound where I am, not big to 30 knot winds, higher........a tiller pilot is toasted!

marty
 

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'81 H22 & '86 Legend 37
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75 Posts
I think for offshore cruising the windvane is a better option for tiller boats. The harder it blows and the heavier the seas the better they work without drawing a single amp-hour of battery power. It takes about 10-12 kts for a windvane to work properly. So use the electric tiller pilot for backup or motoring when there is no wind or very light air. Use the windvane as primary for most of your offshore sailing.

Used to be that all offshore cruisers had windvanes. They have fallen out of favor with today's electric stuff and people's affection for it. But that doesn't mean the old windvane don't work.
 

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A melon with a dream...
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208 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
From folks I know of with boats the size of yours and mine, the 2000 for semi protected area's works well. OFF SHORE.......better step up to the next sized larger YET! I'm looking at getting a Simrad TP32 which is stronger than the 2000 you are looking at, and the rep told me the 32 may work off shore, but better to go one size larger yet if truly going off shore. I was told the same thing about raymarine. Puget sound where I am, not big to 30 knot winds, higher........a tiller pilot is toasted!

marty
As much as I like the idea of something even more robust than the ST2000, Raymarine doesn't offer it, and I am going with a Raymarine network setup. I would like to do a windvane as part of the self-steering system, but I have a lot of stuff to do to the boat and that carries a pretty hefty price tag. So I will probably set up a sheet to tiller system part of the time, tiller pilot part of the time, and maybe even (eeek!) hand steer for some of it.
 

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The ST2000 will turn the tiller or wheel from lock to lock faster than the ST1000 also.
Don't forget to consider a remote control for your autopilot if you're single handing.
 

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'81 H22 & '86 Legend 37
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Raymarine Smartpilot - Drive Unit Selection

You will want to go to something like this, that attaches direct to the shaft of the tiller. MUCH stronger than an actual tiller pilot. This will also run with ALL the raymarine electronics.
In my opinion that would be overkill for a Columbia 28. The ST2000 will be just fine and pretty much play with the tiller as far as straining or effort from the unit. You're steering a boat with a balanced rudder here, not a skeg mounted or full keel rudder. The tiller effort is not that high on a Columbia 28 (which is a really nice boat, BTW!).
 

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A melon with a dream...
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208 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
Raymarine Smartpilot - Drive Unit Selection

You will want to go to something like this, that attaches direct to the shaft of the tiller. MUCH stronger than an actual tiller pilot. This will also run with ALL the raymarine electronics.

Marty
Thanks for the tip, Marty. I had considered this, but on my boat the rudder post is encased in a fiberglass sleeve under the cockpit sole so it isn't exposed. I wouldn't be able to mount it below deck. The more I've read I think the ST2000 should be able to handle my boat well enough.
 

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'81 H22 & '86 Legend 37
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Thanks for the tip, Marty. I had considered this, but on my boat the rudder post is encased in a fiberglass sleeve under the cockpit sole so it isn't exposed. I wouldn't be able to mount it below deck. The more I've read I think the ST2000 should be able to handle my boat well enough.
On a larger boat where you have a fully encased stuffing box/rudder post below deck you would fashion a tiller arm in back of your tiller and the linear actuator drives that tiller arm. They are designed to backdrive the rudder post.

But frankly, I would spend my money on a windvane before I'd go to that extreme, and use the ST2000 for backup. Or use them together. A Monitor windvane is going to be a bit more expensive than a Ray Marine full autopilot system. But if you want utmost reliability and no power consumption on offshore passages there has still never been anything invented that beats a windvane. Especially in a big blow. I've lost count of how many autopilots I've seen with the smoke let out (and they don't work without that factory smoke in them) from being overworked in heavy seas. With a windvane, the harder it blows the better it likes it. And if it would break, there is nothing on them that can't be repaired onboard.
 

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Me personally, I would go with what was the sPX5 I recall from RM. The link I did is the new stuff/name etc. From folks on a jeanneau-owners forum, have had issues with st4000's which is stronger than the st2000 in 3-5' seas. Granted the boats are closer to 8-9K lbs, 30' vs 28'LOD and 6500 lbs like my Jeanneau and the OPs Ranger.......

Assuming true off shore! with the potential for 10-20' seas, winds into the 30-40 knot range. From my reading an ST2000 will be smoking and dead in the water. Then one will be using some other form of steering etc. So, reality as "cruisingcouple" mentions a wind vane for the main work, and st2000 for lighter days. I know the 1000 is not on my list, the 2000 barely, would prefer a 4000 if they made them......not wanting to spend the $$$ on an SPX5 or newest equal, unless I could get a really smokinh deal on a last one out there. That would work better than the simrad, as I have st60 guages. But one can wire them together.

Marty
 

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'81 H22 & '86 Legend 37
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Well, despite the fact that people do it, I will offer that depending on an autopilot in 20 foot seas and 40kt wind is a good way to get knocked down. All an autopilot can do is steer a course. It can't read the seas like the skipper can. In those conditions it is prudent for the skipper to be at the helm and not huddled below deck letting a machine steer the boat.
 

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A melon with a dream...
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Discussion Starter #15
Jeepers cats! I had only read about the SPX5 but had never priced a system. Around $1400. I appreciate the suggestion and it would be great to have, but then again so would a lot of things... like about seven more feet LOA. :D For my budget I will go with the ST2000, a sheet to tiller system, and hand steering for the time being. Unless I can pick up a Monitor windvane or something like it at a bargain price. And really, my plan is to head down the West Coast, hang out in the Sea of Cortez for a bit, and then make my way down to Panama. After I get through the Canal I will head for the USVI. If I were planning to head out for long, open ocean passages for extended periods (like going to and around the South Pacific) I would put a more robust self-steering system up higher on the list. But as it is I think I can make it down the West Coast with what I lined out above. That will be the bulk of my offshore time for the time being. I realize Mexico to Panama is nothing to sneeze at, but I am thinking I will pick my way down and stop in in more places.
 

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'81 H22 & '86 Legend 37
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If I were planning to head out for long, open ocean passages for extended periods (like going to and around the South Pacific) I would put a more robust self-steering system up higher on the list. But as it is I think I can make it down the West Coast with what I lined out above..
mrhoneydew - I'm confident it will work fine for you. Save your money for cruising instead of the biggest and best gadgets you can buy. It seems these days people are afraid to leave the harbor unless they got more electronics on the boat than the boat is worth :)

When you get through the Canal take a week and anchor at San Andres on your way to the Virgin Islands and do some snorkeling or diving around the reefs. It is absolutely beautiful there. It's only about 250nm from Panama. The Virgin Islands are OK. But as long as you're on that side of Central America jump on the trades and sail to Belize and Ambergris Caye. You won't want to leave. You'll never be heard from again because you'll be kicked back on the boat sipping on a cold one, wondering why you never got here sooner ;)
 

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As much as I like the idea of something even more robust than the ST2000, Raymarine doesn't offer it, and I am going with a Raymarine network setup. I would like to do a windvane as part of the self-steering system, but I have a lot of stuff to do to the boat and that carries a pretty hefty price tag. So I will probably set up a sheet to tiller system part of the time, tiller pilot part of the time, and maybe even (eeek!) hand steer for some of it.
You can buy the X5 and the Evo with tiller rams. That is the next upgrade from the ST2000.

I've also read that these autopilots can do course correction 5 times per second vs 1 time per second on the ST2000/ST1000. I haven't been able to find anything to back that up, but I can say that the X5 on my new boat is a better autopilot than the ST2000 was on my old boat. I was originally disappointed that it cost 3x more, but overall it's been a worthy upgrade.

The ball drive of the ST2000 is much more robust than the screw drive of the ST1000. It's worth the extra little money, even on a 22' boat.
 

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A melon with a dream...
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208 Posts
Discussion Starter #18
CruisingCouple- I'm with you... keep it on the simple side. The extra $1000 would go a long way toward beer down South. I do tend to get a little caught up in the blinky cool gadgets, bells, and whistles though. I am constantly having to tell myself to pare down. But that is why Sailnet is such a great sounding board. Also, thank you for the cruising tips. I definitely plan to look around more than simply shooting through the Canal and making a beeline for USVI. Time will depend on budget.. but hey, I just saved $1000! ;) My reason for USVI as a destination is I could feasibly work there without the hassles of immigration.

Alex W- Thanks for weighing in. Perhaps I didn't dig enough, but the "ball-drive vs, screw drive" is exactly the type of info I was actually looking for but hadn't found. If someone decides to throw an X5 system my way for cheap I'll go for it, but otherwise I think the $1000 would be better spent elsewhere (see beer comment above). If you had seen the current state of my boat you would totally understand. I have a lot to do.
 

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'81 H22 & '86 Legend 37
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CruisingCouple- I'm with you... keep it on the simple side. The extra $1000 would go a long way toward beer down South.
Now you're talking our kind of cruising! :D

Sort of off-topic, but it's going to cost you $1875US just to get through the Canal. And you have to provide meals to your Advisor, and probably have to hire line handlers unless you plan to have enough crew onboard. Minimum speed in the Canal is 8kts. There's some pretty hefty currents in there and if you can't maintain speed they'll make you turn around and charge you a fee. You may have to pay for a Canal tow from another handline boat that can tow you at minimum speed.

Yep. If you plan on doing the Canal, better save your funds for cruising ;)

If you're starting out from the Pacific NW and your ultimate destination is the Caribbean it's cheaper, way less hassle, and will make your cruising experience on a smaller boat much more enjoyable to have your boat hauled to the Gulf instead of doing the Canal. Unless you've done something to get a little more snoose from the Atomic 4 in your Columbia you may be denied transit.
 

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A melon with a dream...
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Discussion Starter #20
Well shoot! Even if it is off-topic, it's pretty useful information. Looks like Cape Horn it is! ;) I knew the Panamanian Extortion Service wouldn't be cheap, but wasn't aware of the 8 knot minimum. I'm not sure I could do 8 knots even if I dropped in a new 60hp diesel. By the time I head out the boat will have a newly rebuilt Atomic 5411 diesel in it, but that's still no speed demon. As much as I really hate the idea of hauling a 28 foot sailboat over land, it might be the better option. I'll have to give it some thought... it's just over 1400 miles from San Diego to Corpus Christi. Maybe it would be reasonable to go that route. Thanks for the tip!
 
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