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· Old as Dirt!
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Although our primary auto-pilot is a Robertson AP, as a back-up we have an inexpensive Ray-Marine ST2000 Tiller Pilot that attaches to the wheel. For this we have a bracket that attaches to the wheel hub and the rim. Approximately 2/3rds of the distance between the hub and the rim--roughly level with the top of the seats in the cockpit--is a pin that is free to rotate with a small transverse hole that will accept the pin from the tiller-pilot. The stock length of the push-rod on the Pilot is about 2' but you can purchase extensions, if necessary. This arrangement will give our wheel about a 1/4 turn in each direction which, for our boat, is more than enough to maintain a steady course under most conditions. The tiller pilot is entirely self contained and merely needs power and has more than enough thrust to handle our boat given the advantage of the wheel.

FWIW...
 

· Old as Dirt!
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Thats a fantastic idea. Did you come up with it? does it have enough power to turn the wheel, and how does it do in following seas?
It's not my idea. The design originated in the late 1960's. We used the bracket with an earlier version of the TillerPilot on our former yacht for 20+ years but the new owner didn't want it, opting instead for a more elaborate system (which I understand he now regrets). With properly balanced sails, the system is quite effective regardless of the point of sail. Like most AP's ones course wavers a few degrees +/-. On the newer TillerPilots there is a "learn" mode that allows the Pilot to "learn" the rhythm of the yacht's track through the sea, and a "Gain" control, so that the Pilot isn't unnecessarily correcting the course and needlessly working the rudder. There is also a wind vane adapter that will allow the Pilot to keep track relative to the apparent wind using a small vane attached to one's stern rail although we don't have one.

FWIW...

PS: I don't happen to have any photos but the following is a snap from Dawn Trader's page"



The only difference with ours is that our bracket attaches between the hub and the rim, vertically when the rudder is centered; and, our Pilot fits between the edge of the seat and the bracket.
 
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· Old as Dirt!
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Wow. Thats quite awesome. Would make a great spare AP to keep safe in case of lightning strike, or primary AP failure, will look into the windvane thing. The sad part is, I had a chance to buy one of these brand new for $100, I passed it up because I do not have a tiller.

We would all love to see photos, but I doubt it will look much different then what we picture in our heads. Does it plug into a cigarette lighter? where is the compass located?
On the newer TillerPilots, the compass is a small FluxGate that is right in the body of the Pilot itself. We don't use Cigarette Lighter adapters as they are too prone to failure. Instead we have a number of Perko 2-Prong power outlets, one in the cockpit and another in the chain locker at the bow that allow us to plug in the Pilot, our Search Light, the power inflator for our dinghy etc. and other gear about the boat. E.g.

 

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good stuff, but again what is lock to lock on youre steering system?

I think this is great for quick turn wheel systems say, 1.5 to 2 turns.

Mine is 1.75 turns...

thanks again hylyte
Our wheel is just shy of 2 turns lock-to-lock but underway, even in big seas, we rarely move the wheel more than 1/4 turn in either direction, if that, so long as the sails are reasonably balanced. Balanced, most all boats will come up and fall off rhythmically with the seas by themselves if one holds the rudder steady and doesn't "chase" the compass, a tendency most novice drivers have to learn to overcome.

FWIW...
 
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