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Tiller Autopilot for a Farr40

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Hey guys, I will be participating in as many races as possible this year which means I will have to do a lot of deliveries of more than 24hours...

 

So, I want to put a tiller autopilot on my Farr40. (Hull 182 ; 12 ton)

 

Any recommendations? She has a KVH Sailcomp103ac display compass which

  • Interfaces with other NMEA 0183-compatible equipment; links to Loran or GPS to display cross-track error, distance to waypoint, and bearing to waypoint information

So what do I need as far as autopilot computers are concerned?

And please recommend a tiller autopilot model.

Is it possible to mount an autopilot to the rudder post somehow instead of having a big piston running across the deck. All the tillerpilots i see online seem to be mounted to a gunwale and the tiller.

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if you are attaching an autopilot to the quadrant or rudder post it isn't really a tiller pilot.

 

you can put an autopilot ram on a quadrant on the rudder post quite easily.

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yeah, I think you're mixing 2 different solutions.

 

Solution 1: cheap - likely fine for deliveries is a tiller pilot. I had a Raymarine X5 (I think that was the model) on an Express 37. Did the job just fine.

 

Solution 2: more robust, good for shorthanded racing, etc. An under-deck mounted hydraulic ram connected to a smart autopilot computer. We had B&G on the Santa Cruz 50 with a 3rd party ram. Sensitive, can't say how it worked for racing as we were only doing full crew stuff. It had some sort of learning algorithms that got the steering better over time.

 

Check Defender, Mauri Pro, whoever for costs.

 

If you are just doing deliveries, and expect fair weather, the tiller pilot should be fine. Check capacities.

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Concur with those who suggest attaching the drive unit to the quadrant. This keeps it out of the weather for reliability, and increases safety if the steering cable ever breaks, as you can still drive the boat without the wheel.

 

Most of the big companies have piliots that are reliable with different levels of performance. I have an older Raymarine S1G (no longer made) that performs well on my J/109. It has a Raymarine type 1 linear drive (electric motor and clutch) that is attached to a tiller arm by the quadrant below decks. The same drive unit is used on the new Evo systems that perform well.

 

B&G/Simard has some good units that are effective. I did a delivery last year on a boat that had the AC12 controller with B&G Touch and the Triton displays. I really like the controls and interface. The owner kept the B&G electronics but ditched the B&G hydraulics and installed a Jefa Type 1 direct drive - all electric, lower power than the B&G hydraulics and no noise.

 

A consideration is if you have invested in a chart plotter, you'll find using that vendor's autopilot will give you the most features on the plotter to control the autopilot. I borrowed a B&G Touch and attached it to my NMEA 2000 network and found that it received and transmitted basic Nav data, but could not use the pilot control features in the B&G to drive the Raymarine pilot with all the B&G features. I could set a compass bearing, or give it a waypoint to steer, then enable the autopilot using the Raymarine control head. The B&G would not directly control the autopilot (e.g. transition from stanby to drive, manually change the rudder angle, etc.).

 

I would reccomend the B&G Triton systems and if you wanted to go top end pair it with the Jefa drive. Lower cost would be the Raymarine Evolution 200 with the Type 1 linear drive.

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Hey guys, I will be participating in as many races as possible this year which means I will have to do a lot of deliveries of more than 24hours...

 

So, I want to put a tiller autopilot on my Farr40. (Hull 182 ; 12 ton)

 

Any recommendations? She has a KVH Sailcomp103ac display compass which

 

  • Interfaces with other NMEA 0183-compatible equipment; links to Loran or GPS to display cross-track error, distance to waypoint, and bearing to waypoint information
So what do I need as far as autopilot computers are concerned?

And please recommend a tiller autopilot model.

Is it possible to mount an autopilot to the rudder post somehow instead of having a big piston running across the deck. All the tillerpilots i see online seem to be mounted to a gunwale and the tiller.

I've been told that a tiller steer auto pilot that is mounted above decks is a better that one mounted below decks.

 

The reason is if all hell breaks loose and you need to take control of the helm the above deck auto helm is far better because all you need to do is just disconnect the auto helm off the tiller and you have control in seconds. If you have a below deck auto helm you need to turn it off to get control of the boat or you will be fighting the helm as it tries to auto correct back to the programmed course.

 

The tiller mount unit will also try to auto correct, but will have no pressure on the unit and will be less likely to fail or be damaged.

 

Pulpit

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Pulpit - I guess this is a personal preference area but having used both tiller mounted and below deck quadrant mounted pilots, I prefer below decks mounted version. I've been able to take manual control on the below deck ones very easy, if there is a control head by the helm, or a remote just by pushing the standby button to disengage the clutch. On the tiller pilot, I actually had to fight to get it off the pin on the tiller while it was under load when sea conditions were squirrelly. This has not happened to me, but if there is a hard fault and the controller doesn't work, removing power will disengage the clutch, where on a tiller pilot that is not the case, it needs to be physically removed from the tiller.

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Hey guys, I will be participating in as many races as possible this year which means I will have to do a lot of deliveries of more than 24hours...

 

So, I want to put a tiller autopilot on my Farr40. (Hull 182 ; 12 ton)

 

Any recommendations? She has a KVH Sailcomp103ac display compass which

  • Interfaces with other NMEA 0183-compatible equipment; links to Loran or GPS to display cross-track error, distance to waypoint, and bearing to waypoint information
So what do I need as far as autopilot computers are concerned?

And please recommend a tiller autopilot model.

Is it possible to mount an autopilot to the rudder post somehow instead of having a big piston running across the deck. All the tillerpilots i see online seem to be mounted to a gunwale and the tiller.

I've been told that a tiller steer auto pilot that is mounted above decks is a better that one mounted below decks.

 

The reason is if all hell breaks loose and you need to take control of the helm the above deck auto helm is far better because all you need to do is just disconnect the auto helm off the tiller and you have control in seconds. If you have a below deck auto helm you need to turn it off to get control of the boat or you will be fighting the helm as it tries to auto correct back to the programmed course.

 

The tiller mount unit will also try to auto correct, but will have no pressure on the unit and will be less likely to fail or be damaged.

 

Pulpit

 

 

You've been misled...

 

A true belowdecks autopilot is disconnected with the press of a button. In fact, the biggest drawback of a tiller pilot in the cockpit is the need to physically disengage it from the tiller to steer.

 

Tiller pilot are much, much, much more likely to fail than a belowdecks autopilot, because A) they are exposed to weather and b ) they are often made of cheap materials.

If you have the choice between a tiller pilot and a belowdecks autopilot they only, only, only reason to choose the tiller pilot is cost. The belowdecks is better at everything else. Okay, a tiller pilot draws less power, but rarely is that significant to the decision.

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All decent AP control heads will put a tiller mounted drive into standby at the push of a button with no need to physically disengage the drive. There is nothing wrong with the quality of tiller mounted drives...many happily spin around the globe. Put careful thought into drive instalation for mechanical advantage v rudder angle, fixing security and ease of connection / disconnection. All course computers will take NMEA....gyro enabled preferred.

 

Putting in a below deck tiller arm just to have a below deck drive for part time use is a waste of time and money....use the bucks elsewhere to go faster.

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I was going to say the only drive unit for your size boat is the Raymarine but the Pelagic unit seems very interesting. Only thing that bugs me is the IP65 ratingnon the drive unit. Probably no worse than a Raymarine one which seems only to withstand a light dew...

 

Our GP tiller drive has mostly steered our 40' cat across the Indian and Pacific ocean. Sometimes it has been swapped out for a regular ST4000 drive. Just recently it stripped its little plastic gears. The X5 drive computer has been very reliable.

 

For coastal deliveries a tiller drive will do O.k.

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All decent AP control heads will put a tiller mounted drive into standby at the push of a button with no need to physically disengage the drive. There is nothing wrong with the quality of tiller mounted drives...many happily spin around the globe. Put careful thought into drive instalation for mechanical advantage v rudder angle, fixing security and ease of connection / disconnection. All course computers will take NMEA....gyro enabled preferred.

Putting in a below deck tiller arm just to have a below deck drive for part time use is a waste of time and money....use the bucks elsewhere to go faster.

After going on Standby, what tiller drives allow you to actually move the tiller? Most are effectively locked at whatever position you hit standby. I'm very interested in the one that doesn't.

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Rol I am unaware of any tiller drive that has an inbuilt clutch to allow hand steering without physically disengaging the drive. I have seen some adaptations but all forgettable.

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PM sent. The loads exhibited by the rudder might be higher than a mechanical ram can provide and necessitate a quadrant mounted hydraulic unit.

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PM sent. The loads exhibited by the rudder might be higher than a mechanical ram can provide and necessitate a quadrant mounted hydraulic unit.

A quadrant or below deck tiller arm offers up no more mechanical advantage than a tiller and in fact often less and large electro-mechanical ram drives are good for up to around a 20 tonne sailboat, so hydraulic is superfluous for a Farr40.

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