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What positive experiences have people had with autopilots ocean racing and what do people recommend. Likely for an 1D35.

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Did you bother to search SA on this boring question? (1,250 hits)

And maybe search for tits as well, far more interesting. (1,831 thits)

 

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These are the best pilots I ever found for my boat. Had them installed in the Philippines. Shown here at the wheel. But work great on the old tiller too. B)

426D3C01-C05C-4B81-B740-54ADEB2D34D4.jpeg

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only saw the text in the activity page and just knew that pic was coming ...................

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Yes I did search and yes there were a lot of responses, if it is boring to you then don't waste my time responding, not boring to me

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There are three components to an auto pilot:

  1. Drive
  2. Control head
  3. Instrument interface

So some questions:

  1. What instrument system do you have?
  2. Do you want to be able to drive to AWA and/or TWA?
  3. Is your steering tiller or wheel?
  4. Who will do the installation?
  5. Is your boat 12V or 24V?
  6. Do you plan to race, cruise and/or deliver under auto pilot?
  7. Do you expect the pilot to be able to drive off the wind with a kite up?

 

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While light and only 35' cockpit layout probably precludes having a Tiller AP for all but deliveries, but going to be more expensive with a below deck drive. If already have B&G you might as well follow suit using their Course Computer (that uses TWA or AWA) and also enjoy MFD AP control down below if you have one. Only choice left then is either electric or hydraulic drive where existing power generation/storage setup might help dictate that choice.

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1) Pelagic (now sold by Scanmar). Pretty robust drive units (industrial linear actuator not that crap that Raymarine sells and calls waterproof).
Cheap ($875 US). Spare drive units are dirt cheap at $149 (you have to remove the bracket and electrical plug off old one so not a complete plug and play replacement)https://www.scanmarinternational.com/pelagic-autopilot

Lots of folks in the Singlehanded Transpac used them. No affiliation, just a satisfied early customer .
Just noticed 24V (who has a 24V system on a 35' boat? Queenslanders sigh). Ok you'll need a 24->12V converter too.  

2) The expensive, power hungry because hydraulics (but probably a bit more powerful) solution is this:  http://minitransat650.com/leov/html/autopilots.html

3) We sailed around the world with a Raymarine 4000 GP and a few drives. The rate gyro was great and kept the boat sailing along with a kite quite happily (but it was a catamaran so not at all likely to broach). The Raymarine drives are not robust and let water in, and eventually the motor goes. I bought a Pelagic drive that the Raymarine computer was happy to actuate and had a good solution.

4) it used to be the Single handed transpac people would have a bunch of the cheaper Raymarine tiller pilots and just plug another one in when one died but a 1D35 is a bit too much boat for the Raymarine 2000/Simrad TP32. And with the Pelagic drives, they are nowhere near as good for similar money.

Weak points of all these drives seem to be:

- tiller connection (I snapped pins every 5K miles). Just have a 2nd pin already epoxied in place an inch further aft and keep sailing when pin #1 snaps. You can use 1/4" s.s. machine screws because the diameter is about the same and unscrew when it snaps. The threads make it less fatigue resistant but because it's through bolted through the tiller, much quicker to replace

- electrical plugs for option 3. Stock units are very non corrosion resistant. Had to replace lots of wire where salt water kept wicking into the wires from the connector. Pelagic's connectors are better. Of course option 2 have no electric connectors so a win there

 

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Thank you, I appreciate your comments. 

Tried a tiller connection on a TP 52 delivering it after a Hobart with a vastly reduced crew, it was useless in anything over 12 knots. Used a B&G on a Beneteau 40.7 and that was sorta ok

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1 hour ago, jack_sparrow said:

While light and only 35' cockpit layout probably precludes having a Tiller AP for all but deliveries, but going to be more expensive with a below deck drive. If already have B&G you might as well follow suit using their Course Computer (that uses TWA or AWA) and also enjoy MFD AP control down below if you have one. Only choice left then is either electric or hydraulic drive where existing power generation/storage setup might help dictate that choice.

Tiller won't work, I agree. We must have reliability and I have been advised best way is below deck, looking at a Hobrt short handed and then a trip across the Tasman in the Sydney to Auckland race

 

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1 hour ago, jack_sparrow said:

Shorthanded then a pocket remote is worth its weight in gold.

Are all the remotes as bad as the Ray S100 that takes 2 minutes to turn on every time you want to use it?

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Standbye to On will take around 30 seconds to max battery life of remote. More than that maybe a ST/NG firmware issue if are using a S100 in a NG network or the firmware AP itself or maybe marginal RF signal on account of base station location, RFI or something in the backbone like power supply entry point, more than one GPS source etc slowing pairing down.

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Is the rudder shaft exposed below deck? i.e. stuffing box / seal at lower bearing, not an enclosed rudder tube coming up to deck.

Fancy dropping the rudder to cut a keyway in the shaft for a tiller arm (I'm not sure I'd trust a clamp-on quadrant without a keyway)?

If a carbon shaft you could bond on a tiller arm a lot more easily.

 

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8 hours ago, Zonker said:

Is the rudder shaft exposed below deck? i.e. stuffing box / seal at lower bearing, not an enclosed rudder tube coming up to deck.

Fancy dropping the rudder to cut a keyway in the shaft for a tiller arm (I'm not sure I'd trust a clamp-on quadrant without a keyway)?

If a carbon shaft you could bond on a tiller arm a lot more easily.

 

Not sure, have not bought this yet, doing so shortly. All other advice I have had is under deck

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9 hours ago, Zonker said:

Is the rudder shaft exposed below deck? i.e. stuffing box / seal at lower bearing, not an enclosed rudder tube coming up to deck.

Would be unusual if shaft wasn't exposed. Most solutions done to keep raceboats watertight in case of rudder failure/dropping it to avoid tearing bottom out etc are not OEM.

Fitting arm to shaft for drive unit will be substantial chunk of the cost.

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57 minutes ago, jack_sparrow said:

Would be unusual if shaft wasn't exposed. Most solutions done to keep raceboats watertight in case of rudder failure/dropping it to avoid tearing bottom out etc are not OEM.

Fitting arm to shaft for drive unit will be substantial chunk of the cost.

Thank you jack_sparrow, i greatly appreciate your input

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Older style boats (not the 1D35) certainly had full depth rudder tubes. Not unheard of.

How is the helm load? That's really the defining factor if a tiller style unit will produce enough thrust (and fast enough) to be useful.

I don't agree that it has to be an underdeck model, given my own experience and those of a lot of single handed boats of similar size in the Singlehanded Transpac.

https://www.sfbaysss.org/main/resources/

Good discussion on Autopilots by the guy who developed the Pelagic: https://www.sfbaysss.org/resource/doc/SSS_Autopilot_011314.pdf

 

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6 hours ago, Zonker said:

How is the helm load? That's really the defining factor if a tiller style unit will produce enough thrust (and fast enough) to be useful.

I don't agree that it has to be an underdeck model, given my own experience and those of a lot of single handed boats of similar size in the Singlehanded Transpac.

Zonk this is a boat specific thread. A OD 6,500 lb, 35 footer, slick, quick and nimble rudder to boot so a tiller unit will handle it a heartbeat. However the cockpit layout it doesn't for all but deliveries, not long or short course SH racing I suggest. Then again I might have read the OP's requirements wrong.

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I wasn't really thinking about cockpit layout too much.

These tiller pilots all attach ~18" forward of the rudder shaft. For single or double handed racing, all the controls seem to be well forward of the tiller except the traveler.  Might have to have a support or extender at the cockpit side wall but certainly it doesn't seem like it would be in the way. What am I missing too?

 

Carroll Marine 1D35 1998 image 19

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Uh, I think the rudder shaft IS enclosed.  1D35 for sale in Vancouver, BC:

It's the big tube just forward of the traveler bulkhead.  Tiller pilot it is I guess.

Carroll Marine 1D35 1998 image 33

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3 minutes ago, Zonker said:

I wasn't really thinking about cockpit layout too much.

These tiller pilots all attach ~18" forward of the rudder shaft. For single or double handed racing, all the controls seem to be well forward of the tiller except the traveler.  Might have to have a support or extender at the cockpit side wall but certainly it doesn't seem like it would be in the way. What am I missing too?

When I had a smaller boat and a tiller pilot I considered putting the drive inside somewhere....under the winches perhaps. Then much like a windvane-to-tiller arrangement use a line and blocks to connect the tiller. That drive unit out in the cockpit is a disaster: water intrusion, tripping, line tangling, wires, etc. Requires super low friction blocks, BTW.

But I bought a huge boat that painlessly fits an underdeck and quadrant.

Hacking up that 1D35 hull to fit a quadrant seems like overkill.

 

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9 hours ago, jack_sparrow said:

Zonk this is a boat specific thread. A OD 6,500 lb, 35 footer, slick, quick and nimble rudder to boot so a tiller unit will handle it a heartbeat. However the cockpit layout it doesn't for all but deliveries, not long or short course SH racing I suggest. Then again I might have read the OP's requirements wrong.

You read it right, We are looking at a 1250 mile short handed race plus maybe a 650 mile race and a few 300+ mile races - all short handed

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9 hours ago, Zonker said:

Uh, I think the rudder shaft IS enclosed.  1D35 for sale in Vancouver, BC:

It's the big tube just forward of the traveler bulkhead.  Tiller pilot it is I guess.

Carroll Marine 1D35 1998 image 33

Drive below still very doable...but maybe a moment when your wallet suggests "hey  tiller cockpit clutter is better than down below the drive noise driving you mad when in the rack." 

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What races are you doing?

I have not had good experiences with H5000 pilots but that may be the operators!!!! We had an old st2000 that would steer my cat arrow straight for days but the H5000 system was all over the place.

Many monos seem to have high loads in the rudders, never quite worked out why designers do that.

What races are those?

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52 minutes ago, bushsailor said:

What races are you doing?

I have not had good experiences with H5000 pilots but that may be the operators!!!! We had an old st2000 that would steer my cat arrow straight for days but the H5000 system was all over the place.

Many monos seem to have high loads in the rudders, never quite worked out why designers do that.

What races are those?

Sydney to Auckland, Brisbane to Gladstone, Next years Brisbane to Keppel, Maybe (big maybe) S2H next year

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cats have two long skinny hulls that want to track straight. Their rigs are also above the boat (no heeling) the center of effort is not off to one side; thus less helm loads overall.

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1 hour ago, bushsailor said:

I have not had good experiences with H5000 pilots but that may be the operators!!!! We had an old st2000 that would steer my cat arrow straight for days but the H5000 system was all over the place.

My bet calibration reason the reason. H5000 is a very sophisticated AP and requires proper setup. Your ST2000 refers to head unit not AP course computer. Those old Ray S series course computers with a gyro were pretty slick and relatively speaking still so today.

The OP might be better off with a B&G cheap and cheerful model which is a rebranded Navico/Simrad.

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Pelagic.

They make a cost effective remote as an option too.

I use a Madman remote on my Ray pilot, works fine.

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On 6/27/2019 at 4:05 PM, jack_sparrow said:

My bet calibration reason the reason. H5000 is a very sophisticated AP and requires proper setup. Your ST2000 refers to head unit not AP course computer. Those old Ray S series course computers with a gyro were pretty slick and relatively speaking still so today.

The OP might be better off with a B&G cheap and cheerful model which is a rebranded Navico/Simrad.

We have had the most experienced B&G guys in the country install the system. I think it looses or changes its settings due to its learning and constantly needs fiddling with.. I really have no idea though except it is annoying. 

I agree a simple system is often better unless you are full time on a boat and happy to hose many many hours at it. An old H2000 system will often work for years and years without trouble.

 

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On 6/27/2019 at 3:14 PM, Zonker said:

cats have two long skinny hulls that want to track straight. Their rigs are also above the boat (no heeling) the center of effort is not off to one side; thus less helm loads overall.

I was referring to rudder balance, pretty simple to design a rudder that gives feeedback but doesn't need three strong men swinging on it to turn.

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We have had the most experienced B&G guys in the country ...

which country?

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Check his location !!!  OZ.

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On 6/26/2019 at 9:18 PM, bushsailor said:

Many monos seem to have high loads in the rudders, never quite worked out why designers do that

Ah, sorry missed what you mean at first. It's because (a) monohulls heel (b) not all designers have the ability to get both rudder balance and rig balance correct on every boat in every sailing condition.

When a monohull heels a lot (think a reach on a windy day) the center of effort of the sail plan is way over to leeward somewhere. This produces a turning moment which increases weather helm. And wider sterns with assymetric waterplanes also produce turning moments.

Modern deep racing spade rudders with really good and accurate foil sections reduce helm loads, but not for all conditions.

Some boats are more easily balanced by trimming main and jib in different ways to reduce weather helm and thus the helm load.

Guessing the "lead" between static CLR and CE is actually hard unless you are duplicating a very similar hull and rig.

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Don’t forget, that as water is 800 times more dense than air, a larger than 1% shift in CLE can cause a significant imbalance that could result in either weather or lee helm.  If this is the case, messing with the sailplan will do little to remedy the situation.  

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with the Ray marine system using a type 1 linear drive, what is the standby resistance on the tiller like?  is it noticeable at all?  my rudder post is exposed below - trying to decide whether to go type 1 or sort a tiller pilot arrangement.  but i have no feel for how much resistance the type 1 will give when not being used

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11 minutes ago, DanimalNZ said:

with the Ray marine system using a type 1 linear drive, what is the standby resistance on the tiller like?  is it noticeable at all?  my rudder post is exposed below - trying to decide whether to go type 1 or sort a tiller pilot arrangement.  but i have no feel for how much resistance the type 1 will give when not being used

My opinion on that is: The resistance imposed by a well maintained Type 1 drive is so low as to be unnoticeable. However there is a discernible inertia effect. It indeed moves without much friction, but your motion must spin the shaft, pulleys, and clutch mechanism. I think most drivers would opt to disconnect the actuator from the rudder arm when racing. A trivial operation if the area is accessible.

The inertia effect is present with all wheel systems. Especially if the wheel is s/s rather than carbon. The weight of the wheel must be accelerated regardless of frictional resistance. That requires work. 

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thanks, interesting - so i have a tiller - and therefore only use a tiller arm connected to the linear drive unit, i would not have the issues which flow from any pulleys (which I imagine would account for most of any resistance)?  thus, being of simpler config, its a good bet that i wouldnt notice the inertial effect?

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1 hour ago, DanimalNZ said:

thanks, interesting - so i have a tiller - and therefore only use a tiller arm connected to the linear drive unit, i would not have the issues which flow from any pulleys (which I imagine would account for most of any resistance)?  thus, being of simpler config, its a good bet that i wouldnt notice the inertial effect?

The pulleys I mentioned are the toothed belt connection inside the Type 1 unit. Very low resistance but spinning the mechanism back and forth take some small effort.

The drive would be connected to a short tiller arm under-deck (300mm?). The connection is a simple ball joint slipped over a pin with a spring clip retainer. Trivial to remove and most racers do so. Casual sailors probably not.

The Type 1 could weaponize the real tiller as it swings across the cockpit. One quickly learns to not reach for the beer can thru the wheel lest a sudden turn break a wrist, or worse spill the beer.

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I wouldnt ever trust a clamp on the shaft, a keyway is the only way to go.

I personally love the raymarine st pilots. They don't look the best, but they've always performed well for me.

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I put a Raymarine EV 200 AP with a type 1 linear drive in my Mount Gay 30 this year.  Cut the stern tube and put a gaitor seal in, and had the shaft keyed to mount the 300 mm tiller.  

I was prepared for the drag of the drive unit when hand steering, but what I hadn't considered was the restriction on rudder movement.  We had to put stops in to limit rudder rotation to about 35 degrees off center to protect the drive unit.  I have to remember that I can't spin the boat.  

I'm very happy with the performance.  But if I were doing it again I'd probably try a robust tiller mounted unit like the EV100.  

 

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1 hour ago, Jeff F said:

I was prepared for the drag of the drive unit when hand steering, but what I hadn't considered was the restriction on rudder movement.  We had to put stops in to limit rudder rotation to about 35 degrees off center to protect the drive unit.  I have to remember that I can't spin the boat.  

Yes, that is another reason racers make it easy to disconnect the drive from the A/P tiller arm: rudder limits.

Worth adding an access hole to accomplish it quickly. My travel limiter, to protect the drive, is not the recommended fixed blocking. It is a strop of spectra from the quadrant (or could be A/P tiller) to a padeye about a meter forward. It too disconnects in seconds for racing.

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still contemplating options

does or has anyone used an ST2000 for purely taxiing purposes or short term use to free up a second hand for sail changes etc when 2 handed?

for the money, thinking that could have one on deck for slapping in place when a second hand is needed for sail change/set etc

boat is 36ft, 4T displace, tiller steered

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25 of the 27 Class40s in the current Transat Jacques Vabre have NKE instruments and autopilots.  The other 2 have B&G.  Exactly zero have Raymarine or any other pilot.  Draw your own conclusions.

And before someone blathers about "French boats, french equipment", 24 boats in that fleet have Harken winches when they could have chosen Pontos now Karver.  That fleet chooses equipment based on its functionality utility, not nationality.  

 

 

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Good point. 

NKE computers - very very OK

But drives? NKE, as far as I am concerned, do not manufacture hydraulic arm?

BTW - does anyone compare JEFA direct drive vs. hydraulic by NKE, in terms of speed and power consumption?

 

 

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We talk about that a bit over in the Mini Transat thread, I still have hydraulic NKE but mines permanently attached, apparently some of the fleet now use the JEFA drive with the NKE computer but not on boats I've seen ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

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NKE uses third party r as ms, Lacomb & Schmidt.  I have found them to be effective.

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