birger75

Double handed Farr 30 sailing -> autopilot

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Hi,

I have been thinking of sailing double handed with my Farr 30 this year. We have a B&G H5000 instrument system setup wich works great and now we need a tiller autopilot.

So far I'm thinking 

1) simple tiller autopilot with N2K support should work (Simrad or Raymarine)

2) Raymarine has a tiller arm that possibly could be connected with the h5000 pilot computer - this is most likely the best solution, perhaps overkill

 

For option 2 to work I would need a rudder sensor installed.- any good Ideas to how that could be done above deck? or if there is a tiller drive with feedback i could connect as an analogue sensor?

/B

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Also look into Pelagic autopilots. More robust than Raymarine.

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I picked up simrad TP10 tiller pilot on ebay and installed on my FT10 last fall. My goal was to keep it as simple, lightweight and minimalist as possible with it being a sportboat. I don't plan to cross oceans, just deliveries and something to hold the tiller while do occasional tasks single or double-handing. The only thing wished I had was wireless remote operation. I looked at the pelagic, but it just seemed like a bit of beast and overkill for my needs. 

 

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On 3/21/2020 at 2:06 PM, birger75 said:

tiller autopilot

I wouldn't go tiller unless you really can't avoid it. I suspect on something powered up like a Farr 30 it will let you down at the crucial moment during your kite drop.

Haven't been below decks on a Farr 30 for years but if it's anything like my boat there is a glassed in rudder tube and a carbon fibre rudder stock? If so you can chop a bit out of the middle of the tube and bond a removable quadrant (so you can still drop the rudder) to the stock. If you are lucky there will be a useful bulkhead nearby to mount a proper drive unit to.

Most of these units have a simple split pin arrangement on the drive arm so you can crawl back there and connect it when you are not using it to remove friction if you like :-)

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Go Pelagic.  Much better than Raymarine - I know this. And should be cheaper as well.   Make sure to get the remote as well. It's invaluable.

Here is a photo of the control head and drive arm on my Olson 30.

 

Pelagic Autopilot.jpg

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Thanks, looks good. 

How is this for sailing in wind angles?

Can we integrate with NMEA 2000?

 

kind regards

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On 3/21/2020 at 7:06 AM, birger75 said:

Hi,

I have been thinking of sailing double handed with my Farr 30 this year. We have a B&G H5000 instrument system setup wich works great and now we need a tiller autopilot.

So far I'm thinking 

1) simple tiller autopilot with N2K support should work (Simrad or Raymarine)

2) Raymarine has a tiller arm that possibly could be connected with the h5000 pilot computer - this is most likely the best solution, perhaps overkill

 

For option 2 to work I would need a rudder sensor installed.- any good Ideas to how that could be done above deck? or if there is a tiller drive with feedback i could connect as an analogue sensor?

/B

 

I'm also looking into doing this on my 30/30 for shorthanded racing, I currently have Raymarine ST2000+ hooked up to NMEA0183.

I have been doing alot of research on my next AP.

From what I understand The B&G and NKE will drive better then a Pro.

I would do a H5000 if you can afford it. Its about $5000+/- for computer, CPU, rudder feedback sensor, And gyro compass.

Simrad rudder sensor has a 120 degree limit, so if tiller does 360's it will need a ruddeer stop. you will need a AP controller, If you have Chart Plotter, MFD, that can be used.

The rudder sensor is a good/should have performance upgrade. But NOT a must have!!!

I wouldn't bother with Hydra or Performance upgrades. after reading instructions they are geared more towards canting keels and daggerboards on a large ocean racing hotrods.

For tiller drive you will need the pelagic drive, raymarine Q047, or DIY linear drive.

 

Also look into Raymarine EV100 Tiller, It is SeatalkNG/NMEA2000. It will run about $1700 with AP, Rudder Sensor, And STNG/N2K cable. You can hook a remote up for less then $400. Madmen marine remote, Raymarine "E22158" ST1 to STNG ($90)

Only problem I found is the raymarine rudder sensor has a limit of 60 degrees.  I was unable to figure out if that's a mechanical stop or just its sensing range. If it's a mechanical stop, it might be overcome with a linkage ratio over 1:1. (as my tiller will move about 75 degrees and there is no chance of a hard stop being installed on my boat).

I'm sure the EV100 is nowhere near as good as the H5000 as the price will tell.

 

I just found out about The Pelagic AP ($1000) and will need a Antisense NGW1 gateway ($200) for wind sensor. I was concerned that it didn't have a rudder sensor and will continue with more research on this item.

I did notice that the Pelagic tiller drive plug had 3 Pins. Maybe it has a servo motor, a limit switch, a reference sensor, or just a extra pin.

 

My biggest pet peeve with autopilot without rudder reference sensor is

The AP computer has no idea what the rudder angle is. Try to imagine driving a boat without knowing what the rudder angle is. You would have no feedback of weather helm, if you are hard over or not, cannot anticipate wave motions. also if over heeled and need to come up a bit, know how much rudder angle to give up.

My ST1000,2000 AP is lacking all of this. when the helm is hard over the motor will continue running against the stop dramatically shorting its life. it would be salved with a simple limit switch. I'm guessing this is intentional because it will destroy its self within a few years (shortly after the warranty expires) As i use mine all the time . Then you need to buy another one.

 

My Criteria for an autopilot for Double/Single handed racing.

Remote control, Ability to steer to apparent wind angles, rudder sensor.

 

 

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If you already have a well sorted H5000 instrument package, I think the cleanest solution is their pilot package. You might want to check out the Pelagic ram however, my understanding is the supplier is the same as the B&G but the price more reasonable. I also think a below decks solution is the better approach.

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Quote

Only problem I found is the raymarine rudder sensor has a limit of 60 degrees.

The Evo doesn't require a rudder feedback sensor, nor did the X-5 & ST4000+.    

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Look into the Octopus RS sailboat drive. I’ve seen some very effective installations on tiller steered boats this size. There are some versions that have an internal rudder angle sensor. I know they are compatible with nke so probably will work with the B&G as well. 

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On 3/29/2020 at 10:00 AM, Snowden said:

I suspect on something powered up like a Farr 30 it will let you down at the crucial moment during your kite drop.

I use a Raymarine EV-100 with the tiller arm single handed and doublehanded all the time. it not only doesn't let me down, it sometimes drives better than I do, as long as you keep the rig balanced.

That said, I replaced the stupid press-fit electrical socket with a locking socket designed for a trolling motor. works a treat.

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On 10/19/2020 at 5:44 PM, BobC said:

Look into the Octopus RS sailboat drive. I’ve seen some very effective installations on tiller steered boats this size. There are some versions that have an internal rudder angle sensor. I know they are compatible with nke so probably will work with the B&G as well. 

+1. Just started a thread on this. Says it works with all popular systems. Biggest reason I was looking for is one that can be connected permanently and not need to be disconnected when in standby mode. Seems like a game changer to me. I hate trying to drop the ram onto the pin in rough seas.

https://octopusdrives.com/products/type-rs-sailboat-drives/

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It looks like the Octopus RS would require a quadrant though.  A lot of tiller boats (including mine) have the rudder shaft going through a sealed tube that isn't exposed anywhere inside the hull.  I'd guess that the Farr 30 could be like this, but I haven't been inside of one.

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From the Octopus RS installation manual, they recommend replacing the cable every 150 to 200 hrs.  That's a pretty short lifespan and gives me some concern on the robustness of these units.  Spare cables would be needed for long offshore passages/races.  Perhaps that's not a problem for you.

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5 hours ago, Alex W said:

It looks like the Octopus RS would require a quadrant though.  A lot of tiller boats (including mine) have the rudder shaft going through a sealed tube that isn't exposed anywhere inside the hull.  I'd guess that the Farr 30 could be like this, but I haven't been inside of one.

You can leave the motor down below and run the drive cable up through the cockpit side and attach it to a short tiller arm below the tiller. Yes there is some engineering involved but it really works. 
 

if you dig into the nke website there were some more photos posted a few years ago of a similar installation that was done in San Francisco. I found this one

JPEG_image.jpeg

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Oh cool, that’s worth trying out.  The Express 37 has a semi protected cubby that could make that pretty easy. 

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18 hours ago, Alex W said:

It looks like the Octopus RS would require a quadrant though.  A lot of tiller boats (including mine) have the rudder shaft going through a sealed tube that isn't exposed anywhere inside the hull.  I'd guess that the Farr 30 could be like this, but I haven't been inside of one.

Based on the pic I can’t see why it couldn’t be mounted directly to the tiller, the same style setup as any of the regular rams. Maybe hinged so it could remain down when the tiller is lifted 

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On 10/23/2020 at 2:40 PM, mvk512 said:

From the Octopus RS installation manual, they recommend replacing the cable every 150 to 200 hrs.  That's a pretty short lifespan and gives me some concern on the robustness of these units.  Spare cables would be needed for long offshore passages/races.  Perhaps that's not a problem for you.

Not sure where you got this info. I went to the installation manual and copied this:

G: STEERING CABLE MAINTENANCE
Pay particular attention to the Universal Connection Kit. Periodically remove the telescoping section of the steering cable from the guide tube, clean the bore of the guide tube. At re-assembly thoroughly lubricate the guide tube bore and the telescoping section of the cable with waterproof grease. When installed and maintained correctly; the cable will have life of over 4000 hours use (20,000 miles at 5 knots average speed for cruising yachts). For long passage making and racing use it is recommended that a spare cable is carried on board.

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Well... It looks like my initial search pulled up the REV A version of the installation manual document:

cable.thumb.jpg.53b987fbec85fd53e3b25d32bae40aed.jpg

Looking at the latest REV B on the website, you are correct. 

Cable-2.jpg.f4a123f02d9b76a84b7bb86335060a6d.jpg

I stand corrected.  This sounds a much better.  Perhaps they needed a time to accumulate data before updating in REV B. 

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9 hours ago, inneedofadvice said:

Periodically remove the telescoping section of the steering cable from the guide tube, clean the bore of the guide tube. At re-assembly thoroughly lubricate the guide tube bore and the telescoping section of the cable with waterproof grease.

I guess one question is... how frequent is "Periodically" on the cable maintenance.  Perhaps that's how they get to a longer cable life in REV B of the manual.

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I haven't researched the construction of these cables, but they will get a lot of actuations per hour of operation.  Think about how much an autopilot works in a typical sea state, driving back and forth many times per minute for hours on end.  At the upper end of the design range there could be some pretty significant loads on the cable and drive mechanism.  If you use only the clutch to disconnect the unit, those actuations (although at much lower load) will continue even when the unit is not in use.  That type of use would be hard on a lot of cables I've worked with.  I expect lubrication of the cable tube bore and cable protection from salt and corrosion will be important to keep it working smoothly.  Would probably be best if it could be installed without the 90deg bend (or making the bend radius as large as possible. 

All that said... I'm intrigued and will likely consider it again in the future once I take care of all the critical boat repairs that are ongoing.

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