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Author: Steve Katzman
Subject: Recommendations for autopilots
Info: (4774 views) Posted: Monday 2-25-13 08:49:40 PM
Hello Don, I have a Raymarine 4000. Most of it was made in the early 2000's. I have had to work on it a lot and eventually had to get another used head, or brain, for it. After much work on it it now works fairly reliabley in the flat waters of SF Bay. It uses all the power in a 32 amp battery in about 3 hours. I have no interface with anything and all it will do is steer a magnetic course. After all the work I have done on it I do not want to add gyros or any interface, just too much electronics to go wrong for the the use I need out of it. My use for it is mainly just the Vallejo 1 and it will steer good enough to hold the boat downwind long enough to jibe in small seas and wind up to 15. Although it will hold a magnetic course, the compass readout is 15-20 degs off and so far not correctable. When I was having trouble with the brain of it Raymarine was not interested in helping or trouble shooting or doing anything with it. I was lucky to find a spare head for it, buy that and pllug it in and find that it worked for my purposes as above and delivering the boat under motor or sail. Remember always, it will only hold course when the sails are trimmed right. It hates heavy weather helm, that will make it very cranky and use up the power in short time. When going to weather or at a close reach I will sometimes get it set, get the sails trimmed and then use it as a tiller holder with the auto function off to save battery. I always have rigged an alternate way to tie the helm as I do not entirely trust it. I am not interested in trying it on an ocean race such as the Singlehanded Farralones, I doubt if it would hold up well in a large seaway. That's what I know about it. I will gladly continue this discussion with you or any one. I suggest you look on the SingleHanded Sailing Societys forum pages. I remember a thread there about auto pilots. Also, Joe Balderama of the e 27 Archemedes has experience with auto pilots and George of Taz, and Steve Carol of Tule Fog. Cheers and Good Luck with it, SDK

:: I am passing this on from Brendan

:: Brendan Busch ToSteve Katzman CCDonald Carroll I use an
:: old Navico on the 27. It works fine for milder weather,
:: but can't be trusted in 25 knots of breeze with the kite
:: up. It has about a 50% success rate at getting me
:: through jibes in big wind without crashing. It can drive
:: the boat most of the way home from Stockton (motoring or
:: light wind) on a couple small hobby batteries. Navico
:: was bought years ago by Simrad, I believe.

:: I use a Simrad TP32 on my Express 37. It is a fine unit,
:: but my understanding is that Simrad is now done making
:: tillerpilots, which, if true, doesn't bode well for
:: support and parts in the future. As it is, I have been
:: unable to procure a hand-held remote (the HR22) for the
:: TP32, as they are no longer in production.

:: Autohelm / Raymarine units, unfortunately, are not very
:: reliable.

:: Will Paxton uses a bungee setup and swears it works
:: well.

:: I think a tiller pilot is fine for an E27--below deck i