Does size really matter when you’re single handed?

G12

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For a few hundred quid you can buy the Evo core pack without the tiller-pilot arm itself, and use a Pelagic actuator arm instead.
I've done exactly this myself - Evolution brains and Pelagic actuator. It's new this season and I've only had one day testing it but it steers well, doesn't hunt with waves like the old ST2000 and is SO quiet in comparison. One thing did annoy me though, if she became hard pressed and the actuator reached full travel without any change in course not only did it raise the usual alarm but it stopped trying to steer which leaves you with a decent amount of tiller locked on. The ST2000 doesn't do that, it just recovers and carries on.

EDIT: You need the control head as well which is £500 by itself.

I believe the Pelagic actuator is available much more cheaply from other sources as previously mentioned.
 

Daydream believer

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I've done exactly this myself - Evolution brains and Pelagic actuator. It's new this season and I've only had one day testing it but it steers well, doesn't hunt with waves like the old ST2000 and is SO quiet in comparison. One thing did annoy me though, if she became hard pressed and the actuator reached full travel without any change in course not only did it raise the usual alarm but it stopped trying to steer which leaves you with a decent amount of tiller locked on.
Which is exactly what happens with the raymarine ram & is extremely dangerous. If one cannot get to the tiller & release it in time, the boat can go into a massive gybe & possible dismasting.. If it happens to both makes of ram then it must be the raymarine course computer that is at fault. Surely raymarine must be aware of this & can do something about it.
Another annoying feature is that the alarm is the same bleep that every other electronic unit on the boat makes. So one can waste a while looking round to see if it is an echo sounder, an ais cpa alarm, an engine charging fault, or whatever. On a windy night it is a job to tell what it is.
 

Babylon

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Interesting...

So my tiller-mounted ST1000 is now pretty old (20yrs plus?) and has never been much good at holding a course, especially with the wind abaft the beam - although when on passage under sail I use the wind-vane, so its really just for motoring or motor-sailing.

If I was inclined to spend any more money, what should I replace it with? The same? A Simrad? An enslaved person?
 

Daydream believer

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Interesting...

So my tiller-mounted ST1000 is now pretty old (20yrs plus?) and has never been much good at holding a course, especially with the wind abaft the beam - although when on passage under sail I use the wind-vane, so its really just for motoring or motor-sailing.

If I was inclined to spend any more money, what should I replace it with? The same? A Simrad? An enslaved person?
My Simrad TP 32 lasted quite a few years compared to the 3-4 years that my 3 raymarine ST 2000 ones did So the Simrad was infinitely better.- Actually the 3rd ST2000 is still Ok, but I now only carry it for emergency, having replaced it with the AV100, because it is pretty poor. The second ST 2000 suddenly went haywire , put the helm over by a bank, one calm day, put me aground before I could do anything & I lost my rudder in the Moray Firth, miles from home , needing the RNLI for recovery.
The ST2000 suffer from water penetration. Raymarine say it is the owner's fault for getting it wet & every time anyone sends one back they say it has never happened before!!!
 

LadyInBed

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... my tiller-mounted ST1000 is now pretty old (20yrs plus?) and has never been much good at holding a course, especially with the wind abaft the beam - although when on passage under sail I use the wind-vane, so its really just for motoring or motor-sailing.

If I was inclined to spend any more money, what should I replace it with? The same? A Simrad? An enslaved person?
I remember that many years back in PBO there was an article about connecting an ST1000 or the like to the wind-vane. I can't remember what advantage it gave.
 

Gary Fox

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I remember that many years back in PBO there was an article about connecting an ST1000 or the like to the wind-vane. I can't remember what advantage it gave.
It allows the Aries etc to be used to steer a compass heading, instead of a course relative to the apparent wind.
Including in no-wind conditions.
The wind vane itself is unclipped and stowed, and the tiller pilot is clipped onto a custom bracket, to do its job.
The tiller pilot provides the mechanical steering info to the Aries , which then uses the flow of water over the paddle to power the boat's steering.
Thus the tiller pilot has very light work to do, and consumes little electricity, compared to actually moving the tiller or wheel, plus the rudder.
I'm just using Aries as it's a short word, this can work with any wind steering gear.
Rather a clumsy description, maybe someone can write it more clearly :)
 

Kukri

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I have a Monitor, which I might call a stainless steel Californian Aries except that both the Monitor people and the Aries people will turn on me! It has a compass sensing device like that described by Gary Fox in the post above but it is actually Monitor supplied equipment and very robust.

However this is not a substitute for a plumbed in under deck autopilot. What it is for is for steering under sail in light conditions, particularly downwind when vanes tend to lose interest. Scanmar who make the Monitor are emphatic that it is not to be used for motoring but alas I have forgotten why! Something to do with the prop wash impingement on the servo pendulum I think.
 

Gary Fox

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Yes a moderate 'thread drift':
That's interesting about Scanmar vehemently saying the Monitor's not suitable for motoring.
My Aries doesn't work properly if motorsailing in light airs. It won't settle. Learning this was slightly unexpected, and I felt cheated..
I have never known if this misbehaviour is caused by propwash, or lack of consistent wind. (Or the umpteen other variables inherent in windvane instals..)

Until now I had thought it obvious that a tiller-pilot stuck on a servo-pendulum unit would be perfect for motoring, now I'm not so sure. Especially if there is risk of damage.

( I wonder if anyone has a link to plans/drawings to construct a bracket, to stick a tiller-pilot on an 80's Franklin lift-up Aries? )
 

Daydream believer

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Yes a moderate 'thread drift':
That's interesting about Scanmar vehemently saying the Monitor's not suitable for motoring.
My Aries doesn't work properly if motorsailing in light airs. It won't settle. Learning this was slightly unexpected, and I felt cheated..
I have never known if this misbehaviour is caused by propwash, or lack of consistent wind. (Or the umpteen other variables inherent in windvane instals..)

Until now I had thought it obvious that a tiller-pilot stuck on a servo-pendulum unit would be perfect for motoring, now I'm not so sure. Especially if there is risk of damage.

( I wonder if anyone has a link to plans/drawings to construct a bracket, to stick a tiller-pilot on an 80's Franklin lift-up Aries? )
I fitted one on mine at the start of 2020. Obviously with the onset of covid I did not get the chance to give it a real test. Being single handed it was awkward disconnecting the autopilot from the helm & keeping a course whilst i transferred it to the aeries ( same lift up as yours) hence, I did not give it a real test. initial reults suggest a waste of time. Sailing or motoring. if I can find some pics I will post them.
The windvane will work when motoring, if it is a flat sea & fairly windy. But that is not very often. I do sometimes use it when dropping sails if the AV100 has given up the ghost (which it does regularly) In that situation, I only motor slowly forward, so the prop wash is not too strong.
It is interesting that a fairly old video by the last manufacturer of the Aeries ( the one after Franklin) actually showed his boat being steered by the aeries whilst motoring. the video seems to have now disappeared.
 

Concerto

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I know Daydream believer has mention he has had problems with his Raymarine EV100, however I have one fitted on my Westerly Fulmar and have found it to be the best autopilot. 3 years ago I sailed to the Isles of Scilly and back to the Medway. I used the autopilot for 95% of the journey, under engine, on the wind and off the wind including under spinnaker, in a wide range of wind speed. These 2 videos both show Concerto under control of the EV100. More in different conditions will follow shortly.


 

Daydream believer

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I know Daydream believer has mention he has had problems with his Raymarine EV100, however I have one fitted on my Westerly Fulmar and have found it to be the best autopilot. 3 years ago I sailed to the Isles of Scilly and back to the Medway. I used the autopilot for 95% of the journey, under engine, on the wind and off the wind including under spinnaker, in a wide range of wind speed. These 2 videos both show Concerto under control of the EV100.
One can only speak as one finds, & with the greatest of respect. but both of those are in calm conditions. Try 2 metre waves on the stern quarter, let the boat go round on a big wave ( pilot does not react fast enough to correct) & see if the tiller pilot cuts out when 70 degrees off course. If I am helming by hand the boat never broaches, because I can react before the boat starts to go. However, a tiller pilot does not do this & once the boat starts to go, then that is it.
I would add that in 2019 I had Mantsprite on board to update the software, (cost £ 150-00) which made small improvements to normal course corrections, but not the major problem.
 

Buck Turgidson

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One can only speak as one finds, & with the greatest of respect. but both of those are in calm conditions. Try 2 metre waves on the stern quarter, let the boat go round on a big wave ( pilot does not react fast enough to correct) & see if the tiller pilot cuts out when 70 degrees off course. If I am helming by hand the boat never broaches, because I can react before the boat starts to go. However, a tiller pilot does not do this & once the boat starts to go, then that is it.
I would add that in 2019 I had Mantsprite on board to update the software, (cost £ 150-00) which made small improvements to normal course corrections, but not the major problem.
My TP22 can just about cope with this if I stow the main and mooch along deep on a 3rd reefed Genoa. With the main out I really have to hand steer.
2020 Med downwind in F7 gusting 8
 

RupertW

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One can only speak as one finds, & with the greatest of respect. but both of those are in calm conditions. Try 2 metre waves on the stern quarter, let the boat go round on a big wave ( pilot does not react fast enough to correct) & see if the tiller pilot cuts out when 70 degrees off course. If I am helming by hand the boat never broaches, because I can react before the boat starts to go. However, a tiller pilot does not do this & once the boat starts to go, then that is it.
I would add that in 2019 I had Mantsprite on board to update the software, (cost £ 150-00) which made small improvements to normal course corrections, but not the major problem.
Those sorts of conditions helped me learn a lot about sail balancing for the autohelm, realising that sail balance was far more about the sails doing most of the correction rather than achieving a light helm - although the two things are partially related.

As we sail almost the entire time under autohelm I reduce the main, sometimes down to zero, once the wind is more than 60 degrees from forward, except when winds are light. That way there is no build up of weather helm if the boat stern gets kicked up so the course starts to round up. Also of course playing with the main track to reduce heeling for the same reason.

Since I started that way of sailing 5 years ago the autohelm has been fine in every condition and wind direction we have encountered. Before that it was a real gamble if a gust came up with the wind partly behind us.
 

dunedin

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My TP22 can just about cope with this if I stow the main and mooch along deep on a 3rd reefed Genoa. With the main out I really have to hand steer.
2020 Med downwind in F7 gusting 8
Well, if you get a broad sterned modern yacht with twin rudders, I suspect it will track fine downwind in these conditions with the autopilot on, whilst the skipper is reading a book.
I’ll get my coat .......
 

mattonthesea

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( I wonder if anyone has a link to plans/drawings to construct a bracket, to stick a tiller-pilot on an 80's Franklin lift-up Aries? )
An old bit of vane (thin ply) with a piece of 1x1" glued/screwed to top edge. Tiller Pilot tiller pin inserted to top of this. Tiller pilot fitted to side of pushpit and connect to pin. How long you want the vane to be depends on how sharply you want the Tiller Pilot to steer. The longer the more gentle and steady.

Caveat: I've only tried it out to test it -not used in anger.
 

mattonthesea

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Your challenge is parking. I have a 50fter, which I can happily sail single-handed. Anchoring is easy, as is picking up mooring buoys. Marinas are where it can get tricky.
I single hand a Rival 32 often. Although it's small a tight marina with a long keel and wind can provide challenges. I have found that a call ahead will usually result in a marinero being on hand to take a line. I will say what line I need taking on the radio (if I know) rather than try and shout while attempting to spin on a sixpence without being blown off (note the use of the word 'attempt' 😁
 

Laminar Flow

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A functioning and reliable auto pilot is without doubt an essential piece of kit. It would also appear that not every pilot works with every type of boat.

We currently use an old, first generation, zero smart learning wheel pilot of US, California production, called a CPT. It is well over forty years old and I bought it used 25 years ago in San Diego where it had done duty on a trimaran. My then 50' boat (lifting keel) and it never got on together as the unit didn't appear sensitive enough to steer a straight course, except in rough conditions. The pilot, the company claims, is suitable for boats up to 70'.

We transferred the unit to our current Watson (long keel) without much hope. Ann loved Arnold, as we dubbed the pilot for it's reliable strength and obvious intellectual shortcomings, from the first moment it was switched on. A match made in heaven. In spite of all the modifications, such as doubling SA, profiling the rudder & deadwood, I have done to the boat, it will steer as straight as an arrow, upwind, downwind or under engine, no matter the wind or sea state. Last year we made a seventy mile downwind run under spinnaker in winds gusting up to and over 30kts and in a quartering sea. The boat was sailing continuously at hull speed and above as the pilot would make only slight corrections of never more than a quarter turn of the wheel or 2-4 degr. rudder angle. I felt confident enough to lay down for a nap while my wife wrote her journal in the wheelhouse.

Friends of mine installed the same pilot on their long keel ketch and it was completely useless.

Our Watson used to have a below decks Autohelm 5000 that never was able to steer the boat in anything other than a flat calm and under power. Watsons have inherent steering and balance problems, even for their human pilots.

I strongly suspect that not every pilot is suitable for every type of boat; unfortunately it is a rather expensive process of trial and error.
 

geem

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We have a Raymarine rotary drive paired with an old Raymarine corepack with gyro and a couple of ST60+ control heads. The autopilot can steer the boat in any weather over canvased, with poor sail balance, steering to compass or wind regardless. The boat never rounds up or misbehaves. Maybe more about the boat than the autopilot🙂
 
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