Simrad a/pilot experiences sought

skyflyer

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26 Jan 2011
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1,433
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Worcester, UK
Does anyone with a 30-40ft 4-6tonne sailing yacht have any experience they could share regarding the current Simrad autopilot range? A quick google search indicates that they are generally considered better than Raymarine (but more expensive). If anyone has moved from Ray to Simrad or vice versa and can comment that would be helpful.

The whole issue of a/p selection seems such a minefield. For everyone with a good experience of a particular model you find someone with a horror story it seems
 

PhilS

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15 Mar 2012
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68
Location
Cambridge, Sail from River Orwell on East Coast
I have a Simrad AC42 on a Jeanneau 409. It works much better than the ancient Ramarine on my previous Bavaria 34, but I don't consider that a fair comparison because of the different ages.
The Simrad is very stable. I recently used it on a very broad reach going to Southwold from the River Orwell in a F6/7 with a fair swell. I suspect it used a fair amount of battery but it did a good job. I eventually took over, and it was hard work!
 

skyflyer

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Joined
26 Jan 2011
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1,433
Location
Worcester, UK
That's the problem I suppose, you can never compare like with like as the new autopilot you've just fitted to replace the old one will have better technology irrespective of make.

I suppose what we need is reports from half a dozen owners of the same boat, fitted with two or maybe three different makes of a/p of similar vintage!

I have had poor experiences with two different versions of Raymarine on the same boat I have now, but know of someone else with the same boat and a Ray Evo-100 who thinks its the dogs doo-dahs.

I know some people who say that they have had trouble free steering with an elctro-mecahnical linear drive but then spoke to a repair centre technician who said 'you should see the number of bent rams we get in for repair; go hydraulic"

Difficult to really know until after you've spent several £k
 

JimC

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30 Aug 2001
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1,556
Location
Lancashire
I use a Simrad TP20 on my boat which is 31 ft long and displaces about 5 tons fully loaded. She's a twin fin British Hunter boat with a spade rudder and 500 sq ft sailplan. The Simrad does it's job OK. It's interfaced via NMEA with the SH chartplotter and the combination works well.
 

Birdseye

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9 Mar 2003
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28,079
Location
s e wales
I have an old Simrad ( 1996 vintage) on my boat - 35 ft 7 tonnes, fin keel modernish design. The ram is the Simrad HLD 350 below decks hydraulic . Its the bees knees - we have surfed up the bristol channel, wildly over canvassed and hitting 15.4 kn down one wave before panicking and reefing, but the boat was under autopilot all the time and never a worry. OK this might bear some tribute to Stephen Jones who designed it and the size of rudder but the ram is a really nice piece of hydraulic engineering that came to Simrad when they took over Robertson.

My control computer is an old AP3000x. I know of no reason why any modern control computer wouldnt do as good a job as any other. Mine is old tech and wont reliably steer by the wind for example - it keeps getting a data overload. But then its of the same era as a Sinclair calculator. Well almost.

So my recommendation would be to buy the simrad hydraulics but run it with the raymarine computer if you prefer that set up. No one firm is best at everything and I havent been that impressed by my new B&G plotter
 
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