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Old 02-20-2014, 04:40 AM   #1
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Which AutoPilot?

MV Content is a 1930 62' motor yacht, weighing 57 tons, with chain & cable steering and twin rudders.

I've been updating her over the past 2-3 years, and I'd like to add an AP. Any suggestions? I'm not totally averse to installing hydraulic steering, but I'd like to understand the pros and cons..... Budget is important, and a pre-owned unit would work for me. My cruising area is BC Coast, and I'll move her to the Med next year or two, so we're talking protected waters here.

Thanks.
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Old 02-20-2014, 07:57 AM   #2
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MV Content is a 1930 62' motor yacht, weighing 57 tons, with chain & cable steering and twin rudders. I've been updating her over the past 2-3 years, and I'd like to add an AP. Any suggestions? I'm not totally averse to installing hydraulic steering, but I'd like to understand the pros and cons..... Budget is important, and a pre-owned unit would work for me. My cruising area is BC Coast, and I'll move her to the Med next year or two, so we're talking protected waters here. Thanks.
Simrad AP-28.
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Old 02-20-2014, 08:43 AM   #3
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if you already have chain..

use a sprocket drive... Jefa sprocket drive units

no need to switch to hydraulics....many sailboats have similar setups...check with that crowd...

and as long as the head/computer can power it...it doesn't reall matter what autopilot you use...most people don't need/want all the bells and whistles you pay for in some...most even used ones now will hold a course and steer a route if coupled with a chartplotter.
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Old 02-20-2014, 10:36 AM   #4
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Greetings,,
Welcome aboard Mr. MVC.
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Old 02-20-2014, 11:31 AM   #5
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MV Content is a 1930 62' motor yacht, weighing 57 tons, with chain & cable steering and twin rudders.

I've been updating her over the past 2-3 years, and I'd like to add an AP. Any suggestions? I'm not totally averse to installing hydraulic steering, but I'd like to understand the pros and cons..... Budget is important, and a pre-owned unit would work for me. My cruising area is BC Coast, and I'll move her to the Med next year or two, so we're talking protected waters here.

Thanks.
Will Hamm at W-H autopilots is close by on Bainbridge Island. He has lots of experience with larger boats and unusual installations. His equipment is bulletproof as evidenced by his following in the fishing community. Parts are a phone call and an overnight mail away. Check him out. WH Autopilots
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Old 02-20-2014, 11:33 AM   #6
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Oh sorry I didn't read the part of the cable steering scrap the AP-28 idea. BTW Welcome aboard!
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Old 02-20-2014, 11:47 AM   #7
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Once you have a properly installed auto pilot you'll never have a boat without one.
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Old 02-20-2014, 12:01 PM   #8
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skidgear , thanks. I hadn't heard of WH. I'll send them a note.
Cheers.
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Old 02-20-2014, 12:58 PM   #9
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Comnav is in Richmond...
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Old 02-20-2014, 09:42 PM   #10
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Comnav is local which might be a big help plus they seem to make good stuff.

The type of chain could be important and that's where someone local can size things up faster.

I suspect the A.P. hydraulic pump, rather than driving the rudder cylinder directly, could drive a hydraulic motor with a matching sprocket to drive the system.

The only catch is with chain/cable system the wheels will turn.
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Old 02-21-2014, 08:40 AM   #11
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If your steering is properly done ,the helm should be easy to move.

If it is ,,the external sail boat unit , an electric motor and belt behind the wheel will work excellent and at low cost.

These are inexpensive and can have remote controls, installation is a snap.

Most will run as a helmsman would ,steer a heading ,,,

so if you like gadgets and want to program the unit from ashore , or observe cross track error from the head , its not for you.

If you just want the boat steered as you sit and observe , its an answer.

Many to chose from,

CPT Autopilot Inc.

cptautopilot.com/‎
The CPT Autopilot is a reliable, heavy duty, wheel pilot suitable for a wide range of sail and power boats. CPT Autopilot installation photos. We learned how to ...
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Old 02-21-2014, 03:45 PM   #12
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Many thanks Gentlemen, for your contributions... already, my knowledge-base has expanded way beyond where it was a few days ago :-)

FF , you say 'if my steering is properly done'.....by that, do you mean easy to turn, and balanced? She tracks very well unattended in a flat sea, so I guess is well balanced. I should check the weight / pressure required...any ideas on how to do that simply?
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Old 02-21-2014, 04:31 PM   #13
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Will Hamm at W-H autopilots is close by on Bainbridge Island. He has lots of experience with larger boats and unusual installations. His equipment is bulletproof as evidenced by his following in the fishing community. Parts are a phone call and an overnight mail away. Check him out. WH Autopilots
Although I have no direct experience, I have read many times over that these AP's are THE choice for large yachts. The website is quite informative and show some of the customers yachts. Impressive indeed. Good Luck. Would like to see pics of your boat.....Thanks.
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Old 02-21-2014, 04:49 PM   #14
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A few shots of Content.
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Old 02-21-2014, 05:06 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by skidgear View Post
Will Hamm at W-H autopilots is close by on Bainbridge Island. He has lots of experience with larger boats and unusual installations. His equipment is bulletproof as evidenced by his following in the fishing community. Parts are a phone call and an overnight mail away. Check him out. WH Autopilots
I agree. We spent 14 years in the PNW and WH was always highly rated. Hamm has probably specified more than one system on a yacht like yours.

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A few shots of Content.
Wow!!!
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Old 02-21-2014, 06:12 PM   #16
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Although I have no direct experience, I have read many times over that these AP's are THE choice for large yachts. The website is quite informative and show some of the customers yachts. Impressive indeed.
We have one of Will Hamm's early systems in our dinky 44' OA. Not the glitziest control panel as compared to the newer stuff from the big vendors, but the equipment behind the panel and back by the rudders is top drawer, as is the performance. More dang adjustments for sea state, speed and rudder machinations than you can shake a stick at.
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Old 02-21-2014, 06:23 PM   #17
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"A few shots of Content. "

Absolutely gorgeous!
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Old 02-21-2014, 11:34 PM   #18
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If it is ,,the external sail boat unit , an electric motor and belt behind the wheel will work excellent and at low cost.
If $2000 is low cost, then yes.

Quote:
If you just want the boat steered as you sit and observe , its an answer.
The CPT drive motor unit has a manual clutch. It has to be easily accessible from the helm. This makes it impossible to hide the cogwheels and belts behind a bulkhead. For a lot of yachts this is a problem, aesthetically and otherwise.
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Old 02-22-2014, 02:17 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MV Content View Post
Many thanks Gentlemen, for your contributions... already, my knowledge-base has expanded way beyond where it was a few days ago :-)

FF , you say 'if my steering is properly done'.....by that, do you mean easy to turn, and balanced? She tracks very well unattended in a flat sea, so I guess is well balanced. I should check the weight / pressure required...any ideas on how to do that simply?
While what FF says re using the wheel-mounted yacht type with a chain & rod set-up is right, as I have looked into this for my own boat, mine is only 8 tonne, and I'm right on the weight limit for that type. Sadly, although it is quite a good route to go for a chain and rod set-up, which is remarkably simple reliable and virtually bulletproof, there are limits. Your vessel would be too heavy for this type I fear. Unfortunately, your best bet is to use a system where a rotary motor and sprocket drives the chain directly, and it has the advantage of being able to be mounted out of sight behind the bulkhead and is the best way, and also very reliable, but they are much more expensive than the wheel-mounted systems. Ie more like 5-6k as opposed to 2k.
That link psneeld put up looks good…or there is this...

Raymarine Smartpilot - Drive Unit Selection

PS - lovely looking boat, by the way, however its displacement puts it right up at the limit of the largest unit on the website above.

PPS I wish all you fellows raving about APs and how marvellous they are, and how you would never have a boat without, would keep it to yourselves, because it looks like I will never be able to justify the cost for my area of boating…BUT I STILL WANT ONE..WAAAAAH
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Old 02-22-2014, 02:41 AM   #20
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Look in the used listings - I have a friend with a Simrad he paid 100 for. Lots buy new/fancy and dump the perfectly good older unit.
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