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Old 11-22-2013, 05:03 PM   #21
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Thanks Sunset for the compliment re my Seaweed. Small boats are fun, aren't they? I can't believe how fortunate I am to have my home and be able to be out here enjoying life on the hook. So few people realize their dreams that just having a boat is a big step. And Albin's are nice. I'd looked at those too for a time.

Years ago I knew a girl who lived on a 25' Chris Craft which was laid out much like your Albin. Her daddy had a sports-fish and mom had a double cabin cruiser. They were quite the show when they moved the boats -- like little ducklings (with crew of course) but the girl had the 25'er all to her self. That was just the height of life to my young eyes. And she had a dog, named Rags. I wanted a dog (and a horse too) but for some reason (sanity?) my folks felt nothing with four feet would work on the boat.

That's not to say I didn't have a series of turtles that would escape their cage and go over the side. I suspect Mother helped them escape -- she wasn't fond of critters.

I'm glad you started the thread though - $200 for an auto pilot is within my budget (after the engine swap that is) and running a compass course is ideal. That's what I do just by habit so to have the thing steer hopefully will make my trail straighter, and burn less fuel.
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Old 11-22-2013, 07:20 PM   #22
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I had a Simrad AP on our Albin 25 but we haven't felt the need aboard Willy. The hydraulic steering really helps. But I remember the viscous snap roll on the Albin. You don't want to get lined up w 1 to 2' seas abeam on that boat. Very few negatives on the Albin but while solo w/o AP using the head may convert one to going like the girls do ... seated .. or you may pee all over the place.
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Old 11-22-2013, 09:30 PM   #23
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One of my favourite remarks in a Brit Motorcycle mag in a bike review: "It holds a line like Robert Downey Jr." - couldn't accuse the Albin of that!
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Old 11-22-2013, 11:34 PM   #24
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Sunset,
I was referring to her roll instability not directional stability.
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Old 11-23-2013, 01:25 AM   #25
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I put a Raymarine AP on our Albin27. It was one of the smartest things I did with that labor of love.
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Old 11-23-2013, 05:53 AM   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by manyboats View Post
Sunset,
I was referring to her roll instability not directional stability.
Actually I was mainly looking for an opportunity to use that line. Though you can't wander far from the unsecured helm of this boat.
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Old 11-23-2013, 08:27 AM   #27
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Inexpensive wheel pilot. Find 'em on e-Bay.
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Old 11-23-2013, 08:31 AM   #28
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Inexpensive wheel pilot. Find 'em on e-Bay.
What exactly are they?
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Old 11-23-2013, 09:42 AM   #29
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The wheel pilots have been around for more than 30 years and are simple and dependable. My Autohelm 2000 setup consists of a drive motor and wheel flange which bolts behind your helm wheel (easy installation), and a small control panel with internal compass.
To engage the autopilot, you just pull down a lever, which clamps the flange to your helm wheel, and then push the "AUTO" button. The drive motor then adjusts your helm wheel to keep you on your current heading. It won't follow a plotted course, but holds a straight line perfectly.

You can press +10, -10 to adjust your heading 10 degrees at a time either way, or +1 , -1 for fine adjustments. A remote control for adjusting it is also available. All too easy.

The only time mine occasionally fails, is when I'm going really slow (<3 knots) in rough seas, and then it gives a loud beeping telling me it is confused. If I pick up a little speed for better rudder control it will hold its course under all conditions.
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Old 11-24-2013, 05:58 AM   #30
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Wheel pilots work best with mechanical steering , rod , cable and chain , whatever.

Some hyd steering will drive them crazy , the question is how quickly.

IF it steers long enough that you can live with the time , the wheel is a really inexpensive good choice.

To make an attempt to decide , simply mark the wheel with a piece of tale , and see how far the tape is from where it started at the end of 30 min or an hour.
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Old 11-30-2013, 02:30 AM   #31
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Here's mine, works a treat...





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Old 11-30-2013, 08:33 AM   #32
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The AutoHelm wheel pilots are supposed to be able to work with a GPS to follow a course. You will need the very hard to find interface box to put between the controller and the GPS. I found such a box, but no instructions. I'm still trying to figure out the correct combination of wires to connect and buttons to push to make that feature work. I'll get there eventually.

But in the meantime, just having the wheel pilot hold a course for me works very well.

FWIW - I've found the best way to locate some of these hard to find items is to use Google Alerts. I was able to find that rare interface box and the elusive SL 555 Sea Tiger manual winch with this method. It may take months before you get a hit. But eventually, someone, somewhere in the world is going to post a "for sale" for the item you want. And Google will find it and notify you.
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Old 11-30-2013, 07:07 PM   #33
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Quote:
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FWIW - I've found the best way to locate some of these hard to find items is to use Google Alerts.
Great idea! I've gone ahead and created one for "autohelm for sale". Let's see what happens. (dibs btw )
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Old 11-30-2013, 10:27 PM   #34
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Another vote for the Autohelm/Wheel Pilot solution. Mine is mounted on a hydraulic steering system, but keeps up with the gain set to maximum. Throw in a following sea on the square transom and it's more than the Wheel Pilot can handle.



The leather wheel wrap makes those hand steering moments much more comfortable.

When it comes time to leave the helm and go below, if I can't pass it off to an able-bodied crew member, the power goes to idle and trannies to neutral until I can return to the helm duties. If the waterway is too confined to allow me to drift safely, the anchor would get deployed at the touch of a button. (It's never come to that....yet.)
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Old 12-01-2013, 07:01 AM   #35
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>If the waterway is too confined to allow me to drift safely, the anchor would get deployed<

And the Black Ball hoisted to let the rest of the traffic know you are anchored?
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Old 12-01-2013, 07:07 AM   #36
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It's been many years since I've sailed, but I recall the boat had a wheel drive like this. The radio and Loran were below at the nav table for weather protection, which made the autohelm a necessity but anchoring with sails up to go below to the radio would be unwise to say the least! Reflecting on that makes me question whether it really is that crazy - in calm waters with no traffic - to pop down below (briefly) while underway with the autohelm operating.
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Old 12-01-2013, 08:38 AM   #37
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We occasionally make long trips and autopilot would be nice. I was considering the Raymarine SPX-5R, which can handle "hydraulic steered boats up to 7,000 lbs" up to 30'. The unit can be set/configured for full displacement boats. Unfortunately, I am about 1000+ pounds over the limit--would have been a nice option.

Raymarine SPX-5R Helm Mount Fixed Pilot
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Old 12-01-2013, 09:30 AM   #38
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The West Marine catalogue rates it for 7700 lbs.



Maybe a mistake?
Link isn't showing on my screen. ??
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Old 12-01-2013, 10:34 AM   #39
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Quote:
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The West Marine catalogue rates it for 7700 lbs.



Maybe a mistake?
Link isn't showing on my screen. ??
Here are the specs from Raymarine:
  • Mechanical steered boats – up to 4,400 lbs (2,000 kg)
  • Hydraulic steered boats – up to 7,000 lbs (3,181 kg)
Not sure why the link isn't working: Raymarine SPX-5R Helm Mount Fixed Pilot

Go to Raymarine's website and search for Raymarine SPX-5R Helm Mount Fixed Pilot. You can read the installation and operation manual, which are in pdf format.
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Old 12-01-2013, 10:37 AM   #40
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It appears Raymarine cites a different figure on another portion of their website:

This is from their spec page:

Mechanical: 4400lbs (2000kg)
Hydraulic: 7700lbs (3500kg)
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