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Old 03-14-2015, 02:54 PM   #81
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I'm all for redundancy and you set up quite a complete new system. I'm curious about your thinking with the second autopilot. I've always considered that manual steering was an acceptable backup for an autopilot. That's sort of like a manual bilge pump (or a bucket) being a backup for an electronic one - it's not as good as the primary system but it meets the requirement in an emergency.

Why did you feel the need to add a full second autopilot system?
Hi Jeff,

I think it all comes down to expected usage. If you are doing day hops, then I agree manual steering is the best backup. That's how we had our Grand Banks set up, and I think we used it similarly to the way you cruise. But as you start to do more and more 24hr plus runs, the autopilot becomes more and more important. Throw in some heavy seas, and I think standing watch is suddenly way more taxing that otherwise. Now, make that a 3 week passage across the Pacific, and imagine a dead AP half way across. No thanks.

The other way I look at it is that for long range/remote cruising, you need to carry a lot more spares than for coastal cruising where you can get pretty much anything overnight, and get it reliably. So I need to carry a spare pump, spare rudder feedback, spare computer, and a spare control head. So I'm buying the equipment either way. The only additional thing that I've really done is pre-install and pre-wire it all. And this way I can alternate which pilot I use and be sure both are in working order all the time.
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Old 03-14-2015, 02:59 PM   #82
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Oh, and it's much the same rational for why I have two radars, two depth sounders, two heading sensors, two GPSs, two ways to generate AC power, two ways to charge the batteries, two ways to pump out, etc. etc. In many cases (probably most) the primary device is much better than the other secondary, but the secondary will do the job. The radars and heading sensors are good examples.
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Old 03-14-2015, 03:47 PM   #83
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Capt Bill

I may have missed it, do you have a laptop or computer based charting system?
Not on this boat. Other than the MaxSea program I have on my personal laptop.

I'm only a fan of computer based nav setups if you have the proper monitors on board. And by proper I mean sunlight readable weather/water proof units on the upper open helm and large hard mounted ones on the enclosed lower helm.
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Old 03-14-2015, 03:50 PM   #84
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Originally Posted by Jeffrey S View Post
I'm all for redundancy and you set up quite a complete new system. I'm curious about your thinking with the second autopilot. I've always considered that manual steering was an acceptable backup for an autopilot.
You have obviously never had the hand steer for days and days at a time.
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Old 03-14-2015, 07:19 PM   #85
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The JRC equipment was a surprise to me, very nice picture and user friendly.
I had a JRC radar about 12 years ago and it worked flawlessly.
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Old 03-14-2015, 10:30 PM   #86
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Now, make that a 3 week passage across the Pacific, and imagine a dead AP half way across.
Sure, I buy that and agree. It's quite unusual to find anyone on here who goes out for more than a double-overnight. If you're planning on weeks at a time, a second AP is a smart decision.
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Old 03-22-2015, 12:09 PM   #87
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AP backup

I'll add to the chatter...

I had a 2 day Gulf of AK crossing and the AP was working hard immediately after departure. Just a couple hours in, and no more pump. Turned out there was a fuse buried in the wiring that blew. Hand steering worked, but the worst is keeping things headup during the night shift in big water. After making it back into some reasonable conditions I was able to find the problem and get it fixed right away. Now I'm prepared and also have learned when to use the pilot and how to set it up properly. For a longer crossing, I would have started the repair at sea because of the extra fatigue associated with having to hand steer without any visible reference other than the compass.

There are a few pieces of equipment that offer so much aid to the duties of operating larger craft. Radar and AP, or some method to hold heading (tip of the hat to our hove-to blow-boater breathren), are at the top of my list; just like TT has focused on those two areas for spending redundancy $$.

RE: Garmin users...everyone I talk with has the same first words out of their mouths...EASY to use. I notice a lack of configurable options, but that is also a positive for some and it is easy for anyone to install.
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Old 04-08-2015, 11:35 PM   #88
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Just thought I'd report back on this electronics refit. We were recently out for two weeks giving everything a good workout. I'm ready to declare 100% success. The radars are both outstanding adn work exactly as expected. And in particular, ARPA works as it should accurately tracking targets, showing COG and SOG that matched the same vessel's AIS reports, and is totally stable. The little fishfinder works great, and the Class A AIS is working great too. Oh yes, and don't forget the Furuno NavPilot auto pilots. I've very pleased with them too. I can't tell you what a relief it is to finally have all this stuff working and to be able to move on to other projects. And I hope all the blog info can help spare others the same hassles and expenses.
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Old 04-09-2015, 12:35 AM   #89
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Good to hear. So far I am experiencing the same results with our new electronics package.
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