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Old 08-15-2012, 01:39 PM   #21
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Other than that, it is a complete system although their manuals leave a lot to be desired.

I hope to complete my install this weekend.
Gee, I thought the manual was fine. Regardless, good luck with the install and checkout. You will enjoy having an autopilot no matter what the brand. They really take the strain off on a cruise.
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Old 08-15-2012, 02:49 PM   #22
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Our W-H (Will Ham) unit is adjustable for sea state, speed and rudder sensitivity. Have yet to find a situation where it wasn't up to the task. Bulltproof. Great service from this small Bainbridge manufacturer.
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Old 08-16-2012, 06:26 AM   #23
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IF I could find a new one the old Wood Freeman would be first choice.

Almost all mechanical, so it can be owner repaired ,as needed.

Flying strange black boxes back and forth from somewhere is not my idea of FUN cruising!
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Old 08-20-2012, 08:49 AM   #24
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I finished my Si-Tex 70/80 install this last Friday. I put about 15 hours into the entire project including planning, ordering, chasing around for misc parts, etc. It tracks like it's on rails. So far it has been well worth the effort. After the amount of time spent fishing cables and crawling in spaces that I don't fit in, I understand why labor for electronic install seems high.
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Old 08-20-2012, 12:39 PM   #25
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I finished my Si-Tex 70/80 install this last Friday. I put about 15 hours into the entire project including planning, ordering, chasing around for misc parts, etc. It tracks like it's on rails. So far it has been well worth the effort. After the amount of time spent fishing cables and crawling in spaces that I don't fit in, I understand why labor for electronic install seems high.
Add in 5 hours travel and setup/breakdown/cleanup and you have what I used to estimate for the average boat. Tough work sometimes!
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Old 08-20-2012, 02:12 PM   #26
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Is a remote control a nice thing to have or just an expensive gadget that gets lost or broken?
We removed the autopilot from our boat within days of acquiring the boat in 1998 and have not replaced it so I can't offer any pros or cons on autopilot brands.

But I have had a fair amount of experience with a remote control. This was back in the 70s in Hawaii so obviously the technology has changed dramatically since then. But in terms of using a remote, it was very, very handy. Now we were fishing, usually with just two people aboard, so it was great to be able to control the boat (28' Uniflite sportfisherman) from the cockpit where we were dealing with the fish, some of them pretty big.

Back then, of course, the remotes were hard-wired. So we had this long, thin cable to deal with when we wanted to control the boat from somewhere other than the helm. Today I assume autopilot remotes can be wireless, to that would be even better.

But even with the cable, a remote would be a benefit in my opinion, even on a cruising boat as well as on a fishing boat. You might not need it very often but I can imagine scenarios when you might want to be able to steer the boat from somewhere other than one of the helm stations.

If you added power and transmission controls to the remote as well, then you'd really have something. But I imagine doing that would cost some major dollars.

But if we were adding an autopilot to our GB today, we would include a remote control, either hard-wire or wireless.
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Old 08-20-2012, 03:47 PM   #27
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Marin, why don't you have an autopilot? Looks like you use your boat a lot.
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Old 08-20-2012, 03:51 PM   #28
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I have my SP-70 remote on the flybridge so i can use it from either seat. It is held in place with a clip.
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Old 08-20-2012, 06:05 PM   #29
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We have a wired remote and it is very handy. If you have a wireless one, you just have to be diligent about always putting it down in the same place so you don't lose it.
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Old 08-20-2012, 07:24 PM   #30
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Marin, why don't you have an autopilot? Looks like you use your boat a lot.
We both prefer hand-steering the boat. I don't deny the advantages of an autopilot at all and I readily agree that there are times when they can be very nice to have. But we simply enjoy driving the boat ourselves as opposed to letting a circuit board do it.

The longest runs we have made in a single day have been about eight hours, although a more typical day's run is two and a half to five hours. But we never get tired driving by hand and since we're both equally good at it (actually my wife is probably better because she sees things I sometimes don't), we can spell each other periodically.

Also, although this is not the reason we removed the autopilot and never replaced it, there can be a lot of stuff in the water up here---- logs, branches. big chunks of wood, eelgrass mats (one of them stopped the 90hp outboard on our Arima day before yesterday), kelp mats, crab and shrimp pot floats, etc.--- and while one can steer around this stuff with an autopilot control if you see it soon enough, we both feel we can react faster by hand. Particularly if we have to use the so-called "Titanic maneuver" to avoid it at the last instant.

But mainly we just like driving the boat and having the "feel" of it in our hands the whole time. It's part of the enjoyment we get out of having one.
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Old 08-21-2012, 02:41 AM   #31
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............But mainly we just like driving the boat and having the "feel" of it in our hands the whole time. It's part of the enjoyment we get out of having one.
I'm well and truly over that. My wife doesn't enjoy steering - she likes to read. I get uncomfortable stuck on the helm all the time. If I could afford one I'd have one like a shot. Trouble is we probably don't do enough long legs to really justify the 5 odd grand it would cost. I'd love a new 4g broadband radar to play with too - same issue....
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Old 08-21-2012, 05:32 AM   #32
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I'm well and truly over that. My wife doesn't enjoy steering - she likes to read. I get uncomfortable stuck on the helm all the time.
Different strokes..... After fourteen years of having our GB I still never get bored or uncomfortable driving the boat, even those times when I do the whole three or five or eight hours myself. And since my wife likes driving the boat as much as I do, we normally take turns. She says she'd like to read when we're underway and she tries it every now and then but never goes more than about five minutes before turning her Kindle off. She says she's afraid she'll miss seeing something if she's buried in a book.

So when she's not driving she's looking for eagles or porpoises or at all the other wildlife out on the water or taking pictures or is up by me at the helm.

We both feel boating would be somewhat boring with an autopilot. There was one on the GB36 we chartered prior to buying our boat and we tried it a few times. But neither one of us liked just sitting there so we soon stopped using it.

Our boat had a Benmar with a hard-wired remote that could reach either end of the boat but we took it off and eventually gave it to another fellow on the GB owner's forum.
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Old 08-21-2012, 07:47 AM   #33
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It took me only 1/2 season to understand that I don't really care about driving the boat, I just want to be on the boat.
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Old 08-21-2012, 07:53 AM   #34
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My Si-Tex was less than 2K
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Old 08-21-2012, 08:01 AM   #35
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My Si-Tex was less than 2K
That's why I am looking at an 80 ($1500). I don't want anything fancy. I just want something that can hold a course while we enjoy the surroundings a little bit (or have sex on the flybridge). Skinny Dippin' wanders around quite a bit without constant attention to the wheel and there are lots of things to see and do other than concentrate on keeping a straight course. We both enjoy driving and I doubt an autopilot will replace that, but just to be able to let go and take a close look at the charts, take a long look at the dolphin pod in the binocs, or stare at my lovely wife would be awesome.

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PS- Oops... Looks like the 80 is for cable driven boats. Crap.
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Old 08-21-2012, 08:43 AM   #36
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My Si-Tex was less than 2K
That's because. like most later built boats, (ie since early 80s - mine is 1975), the steering is hydraulic and the drive units for those are for some reason way cheaper than the rotary units needed to run a manual chain and rod steering system like mine.
For that reason I still can't figure why Marin took a perfectly good system out, when all he needs to do to drive the thing manually is just not engage the drive. I would have thought the safety appeal of having that third pair of hands to steer while some emergency was attended to, or even just to put the billy on for a cuppa, or put the fenders in or out would have made keeping it worthwhile. Beats me, but no doubt he'll have an answer...
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Old 08-21-2012, 09:09 AM   #37
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Now it's the one thing I wish I could add to my car, but apparently it cannot be done without huge expense, but on a trip and for improving economy and avoiding fines I think they are great.

Back in the day before cruise control was ubiquitous, and I was poor, I would jam a long handle ice scraper between the dash and the accelerator pedal when on long trips. Baltimore to Key West is a long drive on I95.
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