Updating Electronics - Should we include updated autopilot, looking for opinions?
We're in the process of updating the electronics on Avalon, our 1990 46 Grand Banks Classic. Our Northstar 961 system served us well but gave out last season. We've selected Furuno TZTouch14 MFD for the upper and lower helm stations, AIS, and radar overlay at both stations. In order to accomplish the radar overlay we need to install a PG-700 Heading sensor, which I would likely install anyway to insure we always have actual heading displayed regardless of motion tracked via GPS.
We currently have a Raytheon ST6000+ autopilot with a ram appropriately installed in the Lazarette. I realize there has been a lot of discussion around installing a ram on cable steering systems but this setup has functioned for nearly 15 years. The autopilot works fairly well in all but a following sea when itís easily confused and I find it best to steer manually.
My question is around the benefit we might experience by upgrading the autopilot to one of the new "adaptive systems" such as the Furuno 711C. Since we are planning to install the PG-700 Heading sensor anyway and itís included in the Autopilot package so my thought is it might be worthwhile just upgrading the autopilot now. The current ram should work correctly with the new autopilot, according to Furuno.
Does anyone have experience in making the upgrade from a 2000 vintage autopilot to the newer adaptive technology? Any thoughts on what sort of improvement we might see with a following sea or in overall use? Should I leave well enough alone or take the opportunity to upgrade now to a completely networked system?
One note is that Avalon does have Naiad stabilizers and according to Furuno they say that does complicate the job for any autopilot. Of course they do say we would experience a very noticeable improvement but then again they make the stuff.
Thanks for the help,