[C38] Best Autopilot

Ray Torok torok13731 at gmail.com
Thu Jul 25 13:12:19 EDT 2019

Hi Jay,

We had an old Raymarine wheel pilot that was okay motoring in flat water,
but couldn't hold a course at all sailing downwind with quartering waves.
For our purposes in San Francisco, this was simply unacceptable.  Not sure
whether the main problem was the old control algorithm or the extra slop
introduced by stretch in the steering cables or both.  I suspect the new
Raymarine uses multi-axis gyros and a more sophisticated control algorithm
and is far better.

We ended up going to a below-deck hydraulic ram to bypass the cables for
tighter control and provide an independent backup should a cable break.
The bad news was that fitting the ram in the limited space available turned
into a real project. The good news is that the new system works great.

We went with a Pelagic control head so that the autopilot would be
completely independent of the Raymarine chartplotter - there's no single
failure that can take out both of them.  Also, the Pelagic control head was
significantly less expensive than the Raymarine, and their customer service
was outstanding.  Of course, we can't program a sequence of headings for a
specific route, but that hasn't been an issue, as we always monitor our
position and heading.

two cents,

On Tue, Jul 23, 2019 at 12:52 PM Larry Malmberg <larrypi at earthlink.net>

> We upgraded to a new Raymarine wheel pilot and love it. Works great in all
> weather under sail and motor. We can also program a route into our chart
> plotter and have the auto pilot follow it. Of course, we NEVER trust it,
> it's ALWAYS monitored.
> Larry Malmberg
> 909-208-1847The problem with most political jokes is, they get elected.
> On Tue, Jul 23, 2019 at 11:58 AM -0700, "Jay Sorensen" <
> jdsorensen7 at gmail.com> wrote:
> G'Day All,
>> Well my old Simrad wheel pilot finally died.  It was fine in relatively
>> smooth water but regularly alarmed when in any kind of decent swell.  What
>> has the group used that works well for our beloved Catalina 38's.  A
>> Raymarine wheel pilot? A below deck system with a ram?  A trip to the
>> Channel Islands is planned for late September so I plan to install in Aug
>> to have time to test.
>> Many Thanks!
>> Jay Sorensen
>> C38 #311 Broad Reach
>> San Diego, CA
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