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Underdeck autopilot

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Galatea View Drop Down
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Joined: 24 Dec 2009
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Galatea Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Underdeck autopilot
    Posted: 03 Nov 2015 at 4:01am
Has anyone installed an underdeck autopilot? If so, what brand/model?  I'm not sure if there's enough space to fit one properly.
Mark
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George Isted View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote George Isted Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 Nov 2015 at 1:21pm
I looked into this for a short while but concluded that the cost/effort required to do so was not worth it. The biggest issue is fitting the ram to the rudder stock would require modification to the tube it sits in, and the fitting of a seal to keep the sea on the correct side of the hull.   All in all it was not worth the effort.
George Isted
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Galatea View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Galatea Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 Nov 2015 at 1:01am
George,

This issue didn't even occur to me.  Galatea has chain and cable wheel steering.  The rudder shaft passes through a packing box and is exposed above it.  But I'm not sure if there is enough shaft exposed above the quadrant to attach a tiller arm for the autopilot, and if there's enough space for a linear drive. 

Currently, I have an Autohelm 3000 that's almost 30 years old.  It still works fine in normal settled weather, but lately I've been sailing solo a lot more and I'm getting concerned that it could fail on a longer passage.  My default option is to get a new Raymarine wheelpilot and keep the autohelm as a spare, but an underdeck autopilot could probably handle a lot worse conditions and provide a real backup for wheel steering.

Thanks,
Mark
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George Isted View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote George Isted Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 Nov 2015 at 10:38am
Hi Mark, I assumed you had the normal tiller steering, I guess yours is a JJ Taylor boat as only a very very small number of UK boats had a wheel.

Given that you don't have to overcome the steering-quadrant hurdle I suggested I would seriously look into a below deck system.   The mounting point for the Ram will need to be very secure because the shock-loads on the rudder in a lumpy sea can be significant (and it is one reason I prefer to hand steer in those conditions).

Also, if you went for a below deck pilot your you leave your existing pilot fitted as a backup as the two would be independent of each other. What do you think?

Best of luck.
George Isted
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Galatea Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 Nov 2015 at 12:39pm
George,
That was my reasoning exactly.  But the quadrant, sheaves, and cables leave very little space under the cockpit to install a linear drive. I looked at a cable drive, such as the Simrad SD10 as an option that takes less space, but that comes with it's own potential set of issues. 
Regards,
Mark
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