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Author Topic:   Auto Pilot
MATTANZA posted 11-02-2006 10:24 PM ET (US)   Profile for MATTANZA   Send Email to MATTANZA  
I'm in the market for an auto pilot. I have a 1981 Outrage 24 center console with a single 225-HP outboard with Seastar hydraulic steering. I want the best performance, price isn't really an issue. I want it to work! Any feedback or suggestions are greatly appreciated.
Thanks
Rick
Tom W Clark posted 11-02-2006 11:00 PM ET (US)     Profile for Tom W Clark  Send Email to Tom W Clark     
Rick,

I am not a connoisseur of auto pilots but I have a Sitex SP-70 in my Revenge 25 which also has SeaStar hydraulic steering. It works very well.

Riptide23WA posted 11-03-2006 10:05 AM ET (US)     Profile for Riptide23WA  Send Email to Riptide23WA     
My boat has an Autohelm ST5000, early 90's vintage. I don't use it much, but it seems to work fine. I just connected it to the GPS this year...

One thing I don't like about it is how it affects the feel of the hydraulic steering. I have a typical SeaStar setup, and the additional fluid flow thru the pump and tubing has removed the smooth steering action that a non-AP SeaStar system has. My buddy has the exact SeaStar setup on his boat, and it's like night and day.

I don't think anything is malfunctioning with my setup (after I put a new hub seal in this spring -- thanks jimh for the writeup). But it is one facet that I would investigate prior to purchasing an AP...

Pat

Plotman posted 11-03-2006 11:00 AM ET (US)     Profile for Plotman  Send Email to Plotman     
I have a Raymarine S1000 - designed for small boats with hydraulic steering. No separate compass, just uses a NMEA compass heading from your GPS. Easy to install, can't tell it is there when it isn't on (it works as a separate pump in paralell with the helm pump) and takes up very little room.

You can get it for $850 or $900 complete.

I'd get one again.

handn posted 11-03-2006 03:37 PM ET (US)     Profile for handn  Send Email to handn     
If price is no issue, get a Simrad AP 16. The performance is impeccable, it has all the bells and whistles and mine has run 650 hours without a problem. The test of an auto pilot is running down sea. Will the auto pilot control the boat or will it slew back and forth putting the boat in danger of broaching?

My AP 16 will run my Conquest 305 downsea comfortably most of the time, unless the seas are huge or I am getting partially beamed.

If you don't have a tilt wheel and are not a power user try a Raytheon Sport Pilot. Price is about $1000 and you can install it yourself. It is handy for fishing and will run the boat on course at moderate speeds in moderate seas. Going downsea in all but tiny seas, the boat will slew back and forth.

You get what you pay for but that may be OK depending on the use.

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