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Author Topic:   Autopilot on 23 Conquest
ivansfo posted 07-12-2003 01:56 PM ET (US)   Profile for ivansfo   Send Email to ivansfo  
Are there any 23 Conquest owners out there with autopilots? I like hear some recommendations on which autopilot works good on this boat and what's involved in the installation.

I want to get an autopilot for my 23 CQ with twin 135 Optis. Have heard good things about the Simrad AP14H but would like to know if there are other good ones.



matawan posted 07-12-2003 03:45 PM ET (US)     Profile for matawan  Send Email to matawan     
Just installed an ST5000 (Raymarine) autopilot on my Justice 21 with Dual optis 135. Love the way it works.
Holds a heading very well in all sea's, also tracks well
to GPS coordinates. This unit gets plumbed into the hydaulic lines, and uses a feedback transducer, back at the engines, One of the things that I like is the fluxgate compass it uses to get the heading seems to be very accurate even in rough sea's.
ivansfo posted 07-13-2003 11:31 PM ET (US)     Profile for ivansfo  Send Email to ivansfo     
Raymarine is the other one I'm looking at too. How would you rate the difficulty of the installtion?

I was able to do my own install for GSP, FF, VHF, and radar. That was all electronics but autopilot requires plumbing. Just wonder if I should attempt to do this myself.



matawan posted 07-14-2003 06:10 PM ET (US)     Profile for matawan  Send Email to matawan     
I think it can be done by someone who is good at such things.
I would say it is a little harder than a gps or radar but not impossible.
I mounted the pump on the center console floor and ran hoses up to the steering console I used hoses that were made up for me at a 5 foot length this is because seastar hoses came in 4 or 6 foot lengths pre made, and I did not like the plastic cut to length hoses.
Its a good idea to make sure that the hoses run uphill so air does not get stuck in the lines.

If you go with the raymarine 5000 you will need to tell them
that you have dual engines also the seastar ram you have at the engines so they can get you the correct bracket for the feedback transducer. I e-mailed raymarine with this info and they were very helpfull.

Also I would suggest that you mount the display at eye level, I mounted my display to the right of my compass in a navpod.

Lastly the fluxgate compass was mounted on the forward wall of the center console.

I run from Santa Barbara out to Santa Cruz island, about 21 miles. Alot of the time its foggy, and the autopilot really
makes it a nicer trip.

ivansfo posted 07-22-2003 07:27 PM ET (US)     Profile for ivansfo  Send Email to ivansfo     

Thanks for all the tips. After talking to my local shop, I decided to go with the Simrad AP14H. The AP arrived yesterday and now I'm out seaching for all the accesories not included in the kit such as hoses and fittings.

This AP will be great for our long tuna 35-50 mile runs to the tuna grounds. I hope to get this installed in a few weeks.


bsmotril posted 07-22-2003 10:36 PM ET (US)     Profile for bsmotril  Send Email to bsmotril     
I have enough of a problem staying awake heading in after an all day 40 mile offshore trip with a nice following sea. How do you mange to keep awake with an AP ;-)
diveorfish posted 07-23-2003 01:48 PM ET (US)     Profile for diveorfish  Send Email to diveorfish     
Ivansfo: I finally got that “total fuel burned” gauge turned on. Thanks for the tip!

Bsmotril: I never have a problem staying awake. It always seems to be a wild and wooly ride out in the big water during the summer months. I always seem to be hanging on for dear life. I think maybe I drive a little bit too fast but the boat seems to like it that way.

How far does the auto pilot go? Does it navigate, steer and throttle the boat? The constant steering and throttle corrections that have to be made in rough water keep me on my toes. I can’t envision auto pilot doing all that. What am I missing?

ivansfo posted 07-23-2003 02:45 PM ET (US)     Profile for ivansfo  Send Email to ivansfo     

After a long day of fishing, I can barely stay awake too. I'll see if the AP helps in those situations. I think turning the AP on and just scanning for obstacles will be easier on me since I don't have to keep looking at the compass every moment to be sure I'm on course.


Glad to hear you got the Total Fuel Burn working. I like it but I'm not sure how accurate it is. I find it odd that there's no calibration for this feature too. Have you done any testing to gauge accuracy?

The AP will only steer the boat in one of 2 ways. One is to steer on a course bearing and the other is steer to a GPS waypoint. I think having it steer to a waypoint will come in handy. It won't adjust throttle.

On my past trips out for tuna (running in the dark), I found it hard to keep the boat on course. The GPS updates are slow and there's nothing in the horizon for reference. I found my self going off course by more than 60 degrees at times. So runs like these and long runs out to the Farallons or N buoy is when I hope the AP will come in handy. Also I hear it's nice when salmon trolling.

When in rough water, forget about the AP. I find myself at full attention and always adjusting rudder and trottle.


bsmotril posted 07-23-2003 04:50 PM ET (US)     Profile for bsmotril  Send Email to bsmotril     
Don't set your waypoint right on the farewell buouy just in case you do nod off ;-)

Where my conquest really differs from my old rig is that I can pretty much set and forget the trottles. Heading out in our typical 2-4s I run tabs down, motors trimmed all the way in, and RPMs=3000 for 18-19 mph. This give a bearable ride without much pounding. The Opt 135s don't lug down and run nicely there with great fuel economy. If the seas are closer to 2', I can trim out a bit and raise the tabs at the same rpm and get 22 mph.

Either way, I leave the throttles set and concentrate on steering. I find you can cause less wear and tear on the riders and boat by steering in "airplane" mode when heading into the seas. That is, steer to keep the boat beam level with the horizon when coming off a wave and make steer to make your course corrections in the troughs between the waves. This makes the landings more of a "squish" than a "bang" and lets that V-hull do it's thang. There is the exception for that rogue wave or six foot sea that looms up where I have to chop the throttles to prevent a big bang. I wonder how the AP will do in such a situation

Heading in is usually a different story as the seas are 99% following during the summer season. After a long day, the droan of the engines as you climb and surf each following wave lulls me into la-la land easily. It is a real battle to keep my eyes open, and I only sip water or gatorade offshore. It helps to have a crew for conversation or to take over the helm.

I sure would love to have an AP, especially for my solo fishing/trolling. Maybe there's a deadman switch you can get like diesel locomotives have for the nap factor. Please let us know the outcome and report on how it performs.

Dr Don posted 07-23-2003 09:57 PM ET (US)     Profile for Dr Don  Send Email to Dr Don     
Try they sell an autopilot installation kit for about $90.00 that was very helpful when I installed that model on my 24' Outrage. Had the extra fittings and hose.
ivansfo posted 03-09-2004 02:33 PM ET (US)     Profile for ivansfo  Send Email to ivansfo     
For those of you interested in an AP, I'm happy to report I finally got the Simrad AP14H installed on my 23 Conquest. The AP was purchased back in July 2003 but with a 9 month old at home, work, family commitments, and fishing, getting the AP installed just wasn't a high priority.

The actual installation job took me 3 weekends and I found it more difficult than I anticipated but not impossible for the DIYers. The difficult parts were planning for the hyraulic fittings and tapping into the SeaStar hydraulic steering system. The electical wiring was relatively easy, no harder than installing a plotter, fish finder, or VHF radio.

This past Sunday, I took the boat out to calibrate the compass and test the AP. Conditions in the morning on San Francisco bay was glass calm but heavily fogged. Perfect condition to calibrate compass and test the AP.
Calibrating the compass took 2 tries and about 20 minutes.

Once done I pointed the boat north towards the SF Bay bridge and hit the Auto button and let go of the steering wheel. Magically the AP held the boat on a steady course through the dense fog. At this point, I'm thrilled because the darn AP actually works! On the chartplotter, the track line traveled was perfectly straight. When I look at my outboard motors, I can see the AP making minor steering adjustments every 1-2 seconds. The wake left behind the boat showed a slight S pattern but this was quickly corrected by turning down the gain on the AP. Now the wake left behind was pefectly straight. Once I got into an area with boat traffic, I turned off the AP and it was back to manual steer. I tested the AP a few more times throughout the day and found it worked perfectly even in 1 feet wind chop. The real test will come later in the season when I test it in the open ocean and steering towards a GPS location.

From the brief time playing with it, I find the AP a tremendous help when traveling far distances or in fog and darkness. When running in the fog and dark, I find it most stressful because there are too many things to do. I would keep an eye on the compass to maintain course, monitor the radar for surface obstacles, and adjust throttle to sea conditions. With one less thing to worry about, I can relax a little and just make sure I don't run into anything out there.

So if you use your Whaler like I do, I'd say the AP is well worth the investment. By doing it yourself, you can save about $800 in labor. Install in during the winter so can take your time.


BW23 posted 03-09-2004 04:48 PM ET (US)     Profile for BW23  Send Email to BW23     
Sounds great !!!
Keep us updated.


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