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RE: Autopilots

Thanks Bob!  Good bit of information.  I originally was looking at the
Raymarine product but started eyeballing the Simrad choices for the very
reasons you noted.  The Raymarine tiller pilots do come with a "free"
remote, which makes them tempting.  I have pretty well decided to buy an
autopilot - 90 percent of my outings are single-handing adventures (on Puget
Sound) and I do get weary of hanging on to the tiller during an extended
trip. Lots of other things I could be doing.  Mostly interested in having
one for motoring, rather than sailing.  My Davis Tiller Tamer just doesn't
allow me to get away from the helm for long.  Thanks again - guess now I get
to make a decision.

-----Original Message-----
From: owner-sanjuan23@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
[mailto:owner-sanjuan23@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx]On Behalf Of Bob Schimmel
Sent: Sunday, August 22, 2004 2:28 PM
To: sanjuan23@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: Re: Autopilots


I recently went through this process last winter . Here are my findings.

To begin with, Autohelm was the original electric autopilot and there
was no competition to the product for many years. Then Autohelm was
bought out by Raymarine. Raymarine renamed the models from Autohelm 300
to ST1000 without doing any changes to insides. The difference between
the ST1000 and the 2000 is that the 2000 has heavier duty drive gears
which will make the unit last longer. This is a real issue with the
offshore bunch and the reason why many still use wind vanes or carry 3
backups.  From what I'm told, the electronics is identical between the
two model numbers. I'm sure that Raymarine must have added some upgrades
to the product by now. The ST1000 is adequate for a SJ23 but I recommend
the 2000 for long life. A friend of mine motors with an Autohelm 300 on
his SJ28. Motoring is easier on the drive train than sailing as sailing
requires way more tweak adjustments to stay on course. It's cool to
watch it work.

Some time ago Simrad bought Navico. I have no idea how the new Simrad
model numbers compare to Navico numbers, but the R&D required to build
an electric autopilot is huge. Therefore I suggest that the Simrad guts
are the same as the Navico. After all, why buy a company if you intend
to redesign the product? However, with time I'm sure they would have
done some improvements. The Simrad series are heavier duty units, react
a bit quicker, and draw less power. These are the reasons why a friend
of mine bought Simrad over a Raymarine.  He bought a TP20 to control a
Chrysler 25.

So have I not bought one. As much as I can justify it for solo sailing,
I find it difficult to part with the cash for sailing on a lake, but it
sure is tempting. Maybe I'll find a used on so I can also buy a 135% genoa.


Kind Regards

Bob Schimmel
(Always stay curious)


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