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I'd be interested to know if anyone operates an autohelm or tillerpilot on an 8.5 multihull.  I'm thinking that it would be useful for sail changes and deck management if you're shorthanded or sailing with non-sailors. I imagine actually sailing with one would be quite inefficient relative to having a capable human on the tiller.

 

I also realise that there are certain conditions where you wouldn't want to leave the steering responsibilities up to a robot which can't feel the wind gusts. 

 

If anyone has any experience with one I'd be keen to hear about it.

 

Cheers,

Justin

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I used to have 2 St2000 tillerpilots on voom, one in each cockpit. Used them a lot when singlehanded racing. Brilliant. Made hoists, drops and peels so much easier. If its breezy, just need to be running deep to do kite stuff.

 

Also made long motoring trips much more pleasant, not having to steer

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Thanks for the feedback.  Looks like they have their place.  I'll probably select the model based on room constraints in the cockpit.  Saying that, I quite like the idea of a wireless controller which could persuade me down a certain track, particularly if I want to try some singlehanded racing in the future.

 

Next question:

 

Given the lack of space in the GBE cockpit, I'm thinking about installing it so the automatic tiller device runs fore & aft connecting to an extension running 90 degrees off the tiller.  I realise this would put the compass bearing 90 degrees out, but if the trigonometry was correct, it would work as expected.

 

Any thoughts on that idea?  Anyone done it or something similar? 

 

Also, the tillerpilots seem to have fairly specific instructions on where the connection point needs to be along the length of the tiller.  I'm assuming that if you go further along the tiller - increasing the distance between the stock and the connection point - the worst thing that would happen is that the turning circle wouldn't be tight as expected (which would be desirable for a setup where you're cruising along at multihull speeds).

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Being turned 90 shouldn’t matter, the tiller pilot doesn’t really need to know where north is, just a reference heading and weather it’s to port or starboard of that.

 

Shifting the connection further out the tiller will also make it turn the rudder slower, as it will need to extend further to make the same amount of change as if it were closer to the stock. Also, the turning circle being bigger, although I don’t see that as much of a benefit, but the ram will have more leverage. I’d think speed of turn would be a fair priority.

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Mine was fitted under the crossbar between the tillers.  One end on the hill side and the other under the bar.  It meant the pilot was twice as far from the pivot it should have been (800mm v 400mm??). Other than slower reactions, not too much of an issue.  I did find the ST2000 was much faster than the ST1000, which helped.  The cats dont need much movement of the tiller, they track well as it is, and at pace, you dont move the tiller anywhere near as much as a mono.

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If you use a tillerpilot, they all have a fairly crap compass anyway. If you use a TP22 or 32, you can add an external compass, correctly oriented. They steer a hell of a lot better with that, even better if you interface wind instruments, then you can steer to wind angles. Add a MFD, like the Vulcan or Zeus 3, and you have a fully functional nav system with autopilot.

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The system on my boat is as you suggest IT, and it’s awesome. TP32, Vulcan plotter, triton instrument system, external compass and wireless AP remote. It drives the boat amazingly well, I can use the buttons on the TP or the full controls on the Vulcan to operate the AP, and the remote is great. It’s also handy to set it to wind angle, then set it to 0 degrees when dropping the main, doesn’t matter if the wind shifts, boat stays head to wind.

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