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B&G autonoilot


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My Raymarine autopilot ha died after 17 years. 
I’ve been quoted to replace it with a B&G unit as we have B&G kit for everything else. 
 

we have hydraulic steering on our Farrier Cat. 

has anyone used the B&G?  Good or not good?  Easy to use/reliable etc?

thanks

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I have one that is combined in the Vulcan 9 chartplotter, it has been good on the General except for one time when entering Tauranga Harbour it started steering back and forth. I tried adjusting the settings manually for a bit and used the learning function before resetting the Autopilot. Since then it has been great, the Vulcan 9 is a great unit with many features and only a bit more expensive than the standalone A/P unit itself. Possibly it has too many options for everything that can be a bit confusing.

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Makes a LOT of sense to use B&G if that is what you have for everything else. If the drive unit (pump for hydraulics) has been powerful and fast enough, no reason not to keep using it. Drives are expensive. 17 years - visual inspection for rust, check brush condition and inspect for hydraulic leaks. If ok, the B&G pilots can use the drive. Which Farrier cat is it, which pump do you have, and what NAC has been quoted to you for this boat?

If I were quoting, (and I'm not!) the power required at stall by the pump model determines the AP computer used. NAC 2 or NAC3. The 3 can drive a bigger pump (Faster and stronger).

If you have a Vulcan or Zeus (2 or 3) you don't need a pilot controller - the Zeus/Vulcan has the software in it. You can have a controller keypad if you wish though. Triton displays are now used for AP displays as well if you want one separate to the MFD. You can select a particular Triton to be an AP display as soon as AP is engaged if you wish.

B&G pilots are great. Even the Triton 2 ones, but the real high end boats use H5000 pilots are better than 99% of helmsmen. The first 4 of 5 for the last vendee globe finshers used B&G pilots for a reason!

Final point - make sure to read the manual, AP's can give you an awful lot more than steering to a compass heading! Make sure to learn about Nav, Wind, Nav Wind (yes different to first 2), no drift mode, and what the high and low speed modes do. On My boat, my Triton2 NAC3 pilot steers in all conditions. I steer if I want to!

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Matt, is it only the H5000 that could effectively sail to windward on a cat?

When trying to go upwind, we have to use a compass heading on our Simrad AC12 or older Raymarine backup autopilot as the apparent wind setting is no good. The AP thinks it's doing a good job holding the apparent wind angle but the boat is ranging from nearly stalling at 3kts, to tearing off on a power reach at 12kts, all on the same apparent wind angle! Even on the compass heading, we need to constantly tweek the heading up and down a couple of degrees to keep the boat effectively going upwind. 

All other wind angles, the apparent wind mode is awesome. Our fastest speed of 19.4kts was on AP under the gennaker while I was cooking dinner and the rest of the crew were asleep!

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Nah, the AC12 wind algorithms are crap. The NAC's are miles better, and the H5000's are better again. But the pilot must also  be properly configured. Really important are rudder gain, speed of turn ( deg per min) and counter rudder. Pretty easy on the newer pilots to use true wind as well/instead if you wish. The current idea is apparent when <90 true, and True when >90. This means surfing off down a wave is not seen as a wind change, like the earlier ones did!

Also the change from the RC42 (Rate fluxgate compass) to the solid state 9 axis ones (Precision 9) makes an enormous difference to  a pilot, as it always knows direction to <2deg, regardless of boat movement. 

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On the same theme, does the NAC 2 have the same software algorithms as NAC 3? I assume 3 is just heavier current output?

I only have a RM linear drive type 1 at 34’ loa. Haven’t been that impressed with AC12/42 in heavy conditions, quartering sea.

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Thanks Matt. 
a bit to absorb here. Tui is a F41. 
the equipment quoted is NAC 3 vRF AP core pack, Triton controller and RF300 rudder feedback assembly. 
 

we’ll do the pump inspections but did this a year ago and all looks in good order.

Not sure we’d be needing H5000 but I’ll check the cost difference. Not sure I’d be cooking at 19knots with a genniker up!

cheers. 

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2 hours ago, Addem said:

Thanks Matt. 
a bit to absorb here. Tui is a F41. 
the equipment quoted is NAC 3 vRF AP core pack, Triton controller and RF300 rudder feedback assembly. 
 

we’ll do the pump inspections but did this a year ago and all looks in good order.

Not sure we’d be needing H5000 but I’ll check the cost difference. Not sure I’d be cooking at 19knots with a genniker up!

cheers. 

Matt, what is the approx step up to the H5000? 

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3 hours ago, Guest said:

On the same theme, does the NAC 2 have the same software algorithms as NAC 3? I assume 3 is just heavier current output?

I only have a RM linear drive type 1 at 34’ loa. Haven’t been that impressed with AC12/42 in heavy conditions, quartering sea.

Heavy conditions and quartering seas is the hardest steering conditions. Try it yourself, most boats need attention and effort in this scenario. Many helmsmen don't do this well either!  The Single handed racers usually have known parameters for their autopilots for these conditions, and have also usually spent a month or more sailing to work out what the best settings are for their boat. Perhaps to note here is that on most cruisers, I recommend, unless they really are planning vessels, to use the low speed setting for normal sailing , and the high speed setting configured for heavy winds and quartering seas, with manual change over.  Basic difference would be quite a bit higher rudder gain, and a little higher counter rudder.

NAC2 is the same as NAC3, just lower output.

The original AC 12 and 42 is 20 years old now, much has changed! 

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27 minutes ago, Adrianp said:

Matt, what is the approx step up to the H5000? 

Ok, 1st, I don't understand why you would use a NAC3 VRF core pack when the NAC3 core pack (incl rudder sensor) is $200 more, but the RF25 (rudder feedback) is $442. I don't know why you would use an RF300 either! Way cheaper to buy the right core pack!

So, the difference between costs for a H5000 AP V a Triton2 Ap is not exactly straight forward. The H5000 AP computer is about the same cost as the NAC3 Core pack. (3K). However, to actually be useful it needs H5000 instruments as well. The base H5000 pack is another $3500 (Hydra) to $7500 (performance) plus whatever sensors you want - masthead wind, mast twist sensors, Mast rotation sensors, RFU's, Precision 9, Load cells, etc etc. Basically the difference would be min 10K...

+ if you want to have a certified H5000 installer, you'd have to come to Auckland.

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