Re: Auto pilot for a Santorin 46

smiles bernard

Hi there

Just some thoughts related to reliance on the autopilot.

We bought our Maramu to sail short handed, long distance with young kids onboard and this led me to consider our reliance on a single autopilot.

The electric autopilot has been excellent but I did want a reliable plan B.

I looked into replicating the very nice SM dual autopilot system with the addition of a linear drive unit on the steering quadrant.

In the end, for true resilience (ACU, control head, rudder sensor, drive unit) the costs and instal complexity led me to a wind vane instead.

I’ve used various wind vanes before on long trips - both servo pendulum and independent rudder systems. In each case the vanes quickly became one of the most essential things on the boat.

Almost zero maintenance, very robust and zero electronics and battery draw and they work better as the wind blows harder.

In the end for our Maramu I chose a Hydrovane as it operates independently of the boats steering system and works well with a center cockpit arrangement.

It’s has been steering our boat faultlessly since we installed it. In fact I’ve hardly used the Raymarine autopilot since we added the Hydrovane.

I believe the windpilot Pacific 2 is similar in nature in that it steers the boat whilst the main rudder is locked off but Ive not had the pleasure of trying one out yet.

I wonder if the SM is getting a little too big for a wind vane. Anyone tried a wind vane on the SM?

All the best
Maramu 162

On 21 Jul 2019, at 09:19, JOHN HAYES <> wrote:

Thanks to those who responded with sensible advice

With time on our hands we bit the bullet first pulling the motor apart and discovered that the small springs holding the brushes in place needed a tweak so they applied more pressure to their task

Then we pulled the arm apart including the small ball bearings gave all a good clean then applied lithium grease. Delicate and slow work to get the ball bearings in place. (Same system as the steering in a David brown tractor)

Whole job took about 6 hours but the auto pilot is working again......whew!!!

There is a shipment of motors and arms heading to NZ in early August......nga Waka’s name is on one of them

Thanks again for the collective advice


John Hayes Sn 41
On 21/07/2019, at 7:55 AM, Danny and Yvonne SIMMS <> wrote:

Hi John, 7 days hand steering is not much fun, I feel for you. My ray marine auto helm stopped functioning once when we were transiting French Polynesia and there was limited help available. All those technicians I could find advised all sorts of expensive replacements. A wise long time cruiser said check the electrical connections to the linear drive. He was right, they were wrong. There was a corroded wire joint. I had wasted two weeks waiting for parts to be delivered. Although two weeks in Raeatea isn't too painful. My fist lesson. Many many faults on our boats systems are caused by simple connection corrosion.
Kind Regards
SM 299
Ocean Pearl
On 20 July 2019 at 20:22 JOHN HAYES <> wrote:

Hi all

Nga Waka reached Nuku’alofa this afternoon after a slow head wind slog from Wellington; the last 7 days hand steered

The system on the yacht is a Raymarine ST6002 and has been very satisfactory.......until now! It’s a Non hydraulic system and we guess the problem may be brushes in the linear actuator.

Whether or not we can do a repair here in Nuku’alofa I’d like to purchase a second system to install so we might avoid the situation over the past week.

In that context has any one out there purchased an auto helm they find satisfactory and could you please provide a brand and model number.

Thanks for any help or advice anyone might supply

John Hayes sn 41

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