Self Steering


Tulio Serrata
 

Hello All,
Firstly, I would like to say how I truly enjoy this group. I have been doing a lot of reading on many topics where I have no first hand knowledge since I am not an owner as of YET....
Please excuse my inexperience. I do not know if this an ignorant question. I understand when doing a crossing or for that matter anytime you go out one should have backup for their systems.
I assume electronic equipment has to be the most common and frequent piece of equipment to fail. With that being said, I recently watched the YouTube video of SV Delos where their systems went down and they had to handsteer. I have seen smaller boats with wind vanes. Is the Amel too big for a Wind Vane? Is this an option if you lose your autopilot?


 

There are a few wind vanes installed on Amels. Generally speaking as the size of the sailboat increases, wind vanes are not used. I do not believe that any are installed on A54s and newer. and only less than 4 on the almost 500 SMs.

Your question is about backup. Beginning with the SM2k, Amel installed 2 autopilots. Amel's second autopilot was perfected beginning with the A54 because everything was duplicated. The SM2k had an option of 2 autopilot drives, but not the duplication of the other components such as course computer, control head, electronic compass, and rudder reference. I had the pleasure of owning a SM2k which had 2 autopilot drives installed by Amel. These were controlled by an A/B switch. In 11 years, I had a need to use the standby autopilot drive once, and I had to swap the standby course computer with the one installed only once. I solved the gap in duplicity by having additional components ready to install if a component failed.

As you probably know, Jimmy Cornell founded the ARC (Atlantic Rally for Cruisers). I asked him what his experience was with sailboats crossing the Atlantic and their autopilots. He said that about 10% will fail. In my opinion, if you are crossing an ocean you need autopilot systems back-ups.

BUT, there are other components that can fail and cause you grief. Early SMs had only 1 autopilot drive and it was a chain-driven autopilot drive connected to the helm. If you had a spare drive, you were not necessarily OK because if the steering rack or its cables failed, your only option was to rig the emergency tiller. However, if you had a linear autopilot drive connected directly to the quadrant, you could steer with the autopilot by disconnecting the failed cable steering system at the quadrant.

The optional 2nd autopilot in later model 54s perfected backup with the following duplicates that were separate from one another. This was followed in the 55 and 50. The 50 took things to another level with 2 rudders, each with an independant autopilot and designed to be disconnected and operated independently of the other:
Control Heads
Pilot course computers
Rudder references
Hydraulic Pumps
Hydraulic Linear Actuators
Rudders only on A50 and later

Bill

CW Bill Rouse Amel Owners Yacht School
720 Winnie, Galveston Island, Texas 77550 
   

On Fri, Oct 21, 2022 at 8:36 AM Tulio Serrata <watukie@...> wrote:
Hello All,
Firstly, I would like to say how I truly enjoy this group. I have been doing a lot of reading on many topics where I have no first hand knowledge since I am not an owner as of YET....
Please excuse my inexperience. I do not know if this an ignorant question. I understand when doing a crossing or for that matter anytime you go out one should have backup for their systems.
I assume electronic equipment has to be the most common and frequent piece of equipment to fail. With that being said, I recently watched the YouTube video of SV Delos where their systems went down and they had to handsteer. I have seen smaller boats with wind vanes. Is the Amel too big for a Wind Vane? Is this an option if you lose your autopilot?


Eric Freedman
 

We have 2 autopilot drives that are installed. We also have a spare drive, a spare course computer , and a spare rudder reference transducer, and a spare control head.

Having been hit by lightning we did not lose the second drive, the rest of the gear was fried. It did not take very long to change the rest of the equipment.

As a suggestion I would recommend tinning each thin wire that goes into the course computer.

It takes some time if you don’t . Also, a folding step ladder makes the job much easier.

Fair Winds

Eric

Kimberlite Amel Super Maramu #376

 

 

From: main@AmelYachtOwners.groups.io On Behalf Of CW Bill Rouse
Sent: Friday, October 21, 2022 10:17 AM
To: main@amelyachtowners.groups.io
Subject: Re: [AmelYachtOwners] Self Steering

 

There are a few wind vanes installed on Amels. Generally speaking as the size of the sailboat increases, wind vanes are not used. I do not believe that any are installed on A54s and newer. and only less than 4 on the almost 500 SMs.

 

Your question is about backup. Beginning with the SM2k, Amel installed 2 autopilots. Amel's second autopilot was perfected beginning with the A54 because everything was duplicated. The SM2k had an option of 2 autopilot drives, but not the duplication of the other components such as course computer, control head, electronic compass, and rudder reference. I had the pleasure of owning a SM2k which had 2 autopilot drives installed by Amel. These were controlled by an A/B switch. In 11 years, I had a need to use the standby autopilot drive once, and I had to swap the standby course computer with the one installed only once. I solved the gap in duplicity by having additional components ready to install if a component failed.

 

As you probably know, Jimmy Cornell founded the ARC (Atlantic Rally for Cruisers). I asked him what his experience was with sailboats crossing the Atlantic and their autopilots. He said that about 10% will fail. In my opinion, if you are crossing an ocean you need autopilot systems back-ups.

 

BUT, there are other components that can fail and cause you grief. Early SMs had only 1 autopilot drive and it was a chain-driven autopilot drive connected to the helm. If you had a spare drive, you were not necessarily OK because if the steering rack or its cables failed, your only option was to rig the emergency tiller. However, if you had a linear autopilot drive connected directly to the quadrant, you could steer with the autopilot by disconnecting the failed cable steering system at the quadrant.

 

The optional 2nd autopilot in later model 54s perfected backup with the following duplicates that were separate from one another. This was followed in the 55 and 50. The 50 took things to another level with 2 rudders, each with an independant autopilot and designed to be disconnected and operated independently of the other:

Control Heads

Pilot course computers

Rudder references

Hydraulic Pumps

Hydraulic Linear Actuators

Rudders only on A50 and later

 

Bill


Image removed by sender.

CW Bill Rouse Amel Owners Yacht School

720 Winnie, Galveston Island, Texas 77550 

Image removed by sender. Image removed by sender. Image removed by sender. 

 

On Fri, Oct 21, 2022 at 8:36 AM Tulio Serrata <watukie@...> wrote:

Hello All,
Firstly, I would like to say how I truly enjoy this group. I have been doing a lot of reading on many topics where I have no first hand knowledge since I am not an owner as of YET....
Please excuse my inexperience. I do not know if this an ignorant question. I understand when doing a crossing or for that matter anytime you go out one should have backup for their systems.
I assume electronic equipment has to be the most common and frequent piece of equipment to fail. With that being said, I recently watched the YouTube video of SV Delos where their systems went down and they had to handsteer. I have seen smaller boats with wind vanes. Is the Amel too big for a Wind Vane? Is this an option if you lose your autopilot?


Eric Freedman
 

As an aside, I had a wind vane on my 37 foot Tartan, It worked well however , It has a lot of mechanical parts and lines and I should have gone with a second autopilot on that boat. I also used a Raymarine autopilot on that boat I put about 15,000 miles on that one.

Fair Winds

Eric

Kimberlite Amel Super Maramu #376

 

 

From: main@AmelYachtOwners.groups.io On Behalf Of Eric Freedman via groups.io
Sent: Friday, October 21, 2022 4:43 PM
To: main@AmelYachtOwners.groups.io
Subject: Re: [AmelYachtOwners] Self Steering

 

We have 2 autopilot drives that are installed. We also have a spare drive, a spare course computer , and a spare rudder reference transducer, and a spare control head.

Having been hit by lightning we did not lose the second drive, the rest of the gear was fried. It did not take very long to change the rest of the equipment.

As a suggestion I would recommend tinning each thin wire that goes into the course computer.

It takes some time if you don’t . Also, a folding step ladder makes the job much easier.

Fair Winds

Eric

Kimberlite Amel Super Maramu #376

 

 

From: main@AmelYachtOwners.groups.io On Behalf Of CW Bill Rouse
Sent: Friday, October 21, 2022 10:17 AM
To: main@amelyachtowners.groups.io
Subject: Re: [AmelYachtOwners] Self Steering

 

There are a few wind vanes installed on Amels. Generally speaking as the size of the sailboat increases, wind vanes are not used. I do not believe that any are installed on A54s and newer. and only less than 4 on the almost 500 SMs.

 

Your question is about backup. Beginning with the SM2k, Amel installed 2 autopilots. Amel's second autopilot was perfected beginning with the A54 because everything was duplicated. The SM2k had an option of 2 autopilot drives, but not the duplication of the other components such as course computer, control head, electronic compass, and rudder reference. I had the pleasure of owning a SM2k which had 2 autopilot drives installed by Amel. These were controlled by an A/B switch. In 11 years, I had a need to use the standby autopilot drive once, and I had to swap the standby course computer with the one installed only once. I solved the gap in duplicity by having additional components ready to install if a component failed.

 

As you probably know, Jimmy Cornell founded the ARC (Atlantic Rally for Cruisers). I asked him what his experience was with sailboats crossing the Atlantic and their autopilots. He said that about 10% will fail. In my opinion, if you are crossing an ocean you need autopilot systems back-ups.

 

BUT, there are other components that can fail and cause you grief. Early SMs had only 1 autopilot drive and it was a chain-driven autopilot drive connected to the helm. If you had a spare drive, you were not necessarily OK because if the steering rack or its cables failed, your only option was to rig the emergency tiller. However, if you had a linear autopilot drive connected directly to the quadrant, you could steer with the autopilot by disconnecting the failed cable steering system at the quadrant.

 

The optional 2nd autopilot in later model 54s perfected backup with the following duplicates that were separate from one another. This was followed in the 55 and 50. The 50 took things to another level with 2 rudders, each with an independant autopilot and designed to be disconnected and operated independently of the other:

Control Heads

Pilot course computers

Rudder references

Hydraulic Pumps

Hydraulic Linear Actuators

Rudders only on A50 and later

 

Bill


Image removed by sender.

CW Bill Rouse Amel Owners Yacht School

720 Winnie, Galveston Island, Texas 77550 

Image removed by sender. Image removed by sender. Image removed by sender. 

 

On Fri, Oct 21, 2022 at 8:36 AM Tulio Serrata <watukie@...> wrote:

Hello All,
Firstly, I would like to say how I truly enjoy this group. I have been doing a lot of reading on many topics where I have no first hand knowledge since I am not an owner as of YET....
Please excuse my inexperience. I do not know if this an ignorant question. I understand when doing a crossing or for that matter anytime you go out one should have backup for their systems.
I assume electronic equipment has to be the most common and frequent piece of equipment to fail. With that being said, I recently watched the YouTube video of SV Delos where their systems went down and they had to handsteer. I have seen smaller boats with wind vanes. Is the Amel too big for a Wind Vane? Is this an option if you lose your autopilot?


Bill Kinney
 

As far as I know, the only windvane that can be used on an Amel is an auxiliary rudder type.  The only one I know of on the market right now is a Hydrovane.

But... I have a good bit of experience with a windvane on my old boat.  When it worked, it was awesome.  But as Eric suggests, they are actually quite complex mechanical beasts.  In the older sailing literature (and in the minds of some old salts in armchairs) they are infinitely reliable devices that never fail.  But, they most certainly can (and do!) fail in ways that are just impossible to repair at sea.  Once upon a time, they might have been significantly more reliable than an electronic autopilot.  In my experience this is no longer true.

I am pretty comfortable with our system of two fully independent electronic systems. Two computers. Two drives. Two compasses. Two networks.  The power supply is the only thing shared.

Bill Kinney
SM160, Harmonie
Port Louis, Grenada
http://www.cruisingconsulting.com


Ian Park
 

Our Santorin had a hydrovane.
It was great when it worked.
The front of the keel and the rudder are nicely angled to slough off any weed that you go through. The hydrovane rudder is vertical. Ours collected Sargasso weed which overpowered the capacity of the mechanism to steer the boat. This required either stopping the boat or trying to push the weed off while travelling along. Invariably this happened during the night. So it was a trip out of the cockpit to deal with it. I took the rudder off the hydrovane and have used the autopilot ever since. I only have the chain drive unit, but carry a spare one.
The force on the hull fixings is quite hefty (proportional to the weight of the boat). When I removed the hydrovane the wooden mounting pads had worn the surface of the gel coat ti the extent that I had to paint by the stern with awlgrip. In its defence the bolts had only been backed up by penny washers when I bought the boat when I changed them to more substantial backing plates.

From my 9 year experience on this forum the number of reports of total steering system failure I have read about is 1.

I also admit that having reached the three score years + 15 I much prefer not having to leave the cockpit!!

Ian