Auto pilot

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vasile@sbcglobal.net
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Auto pilot

Hi all, I have a 83 MKI.  Its has a pretty basic configuration nothing leads back to cockpit.   I have to climb on feck to hoist main.  I singlehand and only sail with foresail.  Looking for most economical auto pilot option.  (Wheellock not an opion in high winds) ... anyone know of used available after upgrade?  Nothing on our classifieds. Thanks 

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Sojourn
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Hi Joe,
I had an old Raymarine wheel pilot, it did OK.  Finally, the clutch wore out.  I bought a new Raymarine wheel pilot.  The new unit is clearly better and the clutch is adjustable.  My advice is two fold.  First, do not buy a second hand unit.  Secondly, do move critical lines aft.  For sure, the halyard, vang and outhaul should be moved aft.  I have move all reefing lines aft and I'm happy.  Neither me or my wife need to go to the deck.  We, a few seasons ago, bought a electric WinchRite handle.  Lifes much easier now.

Lou Bruska
Sojourn
1985 C-36 Mk-I TR #495
Eldean Shipyard
Lake Macatawa (Holland, MI) Lake Michigan
Rallyback@comcast.net

vasile@sbcglobal.net
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Hey Lou,

Agree how moving lines aft would be helpful, especially when single handing.  That's yet another project.  

So, not a good idea to look for a used auto wheel pilot. huh ?  And yes, interested in wheel systems.  Any advice as to lower cost quality systems  ?  

Thanks !
Joe
Texas - Canyon Lake

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Sojourn
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Joe,  
I'm sorry to say I do not know of a less expense way to purchase and install an auto pilot on C-36.  There are four primary components to Raymarine Wheel Pilot.

  1. The wheel drive, simple and straight forward to install.
  2. The control head, for me it was a simple replace.  I have Garmin instruments so it was necessary purchase a NMEA 2000 to SEATalk cable.
  3. Electronic compass unit.
  4. The ACU unit device that links the other three components an supplies the power and direction control to the wheel drive.  (Left hand picture) The ACU is on the left and the compass is on the right, on the outside of the hanging locker in aft cabin. (Right hand picture) The VDC power and communication conections are show inside the hanging locker.  

It's not necessary to show the control head, just another instrument to be mounted on or near the helm.  The wheel pilot is stand alonedevice  mounted on the wheel itself.

Hope this helps,

 

Lou Bruska
Sojourn
1985 C-36 Mk-I TR #495
Eldean Shipyard
Lake Macatawa (Holland, MI) Lake Michigan
Rallyback@comcast.net

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Sojourn
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In my last post substitute Top for Left and Bottom for Right.

Lou Bruska
Sojourn
1985 C-36 Mk-I TR #495
Eldean Shipyard
Lake Macatawa (Holland, MI) Lake Michigan
Rallyback@comcast.net

Booker Sea
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Joined: 11/22/21
Posts: 4

The raymarine wheel pilot works ok
I have the previous version not the current model was installed in 09
but you need the sails balanced .
single handed its point into the wind set the pilot then raise the main.

Autopilots are one of those things once you have one that works you don't
replace it with interment upgrades so not many used ones out there that are working
and honestly at the price of the wheel pilot not worth the effort.

the autopilot and the sonar transducer are the only electronics that are still used from the 09 
upgrade previous owned did.

vasile@sbcglobal.net
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Posts: 16

Hey hope you are well.  Following up on my desire to single hand.  My thinking was auto pilot allows me to hop up on deck to Raise the main.  Auto pilot would cost about 2k with install.  Wondering your thoughts on price to lead lines aft.  If cheeper that might do the trick.  

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Chachere
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We revamped the control lines on our former C36Mk1 to bring them all to the cockpit (other than the spinnaker halyward), see this post:
www.catalina36.org/comment/55992#comment-55992
Since it was nearly a decade ago, I can't give you a price estimate (we bought the various blocks, line clutches, etc.,  from Garhauer) .   But it really made single handing easier, and we really liked not having to go up on deck when the weather was snotty.

One other nice upgrade for singlehanding on that boat was a hand-held remote for the autopilot.  Ours was an aftermarket gizmo made by a guy in Australia (www.madmanmarine.com).   That way one could be forward in the cockpit handing the traveller and the jib sheets while tacking....

 

Matthew Chachère
s/v ¡Que Chévere!
(Formerly 1985 C36 MKI #466 tall rig fin keel M25)
2006 Catalina Morgan 440 #30.
Homeported in eastern Long Island, NY

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Sojourn
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Posts: 121

Hi Joe,

As to expense, there's a lot of variables.  What lines are already led back: some or all the halyards, vang, which reef lines if any (maybe the clue reefs)?  If most of the above are not lead back, it will costly.

  • Turning blocks to and on the deck and then aft to the cabin top.
  • Clutches and cam cleats for the lighter lines, such as, outhaul and vang.
  • Some or all of the lines will be needing replacement, outhaul, reef lines, and most costly the halyards.
  • Adding tack reef lines also is a good thing, but also adds to the cost.

I have done all of the above and I'm very happy with the setup.  The concern about raising sails is real for a single hander, but reefing shouldn't be overlooked.  An other improvement is how to handle the jib furling line.  On my boat, I run the line along the deck, then through a clutch near the helm and then to a turning block on the aft end of the outside track on the toe rail.  The benefits are the clutch can hold against the tension of a reefed jib and yet is easy to release.  A second benefit is the turning block allows the ability to run to winch, if desire or roll up the sail hand over hand with strain taken up by the clutch between pulls.

Remember that while single handing, the above contribute to your safety as well as ease of sail handling.

Good luck!

Lou Bruska
Sojourn
1985 C-36 Mk-I TR #495
Eldean Shipyard
Lake Macatawa (Holland, MI) Lake Michigan
Rallyback@comcast.net

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