I've owned Arriba
for over 3 years now and I've lost count of the number of times I've wished I'd had an autopilot - and not just for long trips. When sailing single handed even simple pleasures, like making coffee, or going to the loo, are nigh impossible without an autopilot. Well, as of this week, with the installation of Arriba's autopilot, I am no longer a prisoner to the helm!
Autopilots consist of three main components: a course computer (the "brains"), the control head (the "face", a.k.a., user interface), and a drive unit (the "brawns"). Since Arriba has Raymarine instruments and a Raymarine chart plotter, I chose a Raymarine autopilot too, specifically a SmartPilot X-10
course computer, a p70
control head and a rotary drive unit. I did the entire installation myself, which I've documented in the following photos (with more photos here
|Some of the many tools required for the installation|
|Where the autopilot course computer is going to go - directly under the nav station behind a cupboard.|
SeaTalk NG network extended and relocated.
|Fuse panel relocated to the left to make way for the course computer..|
|The fluxgate compass is going here on the opposite (starboard) side, |
to maximize separation from other electronics and the drive unit.
|Checking the compass is perfectly level.|
|Positioning the control head.|
|The scariest part of the installation - cutting a hole for the control head. |
The existing wind instrument (below) was temporarily removed for better access.
|Control head installation complete.|
|The Lightwave 38 comes with nice pre-dilled holes for the autopilot drive unit, although I needed to cut some metal for the chain to pass through. The right sprocket and chain connects to the steering wheel. The autopilot drive chain will go around the left sprocket.|
|Rotary drive unit connected via 3/8" chain to steering shaft.|
Commissioning the autopilot was a cinch with the Raymarine auto learn software. Over the weekend I sailed over 100 nautical miles with the autopilot engaged most of the time, in conditions ranging from calm to 2m seas and 30 knots, both under motor and under sail. Here's a couple of trips recorded with My Tracks
|Motoring from Hove to Blanche Pt. |
Apart from an initial hiccup in which the drive unit lost power due to a loose connection, the auto pilot performed brilliantly.
No more deprivations when sailing single handed for me :-)
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