• 10th March 2010 - By greg

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    Thanks everyone for your suggestions as to how I could install the Raymarine ST1000 Tiller Pilot into WiTHiN. Originally, I though that the tiller pilot needed at 15 inch long tiller lever, but after a dozen ‘backandforths’ between a tech at Raymarine and myself, I learned that the unit only has a total pushrod range of 9.5″. So, I calculated that I could use a 7″ long lever connected to my little tiller handle. And positioning of the ST1000 worked out perfectly, as I just mounted it right on top of the arm rest.

    The YouTube video of the tiller pilot install is below (or click here):

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    Since I don’t want to use the auto tiller all of the time, I made a detachable mount for it using a socket an extension arm for a ratchet wrench. I welded the socket to the center of rotation on my tiller arm, and then I welded a wrench extension arm to one end of a stainless lever, and the tiller pilot swivel pin on the other end. The whole assembly plugs into the socket when needed.

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    In the photos above, you can also see my pimped out sheep skin arm rest covers. They feel REALLY NICE!

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    According to the manual, the ST1000 can drink up to 300 watt hours of power in a day – that’s a TON. However, if Goal 0 comes through with our new solar array, I should have the power. And, if I don’t, the tiller pilot is a luxury, and can be turned off and stowed away – no biggie. The reason I want to explore the use of the auto steering device is because I have heard many solid recommendations from very FAST ocean rowers. They say that if you have the power, and are going for SPEED, using the auto tiller is definitely the way to go. I get a lot of advice and I really do appreciate it all, but I trust advice from the ocean rowing community more than any other.

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    I have started to ramp up the training with two 5 hour outside rides this week. Helen and I are off to Atlanta to watch our son compete at zones on Thursday, so I want to cram as much bike time as I can in before we go away. I need to be on my bike as much as possible now before the really LONG training days start when the weather is conducive (mid to end of April maybe?).

    In fact, I think I will celebrate my birthday tomorrow with another 5 hour ride. It’s going to be cold, but I can take it. (with considerable whining, and crying and  complaining). 🙂

  • 4 Comments to “Auto steering tiller pilot”

    • Bruce Bolster on March 10, 2010

      Congratulations, the tiller pilot should make open ocean navigation much easier. I wouldn’t be without one for offshore sailing, though they do suck up power. These units can either steer to a heading, using the internal gyrocompas, or steer to a waypoint, when linked to a GPS unit such as your Raymarine. Each has its advantages and disadvantages, depending on the situation. In open waters it us usually more effective to maintain a heading, but in making landfall or inshore navigation it is useful to steer to a waypoint or follow a course. The great beauty of these devices is that they free up your hands and brain to do other things when sailing singlehanded.

    • Bruce Bolster on March 10, 2010

      Something I would do once you have the installation dialed in is to install a spring loaded clamp outboard of the tiller arm so that you can park the arm of the tillerpilot here securely when not in use. This keeps it handy, as opposed to having to dismount and unplug it to keep it from flopping around.

    • Russell Moore on March 10, 2010

      I am worried that it all looks a bit flimsy to me, and could break off if you crash into it in rough seas.
      Lets hope I’m wrong.

    • Charlie Rossiter on March 10, 2010

      Hello Greg
      On an ocean rowing boat we did some work on, we deliberately built a shear pin into the tillerpilot linkage. It seems to be not so much you crashing into a wave as a wave crashing against the rudder is the danger. The boat – SARAG is just arriving at Barbados and as far as I have heard the tillerpilot worked well.
      It is important that you think about what will break as there have been a lot of rudder/steering problems on ocean rowing boats.

      Not on this thread, I know, I’d be interested in how well you propeller and drive mechanism are working. We are about to start on a pedal power version of a ‘conventional’ ocean rowing boat.


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