- Since we added a wind instrument, we replaced
the stock speed and depth instrument heads with a Raytheon
Tridata unit. The new instruments were Series 60 types
with gray cases. The original ST4000+ Auto Pilot had
the series 50 black case. Raytheon provided a new gray case for
the Auto Pilot and installed the latest software upgrade.
Raytheon has been very helpful with advice and support.
- AUTO PILOT THOUGHTS - A wheel mounted auto-pilot is
not strong enough for long periods of sailing under high winds.
Both Bill Hemena and I were aware of this problem because of our
pre-rally off-shore trips. The unit on his Catalina 34 failed on
our return trip from Charleston and mine had failed in heavy weather
on the Albemarle Sound. Fortunately, on the Bermuda trip
we carried Bills drive unit as a back-up. The unit on Full Moon
began to fail as we were approaching Bermuda. During our
lay-over we replaced the internal belt and assumed all was well.
Approximately 10 miles out of St Georges, on our return trip it
began to "kick out of gear" again. We replaced
it with Bill's unit which performed well for the return trip.
When I sent my unit to Raytheon I was told that it required some
tension adjustments that are not described in the manual. I
don't blame Raytheon -- the unit is simply undersized for serious
off-shore sailing. I am going to replace the unit with a
Raytheon ST5000 linear drive model. Replacing a wheel mounted
auto-pilot at sea highlights the need to make sure, before you depart,
that your emergency tiller works and your wheel can be removed easily. Fortunately,
we had checked both before we left. I had to use a puller to get
the wheel off. From now on I check it at the end and beginning
of each season and keep the shaft greased with a Lanocote.