Autopilots, Tillerpilots & Wheel Pilots
Having a Boat Autopilot or Tiller-pilot fitted can completely change your voyaging experience, having the ability to maintain a course or have the boat steered whilst freeing you up from the wheel or tiller.
We have great offerings from Raymarine, Simrad and Garmin - keeping you on an accurate course over long distances
How does a tiller-pilot or autopilot system work? There are a few things to take into consideration before deciding on the right autopilot for you, and it is worth taking time to understand what they consist of and how they work.
- They have a drive unit to move the rudder - either directly by being connected to the rudder stock, or, by being connected to the wheel or tiller
- An electric compass or heading sensor is part of most systems - so it understands which direction the boat is pointing and travelling in
- There is a control head - the user interface which allows automatic steering to be selected and the user to make course changes.
- Pilot computers - there to analyse inputs to the system and calculate how far and how quickly to move the helm
- Integration with your onboard electronics - Enabling the boat to be steered directly to waypoints programmed into your chart plotter, or in the case of sailboat, steered on a constant wind angle rather than the compass course when you electronics system has the data available as part of a complete network including a wind vane
Some systems will combine these elements into one unit, often the case with tiller pilots - but still able to perform accurately when integrated with your electronics network.