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Autopilot Question

Old 01-06-2018, 12:01 PM
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Default Autopilot Question

I'm thinking about adding autopilot to the C Hawk 245 we just bought. Primary use will be keeping the boat pointed in one direction while offshore trolling for albacore. Motor is a 2016 Suzuki 300APX with SeaStar steering. Boat is equipped with a Simrad GO7 (not xse) as well as a Garmin 94SV. I'm ok with using either if needed. I've never used autopilot but would really like to free up an extra set of hands on deck. Budget is a concern and we won't be purchasing until later this year.

Just looking for input on what brands people recommend.
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Old 01-06-2018, 06:13 PM
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you will not regret adding the ap. look into sitex for an affordable option
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Old 01-06-2018, 06:17 PM
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Cost me 2500 and was the best investment besides motors.
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Old 01-06-2018, 07:02 PM
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Originally Posted by Sykes View Post
Cost me 2500 and was the best investment besides motors.
What brand/system did you go with?
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Old 01-06-2018, 07:03 PM
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Originally Posted by hjorgan View Post
you will not regret adding the ap. look into sitex for an affordable option
I will...Thanks!
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Old 01-06-2018, 07:48 PM
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Si-Tex SP110 Autopilot with Virtual Feedback is 1,499 INCLUDING pump at thegpsstore.com

I installed my own AP but the pump was already there from a previous unit. If you are a bit handy you can install these yourself. And since no rudder feedback is required, wire runs are minimal. Good luck!
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Old 01-06-2018, 07:56 PM
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You'll save money in fuel getting there.
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Old 01-06-2018, 08:06 PM
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Originally Posted by xtshawytscha View Post
I'm thinking about adding autopilot to the C Hawk 245 we just bought. Primary use will be keeping the boat pointed in one direction while offshore trolling for albacore. Motor is a 2016 Suzuki 300APX with SeaStar steering. Boat is equipped with a Simrad GO7 (not xse) as well as a Garmin 94SV. I'm ok with using either if needed. I've never used autopilot but would really like to free up an extra set of hands on deck. Budget is a concern and we won't be purchasing until later this year.

Just looking for input on what brands people recommend.
Best boat accessory you will ever buy and if you get a good one and install it correctly, you will use it more then you ever imagined....
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Old 01-06-2018, 08:14 PM
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Thanks for all of the feedback so far. It sounds like people use it while running? I hadn't considered that. I was just wanting it while trolling (roughly 7mph). All of our fishing is offshore in open ocean (Washington State)...is it safe to use while running at speed in typical ocean conditions?
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Old 01-06-2018, 09:03 PM
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Originally Posted by xtshawytscha View Post
Thanks for all of the feedback so far. It sounds like people use it while running? I hadn't considered that. I was just wanting it while trolling (roughly 7mph). All of our fishing is offshore in open ocean (Washington State)...is it safe to use while running at speed in typical ocean conditions?
Absolutely, I run my autopilot 99% of the time I am underway. Now if it’s super rough and your tacking around waves or running down hill in a big following sea that requires you to react quickly to sea conditions, then no, but the vast majority of the time YES.

I have prebuilt routes in my plotter taking me from my marina to open ocean. If I have the plotter following the route and the pilot networked to the plotter engaged in “TRACK” the autopilot follows the route. Once in open ocean, I select “GO TO” the waypoint that marks the dive or fish site I am headed to, engage “TRACK” in the plotter and the boat is going directly to that fix, done.

When I am in “TRACK” mode and have to alter course for another boat or obstruction, I turn the boat to whatever heading I desire with the little control knob on the pilot controller and boat remains on that heading until I turn the knob to another heading or re-engage “TRACK” which will cause the boat to turn back onto the course that was active in the chart plotter before the heading knob was turned.

On a day when I might put 6 hours on my engine, typically I will not hand steer for even 15 minutes the entire day. In most cases unless I am pulling in or out of the slip my autopilot is engaged.

If you have an autopilot that works correctly and you are comfortable using it and your navigation systems it will be a major change in how you operate.

I am not an autopilot expert but I have been on quite a few boats that have had them. From my observations the difference in performance between the new pilots that incorporate a lot of electronic magic in small easily installed components compared to the much more elaborate and much less capable autopilot of say 10-15 years ago is significant.

The magic that lives in the EV-1 Sensor Core in my Raymarine Evolution Autopilot system is nothing short of amazing. The sensor is a skinny black disc with a slightly larger diameter then a hockey puck but thinner. Sits in a cradle and has a NMEA 2000 cable connected to it. The sensor doesn’t weigh a pound. Twenty years ago you’d need racks of electronic boxes to do what that does and they would not be as capable.

Excuse me if I come off like an autopilot cheerleader but if you do it right, they really are awesome....
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Old 01-06-2018, 09:24 PM
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Originally Posted by Mpellet View Post
Absolutely, I run my autopilot 99% of the time I am underway. Now if it’s super rough and your tacking around waves or running down hill in a big following sea that requires you to react quickly to sea conditions, then no, but the vast majority of the time YES.

I have prebuilt routes in my plotter taking me from my marina to open ocean. If I have the plotter following the route and the pilot networked to the plotter engaged in “TRACK” the autopilot follows the route. Once in open ocean, I select “GO TO” the waypoint that marks the dive or fish site I am headed to, engage “TRACK” in the plotter and the boat is going directly to that fix, done.

When I am in “TRACK” mode and have to alter course for another boat or obstruction, I turn the boat to whatever heading I desire with the little control knob on the pilot controller and boat remains on that heading until I turn the knob to another heading or re-engage “TRACK” which will cause the boat to turn back onto the course that was active in the chart plotter before the heading knob was turned.

On a day when I might put 6 hours on my engine, typically I will not hand steer for even 15 minutes the entire day. In most cases unless I am pulling in or out of the slip my autopilot is engaged.

If you have an autopilot that works correctly and you are comfortable using it and your navigation systems it will be a major change in how you operate.

I am not an autopilot expert but I have been on quite a few boats that have had them. From my observations the difference in performance between the new pilots that incorporate a lot of electronic magic in small easily installed components compared to the much more elaborate and much less capable autopilot of say 10-15 years ago is significant.

The magic that lives in the EV-1 Sensor Core in my Raymarine Evolution Autopilot system is nothing short of amazing. The sensor is a skinny black disc with a slightly larger diameter then a hockey puck but thinner. Sits in a cradle and has a NMEA 2000 cable connected to it. The sensor doesn’t weigh a pound. Twenty years ago you’d need racks of electronic boxes to do what that does and they would not be as capable.

Excuse me if I come off like an autopilot cheerleader but if you do it right, they really are awesome....
Haha you should be an autopilot salesman! Seriously though I had no idea it could be used like that! Starting to sound more and more like it will be our first upgrade on the boat. Thanks for the thorough reply!
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Old 01-06-2018, 09:44 PM
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Originally Posted by xtshawytscha View Post
Haha you should be an autopilot salesman! Seriously though I had no idea it could be used like that! Starting to sound more and more like it will be our first upgrade on the boat. Thanks for the thorough reply!
You are entirely welcome. I think if you check around, you’ll find many other equally enthusiastic autopilot owners.......
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Old 01-06-2018, 10:09 PM
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auto pilot is amazing. my sea ray lets me hold course, speed, rpm. i have to see what my new boat can do but have a feeling its just course.

i dont think it frees up a set of hands...
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Old 01-07-2018, 03:35 AM
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Mpellet summed it up perfect from slip to open water
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Old 01-07-2018, 05:10 AM
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Originally Posted by xtshawytscha View Post
What brand/system did you go with?
Ray marine
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Old 01-07-2018, 04:03 PM
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Another vote for Sitex
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Old 01-07-2018, 04:22 PM
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Had a Raymarine unit on my trawler and loved it. Bought an EV-150 for my Sea Hunt 225. It definitely changed how I operate my boat.
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Old 01-07-2018, 05:54 PM
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Autopilots have saved many marriages.
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Old 01-08-2018, 07:19 AM
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I put a Sitex on my 245 C-Hawk, really like it. Simple to install. Show some photos of your boat!
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Old 01-08-2018, 07:38 AM
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Originally Posted by Salmonbum View Post
Autopilots have saved many marriages.
because you can do down into the cabin and have "fun" while the boat drives itself...

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