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Wheel Pilot

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Does anyone have a wheel pilot on their C&C 99?  If so what kind do you have and how do you like it?

I've have a Raymarine wheel pilot for the last 10 years.  It's fully integrated with my Raymarine instrumentation (chart plotter and standard wind/depth/speed/GPS).  I have no complaints.  It's worked without issues.  I usually use it when I'm bored because the winds are too light to sail and we're motoring.  I pick a destination on the chart plotter and the boat will head straight there.  The wheel pilot makes allowance for waves/current/drift.

You wouldn't know it's on the wheel when it's not engaged.  However, the DC motor is mounted on the binnacle just below the compass making the compass useless even when the wheel pilot isn't operating.  It's not a problem for us since I also have a TackTick race master that has a compass display mounted above the cabin entrance with the other instruments.

Thanks Gerry, I had one on my last boat (a Frers 33) and it worked well.  This boat doesn't have one and the one I am considering is the Raymarine EV 100.  Good point about the compass, it would be an issue.  The Frers had a custom digital compass and speed mounted where the old magnetic compass, that was neat.

I normally have lots of crew on board so I didn't feel I needed the wheel pilot.  With the pandemic restrictions you can only have crew that you live with aboard; hopefully, that changes as my wife doesn't sail. I assume that is the same with you as it is a TC guideline, not sure they can enforce it as it isn't a regulation as I understand it.



Hey Gerry where did you mount your display/control and other components of the system?

The control head/display is mounted on the starboard side a few inches up from the deck just aft of the engine control lever.  It needs to be easily accessible by the helms person.  If I remember correctly it had to go there because there was too much stuff on the port side.  The control board electronics and compass are mounted on a wooden panel in the "basement" below and to the port side under and forward of the binnacle.

The cable for the motor is fed up through the binnacle and exits on the starboard side just below the motor.

The motor is unfortunately on the crew side of the binnacle.  Make sure the mainsheet person doesn't forget and use it for a hiking support.

The compass is supposed to be close to the centre line of the boat, as low as possible and social distanced from power cables.

We had to order a special motor mounting bracket from Raymarine so it would fit the C&C style binnacle.  You'll be using updated electronics with a new system but I suspect the motor and mount will be the same.

I'd send you pictures but we aren't able to access our boats yet.  Ontario openned marinas and yacht clubs for staff preparation only last Monday.  The fine here is $880 and I read they've issued about $1.4m so far.

My club is on Toronto Island.  It's going to be a challenge getting to/from there due to social distancing.  Our club boats will only be able to take limited numbers.  They're talking about a reservation system.

I hadn't thought about covid crewing issues.  God, this never ends!  On the positive side, my wife is the real sailor.  She's an excellent helms person and is the one that got me involved.  I'm just the "boat boy".


Thanks Gerry for the response, very helpful.

Yes things are in a state of flux everywhere.  I launch on May 25 but I am not sure into what, maybe solo sailing or maybe they will change the rules by then.  Oh well it is better than it was a month ago, sure screwing up everything.  Not sure what normal will be like.



You mentioned you were hoping to take some photos. I would be interested in seeing them as I am considering installing an Autopilot on my "new for me" boat, hull #77. Boat yard recommends the wheel type for cost, installation and maintenance considerations based on expected use in the Chesapeake Bay.  A B&G dealer recommended a ram below deck which apparently would require structural work to fabricate a mounting point. Anyone else have comments on Autopilot installations? I recently installed a B&G Zeus3 which has the capability of doing autotacks and jibes. B&G has a model SD10 which utilizes a drive cable and apparently that offers offers more flexibility in drive motor location up to 6 feet away.

I am kind of old school as I would like the magnetic compass to still be functional.

David, our boat is on its cradle and put away for the winter.  However, I did take a couple of pictures of the cockpit showing the motor power cable exiting the front of the binnacle.

As I mentioned in my previous email, the motor is mounted on the crew side of the wheel.  The power cable is short and connects to the end of the motor.  The autopilot display is placed immediately forward of the motor shifter on the starboard side so it can be accessible by the helmsperson.  There isn't room on the starboard side due to a manual pump, stereo controls etc.

I brought the wheel home so I can install a leather cover on it this winter.  The pictures show the Raymarine wheel installation.  There's a small lever that is used to clamp the wheel to engage the unit.

I have all Raymarine instrumentation and had no problems integrating the autopilot with my chart plotter and other display heads.  For example, the chartplotter is mounted below at the nav station.  I usually select a destination on the plotter and see the distance to travel, time to destination, bearing to destination, etc.  The display heads above the companionway can be selected to show the same information.  Once engaged at the wheel the autopilot takes the boat to the destination making allowance for wind, waves, current.

The autopilot can be used in three modes if you have the required input (eg wind direction/speed transducer).  It will keep the boat on the current bearing.  It will adjust the course to maintain the same wind offset automatically adjusting for wind shifts or will sail the boat to a selected destination.  It can be used for tacks and gybes but I don't trust it that much!

The control board electronics and compass are mounted on a wooden panel in the "basement" below and to the port side under and forward of the binnacle.  There was no structural work needed.

As for the magnetic was unfortunate that the motor had to be mounted so close to it.  However, I never used it.  I have three Raymarine instrument displays above the companionway and can show a compass if needed on one.  I also have a TackTick Race Master mounted beside the Raymarine instruments which continuously displays our heading.

Let me know if you have any questions.

PS.  Can't seem to upload pictures so I'll send them to your email id.

Could you send me a copy of the pictures Gerry, we seem to be having an issue uploading things to the website.



Here are the photos Gerry sent to me via. email

Uploaded files:
  • Screen-Shot-2020-10-22-at-3.43.52-PM.png
  • Screen-Shot-2020-10-22-at-3.43.57-PM.png
  • Screen-Shot-2020-10-22-at-3.44.08-PM.png
  • Screen-Shot-2020-10-22-at-3.44.02-PM.png
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