R 22

Rhodes 22


Auto Pilot

I have one season of use on my Autohelm ST1000+ Tillerpilot with no problems. Here are the pieces/parts you need to order:

Item Raytheon Part # Quantity Description
1 A12004 1 ST1000+ Tillerpilot
2 D007 2 5" Pushrod Extension
3 D075 1 Pedestal Mount 3"

In addition, you will need to wire in a separate fused 12 VDC circuit to power the Tillerpilot & allow any other instruments on the SeaTalk bus to talk to it. I have Autohelm ST-50 instruments. The ST1000+ owner's manual has pretty good installation instructions.

About a year ago, I paid just under $450 total from Defender Industries, Inc. for my system.

You will have to decide which side of the cockpit, port or starboard, to mount the unit. I have remote engine controls, mounted on the port side of the cockpit. I didn't want to restrict access to the outboard motor or the remote engine controls, so I mounted the Tillerpilot on the starboard side. You will have to remember to remove the Tillerpilot before folks start using your boarding ladder. Under sail, this starboard side installation has worked well with the exception of slightly reduced access to the backstay tension adjuster. Oh well, nothing is perfect & the backstay tension adjuster is one of the least frequently used controls.

The Rhodes 22 responds well to an autopilot & the ST1000+ Tillerpilot seems to be plenty fast & powerful enough to steer the boat. The nearly balanced rudder design & low required steering force make the Rhodes 22 a good fit for an autopilot. It even does a fairly good job of holding course on a fast 20 knot broad reach with a 4-6 foot stern quartering sea. When steering manually, it is impossible to leave the helm for even a moment under such the conditions. Under the same conditions, the autopilot is also very busy & of course it isn't smart enough to anticipate the next wave for the possibility of surfing. So, you will average about 15-20% slower speed. But, it does hold the set course at least as well as a human helmsman. By the end of this season, I was growing sufficiently confident in the autopilot that I was willing to go down below & use the head while singlehanding. It's been a useful addition to Dynamic Equilibrium's equipment & certainly makes long shorthanded passages much less tiring.

If you have any specific questions on the ST1000+ Tillerpilot installation, just let me know & I'll try to answer them as best I can.

Roger Pihlaja
S/V Dynamic Equilibrium
12 Jan 2001

I have the ST1000+ and the old boat navico 300(in fact the 300 is just collecting dust right now), I switched to the ST1000+ so it could talk to the st60 tridata on the new boat, the navico 300 used a little less power but the controls and operation are better on the ST1000+ (the display a big big plus) along with the fact is gets speed information make control much better. I like auto pilots. I am a heavy guy and going below or forward will change the boat trim, the auto pilot will handle it. Also when I trying to get somewhere It is happy to steer for hour after hour. You have to balance your sails for it and trim them to handle a wind shift. And time to time the wind shift will get the unit, but it will hold a compass course better then most people and will work under motor with on trouble (great for making landfall at night, reading courses off a charts and setting the unit, acts as a third hand, lets you watch the GPS, charts and the outside of the boat instead of the compass). Ask me I say to get it.

13 Jan 2001

Raytheon did not have a GPS that I liked 2 years ago, only chart plotters with the expensive GPS heads, they claim that a gps to match the st60 should be out about now, have not seen it yet. also they came out with their 320 with waa a few months ago. give 6 foot actuality without the whip antenna, I might do that and a sonic speed transducer for spring.

As i do it now, I just take the portable "course to steer" and punch it up on the autopilot, every once and awhile I add or subject a degree when i am checking the too. It works. yes it does act as a third hand, just watch out it is very happy to run over buoys (my usual wave point), when you are making a daylong passage, it is invaluable. I used it to fix a stuck furrier when single handling, really making something to eat, taking a dump, plot my course, check the barring or reread the guild while coming in to a new place. etc. I like having a crew mate that does not wine, eat, get cold, talk back(beeping maybe), now if it could just have kids it would be a perfect wife :-)

13 Jan 2001

Have any of you (or anyone you know) put an Autohelm ST1000+ on a Rhodes 22?

Primarily looking for actual experience. Ideas and opinions on feasibility welcome. Not interested in wind vanes, etc. at this point, but will explore them at another time.

Thanks for whatever help you can give.

Robert Skinner,
Rockville, Maryland
12 Jan 2001

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