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[LW11] Evo100 Wheel Pilot and Rudder Reference Unit Review
09-10-19, 04:34 AM (This post was last modified: 09-10-19 09:15 AM by Louise - Raymarine - Moderator.)
Post: #1
[LW11] Evo100 Wheel Pilot and Rudder Reference Unit Review
Fitted the Evo 100 wheel pilot to a 31ft, 5000kg yacht. Over the past two years it has worked very well in conditions up to close hauled in a F6 and down wind in F5 with strong tidal currents adding to the fun and waves. Single handing, the wheel pilot will hold the boat on course whilst I sort out the sails and get them trimmed. Always tricky because there will be a while when I have only one sail deployed so trim is completely out of the question. This hasn't been a problem. Equally, less than perfect sail trim doesn't seem to be an issue for the wheel drive.

However, I wondered if it could be fine tuned so went back to our local electronics supplier, Hudson Marine in the Solent for advice.

They suggested 3 things:

1. Move the gyro compass to the middle of the yacht (fore and aft).

2. Fit a rudder reference unit (RRU)

3. Update the software on the P70, ACU and gyro compass

The gyro compass was originally mounted under the coaming between the primary winch and the stern. Safe and free of electrical items it seemed a good location. However, Hudson marine suggested that since a yacht turns around its fin keel, the stern will initially move the opposite way and this can throw a modern gyro compass out. A good look around the boat suggested that under the heads sink unit was also free of electrical items, some 3 metres further forward and a 1 metre lower. This was an easy change as the network cable reached the new location.

Next came fitting an rudder reference unit (RRU). This proved to be more of a problem as the yachts sugar scoop design left little room around the rudder shaft for mounting a RRU despite my best efforts. The solution was a second rudder arm just for the RRU. New ones are rather expensive and grossly over engineered for this purpose, so I decided to make my own. Using a steel split collar and a piece of u shaped channel I spent a morning in my shed bench fitting the parts together and making a platform for the RRU.

Proceeding to sea for the first time and engaging the wheel pilot I sat back to see what difference the changes had made. Initially I wondered if it was still working as the wheel didn't move for minutes at a time However, the yacht was still on course, so down to the fact it just didn't need to, brilliant!

Over the summer we have seen that the wheel pilot does far less adjusting and steers a much straighter course. With a following F5 sea previously we noticed that the wave would pick up the stern, the yacht tilt and then change course. At this point the pilot would turn the wheel and bring the yacht back onto the course.

However, following the changes, as soon as the yacht tilts the pilot makes a small adjustment before the yacht veers off course, therefore needing significantly less adjustment than before. This could be down to the gyro compass rather than previous generations of flux gate compasses. The result is a much straighter course steered. RM do say the system has the ability to learn and adjust to different conditions over time.

Overall the changes have made a significant difference to the way the wheel pilot handles the boat and I remain very pleased with the investment. Whilst RM say the RRU is optional, I now think it is essential for a fin keeled yacht if you want to maximise the performance and reduce the amount of work a wheel pilot needs to do.

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09-12-19, 04:11 AM
Post: #2
RE: [LW11] Evo100 Wheel Pilot and Rudder Reference Unit Review
Thank you very much for your feedback, I will send this to the product manager.
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