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Simrad tiller pilot: I have had my up's and downs with my TP 32's. When they are right they are the best value you can get in Autopilots for anything under 12 meters of boat. $1200 from Whitworths, (The West Marine equivilent in Australia) is great value for these tough little buggers and plug and play.

I installed my first one on my 11.99 meter cat in a couple of hours. But I started to have them fail left and right a while back to the point I was worried to take off without a box full of spare units. However, the distributor in Australia was very good about providing replacements with a 2 year warranty. BUT it seemed like the problem was in the replacement units. They were represented as new but I suspect they were rebuilds.

I had two fail back to back and both in calm conditions with fussy little course changes as the instigating fault. I would give it instruction for a 4 or 5 degree course change and they would extend the arm and sieze. Game over. The mechanical bits never failed. It was always the brain that imploded. I aksed the distributor if the replacemenbts were rebuilds and did not get an answer.... hmmm... whatever. I wouldn't mind if they were as long as they worked. I am taking a wild assed guess that they are replacing the circuits on DOA's and sending them back out and I think the batch of circuits they are using are faulty.

In Sydney I handed back two units and needed another right away so bought one off the shelf from Whitworths. I used that one to sail to Tasmania, crossing the notorious Bass Strait with no spares (shiver me timbers!) but in spite of hitting a whale on the way, the pilot never failed. One of my dagger boards was a mess but that was all.... and enough. Very pleased that BareBones took no further harm.... took a couple days to restore order inside though. The whale stopped a 6 ton mass instantly and shoved it backward a meter or two. I did see the animal, I staggered out to the cockpit from the cabin where I was keeping watch to see a pool of blood in the water about 3 meters wide and still in shock and not understanding what had happened, then the humpback breached... OH...

Anway, the replacements for the replacements showed up in th email in Tasmania but I still haven't used them. The store bought one got me across the Strait again, sans whale, and hasn't missed a beat. to tell the truth, I am somehwhat frightened about trying one of the others... but I will eventually. They need to be calibrated before use and to do that you need a calm sea and do a couple circles... Haven't seen a calm sea in a long time. I will report evenually.

I like a clean bum to keep my speed up in spite of being overloaded aby about a ton and a half. I scrubbed BB up in the Tamar river... and nearly died of cold! Holy shit! Like diving through ice. Tasmania is beautiful but cold and Tasmanians are now in the spotlight as the rare place in Australia where home prices aren't tanking. There are a lot of people braving the cold to get away from other, worse things. People are coming from Queensland, once the favoured destination and the USA. If this keeps going you will be able to get decent Mexican food in the Huon Valley soon!

I got a little problem with my MPS sorted out. When I sailed into TAS, I had to make for St. Helens on the east coast as conditions were not going to allow a direct course to Tamar River. The sail was having a habit of twisting itself into a know inside the sock. The rig supplier fitted the kite halyard with a non swivilling snap shackle which i thought was dumb. So I put another snap shackle with a swivel on each end, head and tack and problem solved.

The Honda outboards have been performing well. The main and heady are good.

I am not impressed with my Harken furler. My new one is not as good as the 30 year old model I had on WhiteBird, our old steel ketch. I was warned about it but was brand loyal. The foil sections are working, causing stain on the head sail from the metal twisting around on joints that are not secure. I have to eventually fix this but I have to take the thing down to do it and it will have to wait for the opportunity. unhappy about that. I hear profurl is the hot ticket lately. The Harken winches are great! lovem. got a pari of Andersons on the mast, don't like them. In use they sound like a tom cat that has a red hot poker up his bum! terrible sounding. I think there are a lot of small moving parts in there that will shit themselves one day. At least it sounds like it.


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