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I have a blog post on an autopilot setup for the Tiki 21 for anyone interested - discussion welcome.


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To fit a similar Autohelm to Tiki 26 Sharing the Challenge for the Single Handed Transatlantic Race, I fitted an 18" long tiller (actually an alloy stanchion) to the inboard side of the rudder at 90 degrees to the normal tiller and mounted the Autohelm in the cockpit connected to this tiller by an aluminium tube. The Autohelm pushes and pulls in a fore and aft direction. Simple, cheap and reliable. For the race, I fitted this set up to both rudders and Bob carried three Autohelms- the last one was just functioning at the end of the race!

Hi Steve, how did the ram attached to the end of the pipe?(tiller extension) It would need to be a rigid connection. Did it fit snugly in and fixed with a pin?

When steering by hand and autopilot disengaged, how did you dial with the tiller extension hanging loose?

The cruise across the atlantic cost 3 autopilot? I don't know how many miles that is but it seems expensive.

A yachty I met on a 36 Wharram, showed me, his autopilot system. It worked on a board going vertical down into the water exactly as a wind vane dose, that way, the ram is never under strain, the power consumption is minimum and the unit lasts for years plus it would only need to be the smallest and the cheapest of all regardless from the size of the boat.    

Hi Raf, the tiller extension ran in a bullseye fairlead on the aft beam, so the connection didn't need to be rigid. The fairlead also took care of the extension while hand steering. 

It wasn't a cruise, it was a 3000 mile windward race! Bob Beggs, the skipper, pushed the boat hard so everything got regular duckings, also the little autohelms weren't built for constant use. Sharing the Challenge was the only multi to finish the Transat that year, it was Bob's second Tiki 26 Atlantic crossing and he cruised the boat back two handed. Bob lost his first 26 on the barrier reef at Belize at the end of his first crossing (Two handed with his brother) both boats were GRP  built by me. The race organisers insisted that we put escape hatches in the side of the Tiki in case of capsize, they only just fitted between the  waterline and the deck!

This picture looks like what Steve is talking about.

Very similar Barrie, but we have the Autopilot in the cockpit and the pushrod through an eye on top of the beam. We mount the short tiller on the side of the rudder, rather than the tiller.

Barrie Gilchrist said:

This picture looks like what Steve is talking about.

Steve is there an account of your escapades in the tiki 26 anywhere on the interwebs for ones perusal?

cheers paul.

The escapades weren't mine, Paul, my sailing in Tiki 26 has been gentle family cruising. Bob Beggs, an ex marine, was the intrepid ocean crosser. He made is first Tiki 26 transAtlanic while still serving in the marines, Bob was posted to Belize and persuaded his superiors to let him sail there! 

After leaving the marines bob sailed in the 1992 SingleHanded Transatlantic Race (That year called the 1-Star) in another glassfibre 26 that we prepared for the race. Bob's done other transatlantic races since in other small cats, including a two-handed in a 28' Dazcat called Clarks with designer Darren Newton. 

I don't know of any website devoted to his "escapades" but his sea school is at; http://www.performanceyachting.co.uk/about.html

mate thanks for the heads up, as has been said elsewhere here your knowledge of building these boats is an asset here.


Well done Steve, the extension running through the bullseye makes a lot of sense. definitely the best of the options, for an auto pilot system, so far in this thread. Good on ya. Thanks

Since the race, we've used this system on a lot of Tikis, 21, 26 and 30. One Tiki 30 ran the extension through a hole in the back of the cabin top and mounted the AP inside.

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