Chip Ford's 1974 Catalina 22 Restoration Project
Sail #3282  l  Marblehead, Massachusetts

The never-ending project to fill my hole in the ocean while bailing it out

Preparing for Sailing Season '04
Installing my Raymarine ST1000-Plus Tiller Pilot

Click thumbnails for a larger picture


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Yesterday I began installing the Raymarine ST1000-Plus tiller pilot. The first thing needed was to build a backing plate for the unit with a center section deep enough to hold the 1" X " mounting socket that the unit will slide into through the starboard side cockpit gunwale. This will get mounted beneath and fastened through the gunwale.  I used three pieces of 3/8" marine grade plywood (1⅛" total depth) cut to fit and later trimmed to the gunwale's aft contour. (It turned out this was considerably overkill -- a single layer would have done!)  Each piece of plywood was then epoxied to the other.  (May 30, 2004)

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While the epoxied backing plate block cured,  I drilled a hole in the tiller " X 1" -- 18" forward of the tiller's pivot point --  the pintles and gudgeons -- and epoxied in the tiller pin.

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I made a template for the holes that needed to be drilled in the gunwale and backing plate block beneath it, then drilled the four holes I'd use to fasten the block through the gunwale. Before fastening the block, I drilled the " hole in the gunwale for the mounting socket, saving the block for later. I sealed the block, mounted it with four screws and finish washers, then drilled the " mounting socket hole into the block, 1" deep from the top of the gunwale. Finally I epoxied the mounting socket into its hole.

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I cut a 7/8" hole. (A 53/64" hole the instructions called for -- they've got to be kidding! We all have drills bits and holes saws in every sixty-fourth of an inch increment, don't we? But when Raymarine provides its "critical measurement" between the mounting socket and tiller pivot pin, it's 23.2"  Point two as a fraction of an inch -- what happened to sixty-fourths?!?) Then I wired and installed the tiller pilot power socket just aft along the bulkhead above the seat, where I expect it'll be most out of the way.

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The tiller pilot mounting alignment. I decided to forego installing the "remote" for this season (personally, on a 22' boat I can't imagine being "remote" from very much!) If I find this season that it could be useful, I'll add it next year.

As the pushrod was 9" too short ( being that .2 inches in the instructions' "critical measurement"), yesterday I called Raymarine to seek its advice. Though they thought adding 9" distance with push rod extensions was "pushing it" (no pun intended), they thought it would work. (They go up to 6".) I ordered a 4" and a 5" extension, which arrived this morning.  (Jun. 2)

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The nine inches of extension seems to be perfect, or as perfect as I'm going to get, or you too for that matter. I planned to use washers between the extensions if I needed to add that .2" I seemed short in the overall scheme of perfection.

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Raymarine advised me that the most critical measurement is the 18" from the tiller's pivot point to where the unit's tiller pin is seated, and here it is exact. Locating it horizontal is also very important for the correct operation of the internal compass, and this is near perfectly horizontal, off perhaps a degree or two. This will work just fine Raymarine has confirmed.  (May 30, 2004)

Since installing the Raymarine ST1000-Plus Tiller-Pilot, it has never worked reliably, continually shutting itself off frequently for no reason yet found. It didn't work for it's primary intended purpose, my singlehanded cruise up the coast of Maine and back. I am utterly disgusted with it. For more information on my frustrations, click here.  (Sep. 5, 2004)

Final resolution
Moving on with Season 2004 improvements
It's never-ending ... but spring has arrived at last, the projects have begun!

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