Raymarine ST2000 Tiller Pilot

Would this be a good choice for our BCC?

Traveler, will this be working the tiller direct or via the “Freehand” wind vane system?

Via the “Freehand” wind vane system.

The smallest one they make will work just fine. Thats the ST1000. You can steer the boat with your one finger on the trim tab arm, so the tiller pilot hardly has to work. very low draw on your battery bank.

I am very pleased with mine. In fact I have had the 1000 for 7 years and it never breaks a sweat. It is one of the big advantages of the trim tab system.

Perfect! Thank you for responding…

might want to look at a simrad pilot TP10 gets a good name.

Mike Anderson who makes the freehand system has a great little bronze bracket for mounting the tiller pilot.

Oops, take it all back. I have the simrad. But any small tiller pilot will do.

I already have the brackets from Mike installed. Just hope the Raymarine is as good as the Simrad has been for you.

I have the Raymarine, which is hooked up directly to the tiller. Has worked flawlessly for many years.

Dioscouri (#064)

Do you happen to know which Raymarine model you have?

I’m quite sure it is the ST2000, but I will have to confirm that the next time I am at the boat. I recall that at the time of purchasing it, there was a third model available (which does not seem to be offered anymore) that was even more powerful (and of course more expensive) than the ST2000. The dealer discouraged me from buying that model, suggesting that it was not worth the extra money. In retrospect, he appears to have been correct. As I said, I’ve had no problems at all with the tiller pilot and I use it all the time when motoring which, in the Pacific Northwest during the summer, is the norm.


It sounds like I bought a little overkill with the ST2000 since it only has to steer the trim tab of my Mike Anderson “Freehand” system, and if I’m not mistaken the ST2000 generates up to 180lbs of force. At any rate, I can’t wait to try it out!

Zygote has a Raytheon Autohelm ST1000 Plus tiller pilot, driving the tiller of her Freehand Self-Steering System. Raytheon, not Raymarine, because her ST1000+ is now 14 years old.

We’ve found the ST1000+ perfectly adequate for doing the job. And I reckon two ST1000+, for redundancy, might be a better investment than one ST2000.

Some notes:

  • on Zygote, the ST1000 attaches to a pin on the Freehand SS tiller. The pin’s position on the tiller can be adjusted. And the location is critical: if the pin is forward of the leading edge of the rudder blade, the ST1000 oversteers leading to a cycle of correcting that never ends. I prefer a little understeering to oversteering. Neutral is of course best.

  • on Zygote, the ST1000 base is to starboard of the tiller. Its job is to drive the trim tab as a servo mechanism driving the rudder, that means the trim tab drives the trim tab’s tiller to port to move the rudder’s tiller to starboard to turn the ship’s head to port (excuse my inability to express myself in words, if you could see my hands move, you’d understand). That required reversing the sense of the ST1000 from its out-of-the-box state.

  • My notes suggest that I have Rudder Gain set to 1 and Rudder Damping set to 1. I’m away from Zygote at the moment, so I cannot quickly check those settings to make sure my Operation Manual is accurate. I can remember discussing the issue with Roger and trying different figures in the configuration menu.

  • Zygote also has: an Autohelm ST4000+ GP tiller pilot and its associated control head; an Autohelm fluxgate compass; masthead wind instrument; water speed transducer; and a Raytheon electronic charter. I wired the ST1000 into the SeaTalk network connecting all of those toys (and more). I’m not sure that other brands/models of tiller pilots can be so networked. That means that the ST1000 can be run in any of several modes:

  • Auto mode, as a standalone unit using its own internal fluxgate compass (but I think the ST1000 gives priority to data from the main fluxgate compass when it is available);

  • Track mode, steering a route defined by GPS waypoints specified in the electronic charter, plus the electronic charter uses water speed, heading, and GPS data to calculate leeway and the set from tidal stream.The additional computational power comes in handy when for e.g. motor-sailing along narrow twisting channels (the Great Sandy Strait inshore of Fraser Island of Queensland, Australia - a channel where you steer from buoy to buoy to buoy - is one place where I use that technique);

  • WindTrim or Vane mode, steering a constant angle to the wind as measured by the masthead ST60 wind instrument;

  • in any mode, but with manual input from the control head of the ST4000 (the point being that I find it more convenient, for example, to input a dodge manoeuvre using the buttons on the ST4000 control head than the buttons on the ST1000 unit - that’s because the ST4000 control head is forward of the cockpit and the ST1000 is on the taffrail); and

  • because the ST4000 control head is reporting the heading and activity of the ST1000 and controlling the ST1000, you can make a simple canvas cover to protect the ST1000 unit from UV (i.e. no fiddly work to make the LCD window or the control buttons accessible).

  • a final afterthought/edit: Zygote’s ST1000+ is jolly close to the feed wire carrying RF to the backstay used as antenna for the SSB radio. The feed wire is insulated but not sheathed and grounded of course, so the feed wire radiates as part of the antenna. Nevertheless, from memory the ST1000+ has been immune to disruption from SSB transmissions including PACTOR transmissions. But the masthead wind sensor does get influenced by VHF transmissions (because of the masthead VHF antenna), so if in WindTrim mode, we keep an eye on the ST1000+ during a VHF call. I’ve heard of other tiller pilots (but not a Raytheon/Raymarine Autohelm) making an unplanned tack or gybe during SSB radio transmissions.

  • yet another afterthought or two: Raymarine lists the tiller hardover time as 8 seconds (I’ve never bothered timing it; the ST1000 and the ST4000 use a lead-screw drive and such drives are relatively slow compared to some other more expensive drive technologies such as toothless rotating ball drives). Current consumption peaks at 1.5 - 2 Amps (but can be much less depending on wind and sea conditions; minimum is around 0.5 A when close reaching in light conditions with the sails/helm well balanced; an additional 0.05 Amps is consumed by the undimmed backlights to the LCD and the buttons) standby current consumption is about 0.04 Amps (with an extra 0.05 A if the backlighting is at max; obviously when using the network of wind instrument, electronic charter etc the current consumed by the ST1000 is trivial).


Bil mentioned the possibility of having two autopilots for redundancy. I recall when purchasing my ST2000 that the dealer told me a replacement motor costs about $80 and its simply a plug and play. I haven’t bothered to purchase a backup motor but will if going on an extended trip.


Bil Wrote:

bothered timing it; the ST1000 and the ST4000 use
a lead-screw drive and such drives are relatively
slow compared to some other more expensive drive
technologies such as toothless rotating ball

should read “threadless rotating ball drives”, not “toothless”.


I like the idea of just purchasing a backup motor from an economic standpoint, but I like the simplicity of just changing out the complete Tiller Pilot more…so I opted to go with two ST1000 units.

Bil - Note 2 is duly noted in regard to reversing the sense from the out-of-box state. As always, you are a plethora of knowledge in all aspects of our fine vessels.

Gary - My reasoning for going with two ST1000 Tiller Pilots in lieu of one or even two ST2000 is mostly based on the fact they will only have to drive the rudder trim tab, and not the tiller proper. Thank you for your input, it was most helpful sorting this out.

I’ll send a more detailed post once I get through the installation process.