tiller pilot

Dear Colleagues: have any of you placed a tiller pilot on your BCC? I am considering this to facilitate handling when I am sailing alone. On some occasions I have lashed my tiller to keep the boat into the wind but this is unreliable. Considering the Simrad tiller pilot. If you have any information re: installation, experience with this unit and photos I will be grateful for your assistance.


R Smith

I have the largest RayNav tiller pilot on Cyrano. You must carefully balance the helm under sail but it will steer well.
My boat is in Marina Del Rey. You’re welcome to see the installation

 I have had the largest Simrad on my boat for the last 4 years.  I believe they claim it is good up to 14,000 boats.....what a coincidence....With good attention to sail trim, it works very well.  I have it linked to my GPS.  It follows either heading or course well. I carry no wind instruments so I can't speak to how well it follows relative wind.  My rule of thumb is, if I am looking directly down at the water, it is very windy......all I need to know.

 They sell a deck plate with a screw in post (about 3" tall) which mates up well to the pin in the tiller.  I don't have photos but would take some on your behalf if you want to pursue the Simrad.

 I had an Autohelm on my previous boat which failed while I was at the mast pulling a second reef.  Upon examination, the construction seemed a little cheezy.  The Simrad appears to be a sturdier piece. 

                                    Whitewings III

I agree with the above. We used the Navico auto pilot (which became the Simrad) for 6 months in Mexico with no electronic failures. We did have the pin on the tiller fatigue and break, but luckily had a spare. I also hod some problem with the cup that the post slips into coming unglued to the wooden block I had attached it to. Tom I would be interested in seeing the deck plate you mentioned.

So … the electronics were great, just be sure the mechanical attachment at both ends is as strong as possible.
BCC Odyssey


 I'm in the middle of rigging out....ice just went out where I am....on the rash assumption that I can figure out how to attach photos to these messages, I will try to get a couple of pics and dimensions posted in the next few days.

When we bought Itchen four years ago there was already a Navico/Simrad TP30 on board and it gave good service from New York to the Chesapeake and then up to Mane and back. It failed two years ago en route from the CHesapeake to the Bahamas. Simrad repaired it for around $200+ and it worked as expected until failing again last winter enroute from Nassau to the Abacos. Navico cheerfully replaced it under the repair warranty with the newer TP32 model after we got to the Carolinas and it gave no problems from there to the Chesapeake. All in all I am very happy with it and it is invaluable single-handing under power on the ICW. It also does as well as might be expected offshore, but as others have pointed out any autopilot requires decent sail trim. It is powerful enough to overcome bad trim and offshore rock and roll conditions (up to a point) but then needs constant course correction button pushing. I haven’t bothered to hook it up to the GPS but intend to do so this year and will probably also interface it with our new and as yet uninstalled Cape Horn wind vane. We have the attachment pedestal mounted towards the forward end of the Stbd boomkin, very strong and secure.

Attaching images is easy - at the bottom of the box where you create the message you will see a button for “Attach”. This will open a screen showing

Attaching images is easy - at the bottom of the box where you create the message you will see a button for “Attach”. This will open a screen showing and empty list with "Browse buttons, allowing you to find an attach the images from your computer.

If possible, resize images to 72 pixels per inch, this will make the images “web maneagable”.

John; can we add a category for charter?. My boat is moored in Anacortes, Wa and is chartered through Anacortes Yacht Charter. I take it out for about 30 days per year, rest of the time it is available for folks that want the experience of sailing a BCC.


Scott: appreciate the thoughtful reply, was hoping to hear from someone who had experience with the simrad gear. Would it be possible to forward an image of the tiller pilot in place. This would be a very helpful guide. Currently, i conceive of the mechanical assist as a means of providing short term relief, especially when i need to go forward.If you use it for longer periords is there a major drain on the batteries?

Thanks and if you are headed into S California please ring me up so we can invite you to our house for some liquid refreshment.

Richard Smith

Tom: thanks for the quick reply re: the Simrad tiller pilot. I would greatly appreciate a photo of the installation. Going forward will be pleased to reciprocate any way I can. Between purchase of the gear and installation what do you guesstimate is the cost?

If you are headed to San Diego give us a heads up and we would enjoy meeting you.



Jim: thanks for the speedy reply. Would enjoy the chance to meet you, see the installation and see your boat. Heading your way in August. If you are around will try to meet up with you but if you are headed to s diego ring us up and we will have you to the house for some liquid refreshment, etc.

Thanks for the offer,


Wayne: thanks for the speedy reply, good to know that the network is still intact. From the replies thus far it appears that the Simrad tiller pilot gets good marks. I need to learn more about the installation since I don’t have the company literature and my intuitive sense is not helping me visualize the connections. Hoping that one or more of the owners can provide a photo(s) of the installation. Does the power draw limit your use?



 The boat is rigged and here are the long-awaited Simrad Tiller pilot pics. Photo 1 the deck plate with pedestal screwed in.  The pedestal stands 3 1/2" proud of the plate and lines up nicely with the pin in the tiller.(I bedded the tiller pin in epoxy.  Didn't oversize the hole just covered the base of the pin as I installed it).

 Photo 2 is the whole layout.  I have never felt it was in the way and usually leave the pedestal installed for the season.  Photo 3 is the deck plate.

 Can't give an accurate power usage because it has never been a problem.  I would guess less than 1 1/2 amps/hour when the boat is balanced.  I think I payed less than $300 for all the pieces 5 years ago.




 I posted pics of my Simrad tiller pilot yesterday.....the post and attachments are on the web site but did not show up on my e-mail.  If those who are interested didn't see them either....go to the web site.

Tom: the photos of the tiller pilot installation are, as they say, worth a 1000 words. I am going to dublicate what you have done, hopefully with the same good results that you have had with the system. Appreciate your effort and going forward hope that my contribution to the site is as useful as yours has been to me. If you are in or near san diego get back to me and we will try to get together with you.



Scott: appreciate the photo of your tiller pilot installation. I am forwarding your photo and Tom’s to the ship wright who works on my vessel with the belief that these visuals will facilitate placement of the Simrad tiller pilot that I am about to purchase based on what appears to be the concensus of the group that this is the apparatus to install.



Tom: just getting around to ordering the Simrad tiller pilot that you so kindly provided photos of to assist with the installation. The unit has several accessory options. I am certain from your photos that I need to order a Pedestal bracket(90mm) vs a Tiller Bracket. You did not mention the need for a Push rod extension so I infer this is not necessary. Hopefully the pin for the tiller is included, albeit this is not mentioned in the web sites that list the product(it is sunday so i can’t call to check on this but will do so tomorrow).

Plan to have the unit aboard before I take the boat into Canada X 3weeks. Heading up the east side of Vancouver island and returning via the San Juans.

Appreciate your consul and hope I can reciprocast in the future.

Best regards,


Richard, if your installation is at all like Itchen’s, you definitely
will need the push rod extension. Itchen has the pedestal bracket
mounted on the forward end of the boomkin and the push rod is not long
enough to reach the tiller from there without the extension. And, not
certain of this but I do not think the tiller pin is included. San
Juans and Vancouver should be fun, we chartered there many years ago.


On 7/22/07, BCC Forums bccforums@samlmorse.com wrote: