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TOPIC: Whitby 42 will not track straight

Whitby 42 will not track straight 1 month 1 week ago #2847

  • BobH
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Our new to us 42 will not track in a straight line without constant steering input. Is that normal or is there a problem with the hydraulic steering? There is pressure on the reservoir. I have looked at the steering cylinder and rudder connection and it all appears to be tight. Slight wiggle of the wheel and the steering cylinder responds.

Bob
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Whitby 42 will not track straight 1 month 1 week ago #2848

Can you describe this more fully?

Do you have an autopilot? Are you sure it’s disengaged?

What’s the rudder position? (This can be hard to observe.)
Last Edit: 1 month 1 week ago by s_lott.
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Whitby 42 will not track straight 1 month 1 week ago #2849

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It's a wheel pilot so it is easy to determine that it is off. Point the boat straight ahead and it will drift off to one side or the other. Correct the path with a little bit of rudder and it will drift off in the opposite direction. It takes constant attention to the wheel to keep it going in one direction. Even a momentary distraction and when you look up again you are off course. The wheel pilot was constantly making corrections, sometimes it would get so confused there would be wild swings of the wheel at which point I would take over, get us pointed in the right direction and then reengage the pilot. There is no rudder angle indicator. The steering is very light with absolutely no feedback, almost five turns lock to lock.
There is a very slight amount of play at the top rudder bearing.

Bob
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Whitby 42 will not track straight 1 month 1 week ago #2850

Drifting is normal. A 5 degree swing over a minute or so is pretty typical.

Under sail, the drift may be less. The mizzen tends to even out the steering a little. We can sail for a longer period (10-15 min) under sail.

Across a current she drifts a fair amount.

Wind across the bow and she drifts a lot and requires attention to keep on course.

If your autopilot can’t keep course, there’s something metal near the compass and it’s confusing the autopilot.
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Whitby 42 will not track straight 1 month 1 week ago #2851

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We did have a fair amount of wind, mostly on the bow. For some reason the PO pulled the mizzen mast off to starboard with the boomvang. That may also contribute to the wandering.
The AP worked fine most of the time, making continuous small corrections. Sometimes it seemed to get overwhelmed by a wave or wind gust and start to over correct with wild turns of the wheel. At that point I took over, got the boat headed in the right direction and then reengaged the AP.
There is a hydraulic pump plumbed into the system below decks but no controller. I believe it's a Centrak(?) pump. I'll have to see if it still works and then get a AP to work with it. Right now too many other projects.
Bob
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Whitby 42 will not track straight 1 month 1 week ago #2852

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I did not mention that this was all under power. There were so many other issues that we did not want to add to them by trying to raise the sails.
Bob
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Whitby 42 will not track straight 1 month 1 week ago #2853

  • menehune
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When we purchased our W42 (#195) in 1999 the autopilot was old and decrepit...we were warned that its days were numbered, but everything else on the boat was just fine (except the center fuel tank). Sure enough,
in Apr or May of 2000 (after we had returned to the Chesapeake)...it failed. For a replacement, I wanted a wheel mounted AP....the easier to see and the better to control. We (including the boatyard) located
a new model, which was a bit undersized for the Whitby: 42 ft. long, and displacing upwards of 24,,000 lbs. (to learn later it was, actually, much closer to 30,000 lbs). We discussed same with the manufacturer, and was warned that it was too small and they would not be able to guarantee that it would work for us.

I insisted....and we installed the wheel mounted AP. Well...we worked on every possible combination of installation options.......we couldn't get the boat to track smoothly, etc... everything you are mentioning in your comments is what we saw in the wheel mounted AP. Going back to the manufacturer, we were reminded of their earlier qualifications, and that the wheel mounted AP was not programmed to handle the motions of a 42 ft, full keel boat weighing as much as 30,000 lbs. Awh, nuts.

We removed the wheel mounted AP, and installed a much larger unit (not wheel mounted) and, after making the various installation adjustments, we were very satisfied with its performance.

My comments: Perhaps the previous owner was using a wheel mounted AP that wasn't/isn't sufficiently brawny to handle the Whitby? I think you should obtain an answer to this question before you go nuts...and lose your mind! Otherwise installing a suitable AP will do the trick...there are lots of APs that are in use by Whitby/Brewer boats
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Whitby 42 will not track straight 1 week 2 hours ago #2870

  • Levi
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Hi,
Could you please share what model of AP you installed and works well. I'm in the process of sizing the right processor.

Cheers,

Rafael
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Whitby 42 will not track straight 6 days 23 hours ago #2871

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We installed the "new" AP circa[ 2003. We sold the boat late in 2012. I don't remember, specifically, the AP....but I think it was a Raymarine 4000+ ? If Frank , the new owner, is listening, he may be able to help (unless, or course) he has, too, installed a "new" AP.... hope you can find an AP to do the job. John
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Whitby 42 will not track straight 6 days 22 hours ago #2872

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I was advised that a Raymarine EV200 should be the right size. So I'll go with that
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Whitby 42 will not track straight 6 days 6 hours ago #2873

  • Desserts
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Hi John and assembled multitude -
Yes, Menehune had a Raymarine 4000+ when we were lucky enough to get her from John and Mary. The 4000+ had a zillion settings (in a forest of menu trees) and I could never find a combination that would consistently track well in a variety of conditions - wandering 5 - 10 degrees was common. (This is not a Whitby issue - we had the same model in our Brewer "Jason 35" and had the same "wandering" problem. In fact we named that unit "SeeMore" because of all the different directions it would point the boat as we traveled along... And several calls to Raymarine acknowledged that they knew the 4000+ had a "wandering" problem.)

Anyway - we wound up installing a Raymarine Evolution model. Menehune has hydraulic steering and we were advised to use Raymarine's mid-size hydraulic pump (helm load and response time) and hence the bigger EV-400 model to power it. Result - excellent tracking in all but the worst conditions (typically larger seas on the quarter can be difficult even when hand steering). The Evolution series is very good at "learning" the boat and the conditions - no adjustments to fiddle with - and we're very satisfied with it.

Hope this helps -
Frank and Kate
Just Desserts (ex Menehune #195)
Last Edit: 6 days 6 hours ago by Desserts.
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Whitby 42 will not track straight 1 day 4 hours ago #2875

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Hi Frank and Katie,

Thanks for the recommend and info on your Raymarine Autohelm. I have the SPX-10 core pack and a Type 1 Hydraulic pump (M81120), together with the ST70 head unit, fitted to AMARAI (WBW #62). I have had intermittent success with the unit in the 1000 or so miles since installation. At time of installation I could find little information as to sizing of pump and I think that my fitting the smaller pump resulted in some issues with the system. It would track for 30-45 minutes then an irregular wave would start the unit hunting until the pump gave up and the track alarm went off. Often the unit would not settle back down enough to re-engage the pilot for an hour or so.

Since the SPX-10 does not support a Type II (larger capacity) pump - and neither does the EV-100 by the way - I'm faced with changing out the core pack and was looking at the Evolution system you have fitted.

Can you confirm the Pump you are using ('Type 1/2/3 etc. and perhaps the Serial #).

If anyone else on the website has experience with the SPX-30 (I know it is a legacy system, but perhaps suitable and less expensive than EV?) and Type II pump - I would be interested to hear what you have to say on the subject. I know many will recommend other manufacturers, but I would like to stick with Raymarine for my AP as the rest of the network is Raymarine and I am happy with it.
Peter C Hughes
SV AMARAI
W42 #061
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Whitby 42 will not track straight 21 hours 47 minutes ago #2878

  • Desserts
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Hi Peter,
I'll give you the whole list of what we have. Some of it may not matter, but significantly newer S/Ns may imply revised firmware, usually (but not always) a good thing. One note that may matter - Just Desserts has an enlarged rudder (I believe it follows Brewer's suggestion described elsewhere in the Forum) and that probably benefits steering ability regardless of the autopilot you have (or get).
OK - we have the EV-1 Sensor Core Raymarine # E70096, S/N 0550177; the ACU-400 power unit, Raymarine # E70100, S/N 0450162; and Raymarine Type-2 12V pump Raymarine # M81121, S/N 0150018. (Note - we also purchased a spare Type-2 pump on the premise that if you only have one and it fails you don't have an autopilot, but if you have a spare the original will last forever.) The spare buried under the bunk so I can't get its S/N, but we bought both at the same time so I would guess both S/Ns are numerically close.) We also have the P70R rotary knob type control head Raymarine #E22167, S/N 0650290. I find the rotary-type much easier than the stab-multiple-times-at-the + and - buttons type. I believe the rotary-type has a slightly different set of functions than the push button-type (possibly intended for a power boat, so please don't tell anyone we have it...!), so compare them in that regard as you make your decisions.

OK - hope this helps. Good luck in your selection.
Have fun -
Frank and Kate
S/V Just Desserts (#195, ex Menehune)
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