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Saturday, December 24, 2016

Below Deck Autopilot

AutoPilot System Components

  • Raymarine EV-200 Sail Autopilot (T70155)
    • Anchor Express $1,660 + $11 shipping
  • Octopus 1212LAR12 linear drive
    • Defender  $1,615
    • Tests show that the patented piston pump unit used in the Octopus Linear Actuator is three times more efficient than the gear pump used by a leading competitor. An Octopus Linear Actuator can be expected to steer a vessel more than twice as far on the same battery charge
    • rated for vessels up to 60ft or 33,00 lbs
    • 12V @ 4-6A/19A average/max current

Raymarine EV-200 Sail Autopilot
Octopus 1212LAR12

Mounting the Octopus Linear Drive

    Radial Drive Bracket

    An Edson rudder stop post machined to accept the Octopus
    piston rod end.

    The Radial to Octopus piston rod end connection. The
    mounting post was bolted with 316SS bolts coated with
    Tef-Gel.  A layer of DMD (dacron-maylar-dacron) isolates
     the mounting post bracket from the radial to prevent galvanic
    corrosion.  In addition, the mounting post bracket was painted
    with black epoxy paint.
    A side view of the the Radial to Octopus connection.

    Mounting the Octopus Linear Drive

    Remote pump for the Octopus drive was
    mounted on the engine well side of the  quarter berth
     bulkhead just below the access panel.

    Scupper Relocation and Octopus Mount Bolts

    Rudder Indicator Installation

    The rudder indicator arm mounted on G10 prior to installation

    Rudder arm bolted to the rudder tube stringer next to the
    steering radial drive. 

    Custom made bracket rudder indicator.

    Radial drive showing the bolt couples prior to mounting the
    custom made indicator bracket.

    Rudder indicator with bracket and linkage. 
    View of the rudder indicator bracket and linkage. 
    Side view of the rudder indicator bracket and linkage. 

    Autopilot Controller Mount

    The p70 autopilot controller is mounted starboard of the helm.
    This provides easy access to the controller from the
    helm and the cockpit.  But more importantly it uses the same
    hole as the old SPX-5 wheel pilot controller.


    1. Thanks for all the great photos in this writeup. How did the autopilot end up working out in terms of performance and any kinks/issues?
      Were you happy with deciding on the Octopus rather than Raymarine mechanical drive? (despite the extra complexity the Octopus seems to have introduced, likely having to move a cockpit scupper)
      -Patrick ('84 LF38)

      1. I have been beyond pleased with the performance. The Octopus has a great reputation and is rated well above the LF38 displacement(like 2X). Also given the greater lever arm of using the radial mount, the pump load is even less which amounts to lower power consumption. About a year ago I was bringing the boat from Carrabelle, FL to Panama City, FL, the winds were higher than predicted with gusts over 35. We on a beat most of the way in confused seas, and the AP performed flawlessly as we hauled quickly along. My foul weather gear, not as well. The only issue I have is a little water pooling by the old scupper location. It is more of an annoyance, which I will eventually correct.