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Below Deck Autopilot


Jan 13, 2021
18
Catalina 315 75 San Diego
Hello, We are new to the group and happily awaiting the delivery of our new 315. The factory does not offer the Raymarine EV-200 below deck autopilot, only the EV-100 wheel pilot. Is there a 315 owner out there that has had a below deck autopilot installed? We are wondering if there is just not enough space below.
 

JRT

.
Feb 14, 2017
1,872
Catalina 310 211 Lake Guntersville, AL
Welcome and congratulations! I bet there is room as this is a common enough change to 310, but does probably mean more work then the factory wants to do.
 
Feb 21, 2013
1,941
Hunter 46 Point Richmond, CA
Welcome to the forum!!

Do you know if you have access to a cavity under the cockpit? If so, then expect there is room for a below deck linear drive autopilot drive. My Hunter 31 did not, so installed a Raymarine wheel autopilot. My larger sailboats did, so they had/have a Raymarine hydraulic linear drive withe hydraulic reservoir in the aft lazarette. To be sure, suggest contacting your local Raymarine installation service center(s) for guidance on whether you can install a below deck autopilot.
 
Jan 13, 2021
18
Catalina 315 75 San Diego
Thank you for the feedback and the list of electronics businesses in San Diego. All helpful. We are in the process of asking the factory the specific reason for no below deck autopilot.
 
Sep 6, 2020
18
Catalina 315 74 Barrington, RI
I have a new 315, hull #74, at the dealer in CT, getting ready for the spring. The dealer offered Raymarine and Garmin, both wheel and below deck. I decided on Garmin for all my electronics, and went with the below deck autopilot Reactor 40. From my research, the below deck is a bit overkill for the 315, but I would rather go that way than the other. It was like twice the price of the Raymarine wheel pilot. I know at least some of the install was done by the dealer - I'm not totally clear what Catalina installed versus the dealer. But, to answer your question, yes there is plenty of room below deck to install it. These pictures are looking down into the area behind the cockpit in front of the transom, looking at the space between the transom and the rear cabin bulkhead.
 

Attachments

Jan 13, 2021
18
Catalina 315 75 San Diego
Thanks for sharing the install information and photos. Our dealer in San Diego just told us today that Catalina said there is no room for the Garmin Reactor 40 autopilot (although they offer it with the Garmin package - seems odd). If your 315 had room for the installation we don't have a clue why it would be different for our boat so we'll check back with the dealer.
 
Feb 21, 2013
1,941
Hunter 46 Point Richmond, CA
I would install a Raymarine autopilot and verify the cockpit floor can be removed to expose a cavity to connect the steering wheel to the rudder.
 
Oct 22, 2014
14,261
CAL 35 Cruiser moored EVERETT WA
Congratulations on your new boat. May enjoy many wonderful years with her.

Don‘t let the factory dissuade you from having installed the EV200 if you really want it. The linear drive is stronger than the wheel pilot. If you are going to venture out beyond Dana Point you will enjoy the value of the stronger AP.

I am certain that you can find a competent person to install the drive in San Diego. Be sure to get the rudder reference as part of the package.

Pictures of you and your new boat when you get the chance.
 
Sep 6, 2020
18
Catalina 315 74 Barrington, RI
As I said above, my new 315 is now installed with a below deck Garmin autopilot, so there is room. There's access from the cockpit (a locker lid on the starboard side of the transom), and from a cutout behind the rear cabin - the pictures above are looking down from the cockpit. It's a Garmin unit in all ways, but Garmin doesn't make a linear mechanical drive for it, so I have a Raymarine version of drive. Dealer/Catalina seemed to have to discuss this a bit to make it work, but it's installed. We'll see in May if it works in the water!
 
Jan 17, 2013
380
Catalina 310 St. Simons Island, GA
This topic is of interest to me because the EV 100 is great while motoring but not necessarily while sailing. I too was told "no room" but that was 8 years ago and I suspect the technology has shrunk since then? Had my fuel tank and HWH replaced last summer and this is what the space below looks like before and after installation. Not sure if there is room but may try to find out. 20200617_082959.jpg20200429_135038.jpg
 
Sep 6, 2020
18
Catalina 315 74 Barrington, RI
I think the 315 has evolved over time. My HWH is under the port settee and my fuel tank is under the aft cabin. Nothing is back around the steering except some wiring, the A/C connections, and now the autopilot.
 
Aug 21, 2019
84
Catalina 315 Grosse Pointe Park, MI
I have a C315 with the Raymarine EV-100 wheel pilot. I have found that it mostly works OK. But, anytime it is difficult to hand helm the boat, the EV-100 struggles. So, under sail in light air, especially with the wind on the stern or in heavy air with significant weather helm or in very shifty winds, I find myself turning it off. Also, in bumpy following seas under motor power the EV-100 does not work well either.

On the other hand, in more "normal conditions" it actually performs rather well. I have had the pleasure of going wing on wing for long stretches under autohelm. I have considered adding a rudder sensor, but I am not convinced that will actually help. Even the people at Raymarine gave me no assurance it would do any good when I contacted them.

Would I personally spend the extra money to get a pilot that attaches directly to the rudder post, probably not.
 
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Jan 13, 2021
18
Catalina 315 75 San Diego
It is helpful to hear your actual experience with the EV-100. It was interesting that Catalina offered the Garmin electronics package with the below deck autopilot and the Raymarine electronics package with the EV-100 wheel pilot, no option for the below deck autopilot. We were told this is the first year Garmin electronics were offered. Perhaps they found out after the fact there is not adequate space for the below deck autopilot for either Garmin or Raymarine.

We are not offshore sailors. We sail the coast of California with occasional trips to Catalina Island. Our previous boat was a Catalina 36 that we had for thirteen wonderful years. It had the Raymarine below deck autopilot so that is where our experience has been.

We are downsizing now and wanted to stay with a Catalina. Perhaps we are just finding out one of the compromises of a smaller boat. We are still waiting for our San Diego dealer to get back to us on their thoughts on the issue of a below deck auto pilot.
 
Aug 21, 2019
84
Catalina 315 Grosse Pointe Park, MI
I am very glad I purchased the 315 and so far I have used it on Lake Erie, Lake St Clair and Lake Huron. Almost 3 weeks on one trip and no divorce. Best of luck with yours!
 

KZW

.
May 17, 2014
735
Catalina 310 #307 Bluewater Bay, FL
I have a C315 with the Raymarine EV-100 wheel pilot. I have found that it mostly works OK. But, anytime it is difficult to hand helm the boat, the EV-100 struggles. So, under sail in light air, especially with the wind on the stern or in heavy air with significant weather helm or in very shifty winds, I find myself turning it off. Also, in bumpy following seas under motor power the EV-100 does not work well either.

On the other hand, in more "normal conditions" it actually performs rather well. I have had the pleasure of going wing on wing for long stretches under autohelm. I have considered adding a rudder sensor, but I am not convinced that will actually help. Even the people at Raymarine gave me no assurance it would do any good when I contacted them.

Would I personally spend the extra money to get a pilot that attaches directly to the rudder post, probably not.

I have a 2005 C-310 with a wheel Raymarine autopilot. It won't hold going to weather in true wind speed above 10 knots, and has real issues running if there are any kind of waves in Choctawhatchee Bay. This makes it real dicey single handing in winds above 10 knots, because leaving the wheel to handle the sails means you round up, sometimes leading to an unintended tack. I would be happy to pay extra for a below deck autopilot connecting directly to the rudder post.
 
Aug 21, 2019
84
Catalina 315 Grosse Pointe Park, MI
I have a 2005 C-310 with a wheel Raymarine autopilot. It won't hold going to weather in true wind speed above 10 knots, and has real issues running if there are any kind of waves in Choctawhatchee Bay. This makes it real dicey single handing in winds above 10 knots, because leaving the wheel to handle the sails means you round up, sometimes leading to an unintended tack. I would be happy to pay extra for a below deck autopilot connecting directly to the rudder post.
Wow, your experience with the Raymarine autopilot seems very bad. I wonder if there might be some underlying problem you can fix and improve its performance. I have contacted the technical support at Raymarine a few times and they have been helpful.
 
Jan 17, 2013
380
Catalina 310 St. Simons Island, GA
I have a 2005 C-310 with a wheel Raymarine autopilot. It won't hold going to weather in true wind speed above 10 knots, and has real issues running if there are any kind of waves in Choctawhatchee Bay. This makes it real dicey single handing in winds above 10 knots, because leaving the wheel to handle the sails means you round up, sometimes leading to an unintended tack. I would be happy to pay extra for a below deck autopilot connecting directly to the rudder post.
I would also. Is your autopilot the EV-100 or an earlier version? Asking because the EV-100 was a big improvement over previous versions. But it is still a wheel pilot and has limitations.
 
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KZW

.
May 17, 2014
735
Catalina 310 #307 Bluewater Bay, FL
The belt slips. I replaced it a year after buying the boat, and over time tightened it on several occasions. When the wind gets above 10 knots the load builds up and the belt slips. If I tighten it more, the rollers inside the wheel mount break. I can fix them by running a bolt through, but that doesn't solve the underlaying problem.
 
Aug 21, 2019
84
Catalina 315 Grosse Pointe Park, MI
The belt slips. I replaced it a year after buying the boat, and over time tightened it on several occasions. When the wind gets above 10 knots the load builds up and the belt slips. If I tighten it more, the rollers inside the wheel mount break. I can fix them by running a bolt through, but that doesn't solve the underlaying problem.
I have had the belt slip at winds higher than 10 kn, more like 20 kn in my case. It makes an awful noise, clearly the unit is over loading. But, I assume it is just natural that it struggles in heavy air.

I am wondering if perhaps your steering is tight for some reason. My former boat had a great deal of drag on the steering until the steering cable broke. After I replaced it, putting lube in the cable housing, it helped quite a bit. Still, the C 315's steering is noticeably lighter.