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S&S Swan Maintenance - Swan 47 (1978) - auto pilot recommendations
12 March 2019 - 03:28
Join Date: 21 February 2019
Posts: 5

Swan 47 (1978) - auto pilot recommendations

Dear Members,

going to install a new auto pilot on my swan 47 and is looking for recommendations. 

Will be doing a fair bit of offshore sailing, so the auto pilot should be able to cope with big waves / swell. 

Of course, I am looking for something that doesn’t use to much power. 

Looking forward to your recommendations 

fair winds and following seas 




15 March 2019 - 12:16
Join Date: 02 January 2008
Posts: 1547

Dear Chris

As a  reference, a strong helmsman can produce 2 kNm torque in the S47 rudder
Kind regards

25 March 2019 - 10:11
Join Date: 07 October 2014
Posts: 74

hello chris,

i am looking at the moment also for an autopilot.

i am not an expert at all in this, but a friend is having a "jefa" drive.

that looks to me verry durabel.

also the homepage of jefa is showing any installation details.

pretty clean and sorted that factory.


just an idea for you

here a link for a complete system, not cheap, but hopefuly a good one


25 March 2019 - 19:41
Join Date: 01 March 2007
Posts: 147

Dear Chris,

I installed a Raymarine Type 3 Hydraulic Autopilot in Sarabande in 2014. I was attracted to the new gyroscope which boasted a high performance, and the pilot can work on both compass and wind angle settings. It has been good, and with practice, I have been able to steer the boat in varying conditions under sail efficiently. The power requirement can vary, and relies upon a balanced sail plan to be efficient. It has been reliable up until last autumn when the electric oil pump failed, which according to Raymarinen is due to "lack of service". I have paid for a replacement pump, which I will install this spring.

We fabricated an alloy beam which we bolted to the back of the quadrant ( using exisiting 4 bolts) on to which we attached the hydraulic ram and rudder sensor. The Oil pump and oil reservoir sit well in the lazarette beneath the helmsmans seat, without taking up valuable space.


Sarabande 47/029

26 March 2019 - 06:55
Join Date: 02 January 2008
Posts: 1547

Dear Rob

It can be noted that your Type 3 autopilot is stronger than you, the advertised maximum torque is 3.2 kNm
Kind regards


16 April 2019 - 01:15
Join Date: 31 July 2007
Posts: 88

I installed an autopilot 22 years ago because I single-hand most of the time. First I talked to some skippers who participated in the Volvo Round-the-world. Why nottake advantage of their knowledge? I was told that hard-over to hard-over must be under 8 seconds. I had to build my own power unit. I found that to engage the hydraulic cylinder, commercial units used a solenoid which uses about 1 amp all the time, so I have a manual valve between the ports of the cylinder. My first control unit was an Autohelm 4000(?) now, for 2 decades, it is a B&G (Brooks & Gatehouse) with their standard fluxgate. I thought that I would not need a gyro and I haven't. and have been as far North as 55 deg N. A few times I have been overpowered by having too much sail. The most memorable was South bound in Johnson Straits with about 35 knots behind me: I was down to a reefed working jib, no main and my stern wave was about level with the aft deck. I could not have steered, I would not have been quick enough and would not have had the endurance. But in light airs is where the pilot shines: a few knots of wind and I lounge on-deck, reading or just watching.

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