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S&S Swan General - Auto pilot Swan 40
13 May 2022 - 12:50
Join Date: 09 November 2021
Posts: 43

Auto pilot Swan 40

Hi all. 
I was planning to install the raymarine autopilot linear drive Type 2.  
But because the lack of space the best solution seems to the Jefa unit DD1.  My question is if I should go for the DD2 as I do not want to be in the limite of the Dd1.  



Star Swan 40 (47/51)

13 May 2022 - 15:42
Join Date: 31 July 2007
Posts: 88

You probably don't want to hear this because it'l cost you money: Your autopilot must be able to handle your boat in high winds and seas sailing downwind. To do this it must be powerful enough to move the rudder hard over to hard over in 8 (eight) seconds or less. It must be a hydraulic ram acting on an arm on the rudderstock independent of the steering. Your wheel steering system just trails along without any load on it.(make sure the wheelbrake is loose) There are hydraulic power units available for about $1,000.00 made in the UK. They have an oil tank, a pump, a motor and a ram and you can install it yourself if you have some skills. I would suggest you go with a B&G controller because it adapts to the sea state. I did and <> did. When sailing conditions are nice any autopilot will work but when it gets stormy and you are exhausted your autopilot must steer your boat! Don't go cheap on your autopilot unless you never plan to sail away from land much. 

Pete S/V Cygnus 040/012

13 May 2022 - 16:10
Join Date: 31 July 2007
Posts: 88

Just adding pictures: one showing the installation on my boat, the other one sunning myself on the mainsail while boat is sailing on autopilot and yes, there is a vang set on the boom.

Hydraulic ram installation

Autopilot steering

13 May 2022 - 17:04
Join Date: 29 January 2007
Posts: 1018

Dear Duarte and Peter,

I am not aware of linear actuators, (agree with Peter for the 8 sec over to over!) as I still have the Neco one, but I am told Lecom Smith actuators (which could be coupled to B&G or any other brand) are very very good ones, you may want to investigate on this too!

Fair winds!

matteo (47/069 Vanessa)

PS Peter on his boom: very nice pic!

14 May 2022 - 17:43
Join Date: 31 July 2007
Posts: 88

Doing a litte research on the internet and talking to friends i found the following:


15 May 2022 - 06:39
Join Date: 03 March 2007
Posts: 241

Two cents worth.

Pete is absolutely right!  I have installed the system that Peter posted the picture of from the UK. AS well I have it attached to the rudder post in a similar manner as Pete  I have used it now for 10 plus years with no issues.. I have a NAVMAN computer/head to run it.. As always the key is not to overpower the boat. I do admit when it gets nasty I prefer my WINDPILOT Pacific Plus.  Before going Raymarine check their customer service reviews..

Fair winds



15 May 2022 - 18:19
Join Date: 09 November 2021
Posts: 43

Thank you so much, Mike, Peter and Matteo.

My problem  is the lack of space for an arm. With the rottary drive from jefa I can install upside down under the cockpit floor. 

Nevertheless I am going to see if the hydraulic ram as you are sugestion, since is much smaller than the electric arm, migh be a solution.

Jefa deklivery time is 6 weeks and 3.000 euros the stronger unit.


Love the photo Pete!


P..S. Star Swan was originally tiller version, in 1996 the owner install a pedestal, quadrant and rudders is a way that uses more space than the original system. So I have very limited space between top of fuel tank, quadrant, and cables and celing.

I have been strugling as I NEED a strong and reliable autopilot.





15 May 2022 - 22:51
Join Date: 31 July 2007
Posts: 88

About tiller vs. wheel: Late in the 1960's I started to build a boat about 37ft launched it about 1971 and we entered in the Pacific Cup in 1990. Sailing from Seattle to San Francisco we were T-boned by an oiltanker and sunk but saved everybody. The autopilot was a Wood Freeman, locally made, came from a fishboat: 12in flat compass with two cat whiskers controlling relays actuating like a starter motor. Worked very well. We had NW winds and would fly a spinnaker during the day and take it down before dinner. Just for kicks I tried hand steering and I could do it for about 20 minites but the pilot did it 24/7. Had a tiller on that boat. We would stand it up straight. It was out-of-the-way but immediately available. And when using the tiller you could hide under the dodger out of the wind and rain. Wheel steering appears to be fashionable but if I had a choice I'd pick a tiller and an excellent autopilot. I'm singlehanding most of the time and handsteer only in congested waters. The wheel on my boat is the original Nautor installation and it probably looks real sailor-like when I steer. I even tack using the pilot. Too much hassle disengaging pilot, crawling back behind wheel, steadying on new tack, re-engaging pilot.

my homebuilt boat with a tiller, autopilot steering

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