Latest Blog Entry
Retrofit autopilot made simple
Motorboat magazine wrote an article in the January 2014 edition about Octopus' two compact systems designed to fit a wide range of outboard and sterndrive boats.
The Octopus system is a simple autopilot for cable-steered powerboats. Aimed at the retrofit market it does not require you to convert your boat to hydraulic steering and is designed for boats with limited space. All the drive units are concealed so it can be used in an open boat and the system will interface with all major brands of autopilot. Octopus comes in two versions: S/T, located behind the dash, and R, a remote-mounted system. Hull length is limited to 33 ft (10m). The S/T system replaces the original steering bezel with an electrically powered bezel connected to th autopilot. It uses the original wheel and steering cable.
The R system uses an electrically powered remote-mounted steering drive unit connected to the autopilot. The drive unit is usually within a few feet of the sterndrive, outboard or rudder. It can be fitted to single or twine-engine/rudder set-ups. The R system works by piggy backing on top of the existing steering system. The original wheel, steering bezel and cable used for manual steering becoming redundant when autopilot is engaged. The R system, unlike the S/T version, can be manually overridden without disengaging autopilot first. Both the S/T and R models can be fitted with an optional rudder feedback unit, which is strongly advised. This ensures that the Octopus matches the steering geometry of the boat by limiting turns within the constraints of the boat's original steering system.
The R drive unit is only 6x6x8in. Having a short 6ft cable it is likely to be more responsive to the commands of the autopilot than the S/T system. The systems will fit a wide range of boats from the 1980s onwards.
RS Sailboat Drive System Proven Reliability
Over the last five years the RS Drive System has been in service on hundreds of yachts, and has proven itself to be another highly reliable product from Octopus Autopilot Drives. Based on this experience the push-pull steering cable has also proven itself to be a rugged and robust component of the overall system. When maintained as recommended, by greasing at regular intervals, this steering cable provides a life of over 4,000 hours use (20,000 miles at 5 knots average speed for cruising yachts).
Octopus Autopilot Drives are fully confident in the reliability of the RS Drive System, and are pleased to announce that we have extended the system warranty from two years to three years including the mechanical cable. We do however consider the steering cable to be a serviceable item and recommend that for long passage making and racing applications a spare cable is carried on board.
Octopus offer high quality autopilot drives for both sailboats and powerboats. For powerboats we have a full range of reversing and constant running pumps for hydraulic steering and a unique range of mechanical drives for cable steered boats. Our high efficiency hydraulic linear actuators for sailboats offer the best solution for long passage making and low battery drain and our unique cable operated sailboat linear drive is ideal for fast modern yachts with limited installation space. Octopus has been manufacturing drives for over twenty years with thousands of drives fitted to yachts around the world.
Octopus Europe is the marketing office for Octopus Autopilot drive systems for Europe and the surrounding territories. We offer sales and service support for the full range of products manufactured by Octopus Marine in Vancouver Canada, which is part of Canada Metal (Pacific) Ltd.
Please look at our range of products and then contact us for sales and additional product information.