Wheel Pilots

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However you take to the water, whether relaxed cruising or giving it your all on a regatta, a wheel pilot is certainly a useful piece of kit to have on board. Easy to install, the right wheel pilot will give you years of dependable service and quickly become a valued member of the crew. It takes over the tasks of the helmsman at the touch of a button. All you need to do is enter some key inputs and the wheel pilot steers your boat automatically to follow the course. You just need to keep an eye on maritime traffic and other obstacles. Want to buy a wheel pilot? We offer high quality wheel autopilots from RAYMARINE.

How do wheel pilots work?

- Automatic self-steering gear for motorboats and sailboats -

A wheel pilot autopilot fitted on a yacht takes over the steering when activated and holds the vessel on a pre-set course between waypoints. The device usually obtains course information from a sensor-controlled, electronic compass as well as via GPS data. Sometimes external NMEA2000 data sources (for example wind sensors) are also integrated. An electrically operated drive belt adjusts the rudder position according to the set course, without taking into account the sea state, wind and speed.  

Wheel pilots can be installed on wheel steered yachts with a weight of up to 7.5 t. Wheel steering can easily be added to most boats and is definitely something you can do yourself. And an automatic pilot can be easily set up below or on deck and does not require complicated calibration processes with today's modern equipment. They are operated using a display on which skippers can make course adjustments or corrections when needed. The autopilot can be disengaged at the touch of a button, giving the helmsman total control over the steering when required.

What are the advantages of a wheel pilot for my boat?

- Excellent autopilot performance for your yacht guaranteed -

For a crew that tours during the day and occasionally wants to sail at night, a wheel pilot is the best solution: such a system is less sensitive than a windvane pilot system and operates independently of swells and changing wind conditions. Windpilots are often used in long-distance sailing. They operate by means of a windvane and often present problems in low wind on downwind courses, since the apparent wind is often less.

A wind steering system uses an elongated plywood panel or a frame covered with fabric. This device is placed on an axle into the wind so that it can tilt. The tilt causes a movement of the rudder across the axis that maintains the set course with respect to the wind. But this also means that if the wind changes the skipper has to adjust the position of the sails manually. This is a very popular system because it does not require the use of electricity.

A wheel steering autopilot, on the other hand, works in almost all conditions thanks to high-quality sensors. Even downwind with overtaking seas, a wheel pilot is able to steer the boat precisely and safely and adapt the steering to the prevailing conditions. If, however, you are planning long offshore voyages with heavy swells, a wheel pilot is usually not enough and you should opt for a built-in pilot, which guarantees reliable steering even in rough seas. Thanks to a powerful hydraulic linear drive with a large thrust, it can keep yachts with a displacement of up to 30 tonnes on course.

You might also be interested in: Accessories for automatic steering systems

You can find other useful products such as RAYMARINE rudder position feedback indicators for your wheel pilot in our other shop categories. Find the right autopilot for your boat. SVB also offers other types of autopilots for your yacht as well as self-steering wheel steering systems.

Customer ratings & reviews

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Dalibor S. on 23.09.2023


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Vedran V. on 23.09.2023

Super fast delivery

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PETER J. on 23.09.2023

Excellent and quick service. SVB used many times.