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35-2 Single Handing, Possible?


Junior Member
I've become quite proficient at single handing thanks to 'Rona isolation, now just trying to make life easier so I can relax more. Also, gradually prepping the boat for longer distance cruising. Looking for recommendations and setup on below deck autopilot.

Hey Farlander, my 1970 E-32 is #155, so it probably has the same fingerprints as the crew that made yours!

Did you ever get any info on installing an autopilot? I'm considering a Raymarine EV-200, but it's probably going to take some tricky engineering. What did you decide?


Member III
I'm doing some single-hand optimizations on my boat right now.

The biggest bang-for-buck is the 30.00 Harken 150 cam cleat I put on the mast to hold the halyard (temporarily) after I hoist the sail. That went in this morning. Works like a charm.

I have a tiller and currently use a Simrad TP-32 tiller pilot which is designed for boats in the 37' range. It seems to work well up to about 15 kts with moderate weather helm. It doesn't tack/gybe very well, so I end up disconnecting it and control the tiller with my legs while tacking the jib. The Pelagic tiller pilot is also very good and not much more expensive than the Simrad. The Simrad might be easier to interface with your existing instruments which is what I have done,- for example, I can set the autopilot based on wind direction.

Our previous boat was a fractional membership on a Beneteau Oceanis 38.1. It had dual wheel helms and a below-deck autopilot system. (and the boat is also around 300K as it was setup). The nice thing about the below-deck system is that they have a clutch, so you can disengage the AP electronically by pressing a button on the panel. There are no tiller pilots with clutches on the market (including the Pelagic), so to disengage you have to pop the tiller pilot arm off the ball joint on the tiller. It's kind of a pain to do. You might think that you could just steer the boat by tiller pilot in non-autopilot mode, but it is not that responsive and if you want to turn in a hurry, you'll want to quickly disconnect the tiller. The below deck autopilot is expensive. Plan to spend 2-3K on the hardware alone. (Pelagic also makes a nice below-deck system). You may have to do a fair amount of work to install it or have it professionally installed. the main concern will be fabricating a strong mounting plate below deck and attachment to your rudder shaft. So maybe 4-5K ?

The other option (which I know little about) would be an above deck wheel pilot system and I think Christian covers that fairly well in his videos. I would imagine that those are going to be a bit more expensive than a tiller pilot but probably less expensive and easier to install than the below deck.


Member II
I would recommend the wheel pilot for ease of install, should mount right up to the Edson or Yacht Specialties pedastal.

Haven't given it much thought lately because I have a Morgan 41 OI project boat now too.

A friend of mine has a monitor on his E35-2, they work ok when sails are balanced decently, and perhaps a little bit of rudder bias is applied.


Member III
What a great thread on solo sailing. Yes, I also solo but only on Chesapeake Bay to date. Heading down to Abaco in 2021.
Yes, an autopilot is an absolute, and Yes entering and leaving a slip is a must practice where there is wind and tide challenges.
Yes, I am a little older - coming on 69.

Re: Alpha Autopilots
"After 48 years of serving the sailing community, the Board of Directors of Alpha Marine Systems has decided “to turn the corner” and cease the manufacture and servicing of its world renown autopilots, effective January 15, 2020. The company will not accept items for repair after January 1, 2020."