I have the Raymarine S1000 autopilot installed this on my 23-foot pontoon boat. When it is working properly, this autopilot is nice to have aboard. Unfortunately, when it fails to work right I find it can be a major pain in the neck.
In my estimation the unit works right about 90 percent of the time and has some glitch about 10 percent of the time. When an issue appears I always make sure I have properly initialized the autopilot.
When it malfunctions, it will do a number of random things, for example, it will turn the motor hard over in the wrong direction and then shut down because it is too far off course.
I have tried to get the folks at Raymarine to help sort out these issues, but after they sent me a nice email telling me they had opened up a case report and would get back to me with some ideas, I never heard from them again.
Steady She Goes
When the Raymarine S1000 autopilot works, it works very well. I can troll down to very slow speeds and it will keep a steady and accurate heading even in moderate wind and seas.
I have found the cloverleaf patterns to be fairly useless for fishing. The turns at the outer limits are far too sharp and end up causing lures to snag on the bottom and lines to tangle. However, I have found the zig-zag pattern to work well.
The initial start of a Circle pattern is almost always too abrupt a turn and often doesn’t work at all. But, once in a circular orbit is established, the boat always traces out a perfect circle for as long as time as one wishes to continue. I only have to make sure no changes are made to keep the pattern going smoothly.
Generally, once the autopilot is “locked on” to any track, whether it be a straight course, zig-zag, circle, or cloverleaf pattern it will continue this track quite reliably unless the wind, waves, or current are just too strong.
A Little Noisy
The hydraulic motor is a bit loud, but it doesn’t bother me much. In fact, if one could not hear the motor one might not know that it is engaged.
Bring Batteries for Remote
The remote control unit is simple and intuitive. Make certain to keep extra batteries on your boat, because without the remote the autopilot is useless. I found that I needed new batteries every two to three full days of fishing.