By Ben Ellison
Furuno Navpilot series autopilots
Furuno took its time developing this autopilot, even seeking consultation from software logic researchers. The result is said to be the first truly “adaptive” yacht-control unit, capable of learning your boat nearly instantly and continuing to learn and improve its performance as conditions on and off the boat change. Among its features are automated orbit and cloverleaf maneuvers around a fishfinder or plotter target (or back to a man overboard), the ability to compensate for wind and current even when not aimed at a waypoint, and customizable display modes including data from NMEA 0183 inputs. Several fixed and remote controls are available and can be installed simultaneously, and the minimum recommended heading sensor is Furuno’s PG-500 rate-compensated fluxgate. A system using the 511 control head shown, which packs a lot of display screen into a unit only 4 1/2 inches square, costs $2,595. NavPilot is CAN based, meaning that the hardware is in place for eventual support of NMEA 2000.
Furuno Phone: (360) 834-9300. www.furuno.com.
This article originally appeared in the January 2004 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.