Pelagic Autopilot News: Practical Sailor gives Pelagic Best Choice award and 59° North Sailing has installed Pelagic onboard their Farr 65, FALKEN and Swan 48, ISJBORN!


1. We live outside the US. Does the price include VAT and duty?  No. For shipments out of the U.S., customs duties, taxes and VAT may apply and is the sole responsibility of the purchaser. Please check with your local customs authorities. 

2. How much will it cost to ship a system or parts to me? The cost of shipping depends on your location and the weight of the product(s) ordered. Once you have placed the product in your cart, the cost of shipping will be calculated by our online system prior to confirming your purchase. Depending on your receiving address, you may also be given the option to choose between different delivery speeds. e.g., Priority, Economy or USPS.

3. What is the lead time and why so long? We do our best to list product specific lead times on our website and update these as they change. Even though we may have items in stock, we build to order and perform a system test before shipping, both of which take time.  Let us know if you have a short time window and we will do our best to accommodate you.

4. Do you currently charge for software upgrades? No, not at this time.

5. How do I upgrade my software to take advantage of new features? Contact us to receive the software and instructions to upgrade for your particular unit. You will need an internet connection, a PC (running Windows 7.0 or later) or MAC, small Phillips screwdriver and a mini-B USB or Micro USB data cable (depending on the age of your system).

6. I understand that the latest release has added support for 10° and 25° course adjustments. Can I use these features by upgrading? The new software utilizes the C and D buttons of the optional wireless remote to adjust course in 10° or 25° increments. If you already have a remote, you will be able to use the new features by simply upgrading. If not, you can order the remote receiver and transmitter and upgrade the software to use the features. 

7. What is meant by stern or bow facing orientation? Orientation is the position of the control unit's front panel when mounted, relative to the bow of the boat.  While orientation can be changed in the field, it is preset at the factory to make installation easier.  As of March 2023 (R67), changing the system orientation no longer requires you to recalibrate the compass. You can now change the orientation by pushing a few buttons. Below is an example of a stern facing installation.


Example of Stern Facing Orientation

8. How much power does the system draw?  In standby mode, the system draws approximately .1 amp.  When engaged with the standard tiller actuator, the system draws about 1 to 4 amps in low to moderate sea state and can rise to an average of 6 amps in heavy conditions. Peak currents in large quartering seas are about 8 amps. 

9. NMEA - Wind mode: As of Aug 2017, the unit will follow an apparent wind line using NMEA 0183 data sentences of MWV or VWR. To use NMEA 2000, a data converter, like an Actisense NGW-1 must be added to your NMEA network. The manual for the NGW-1 is located at

10. Can the Pelagic steer multihulls? - Yes! The Pelagic is steering cats and tri's in a variety of sizes. It is really about the rudder load. Most cats have very efficient, modern rudders and are relatively easy to steer compared to fin keel mono hulls. For example, the Pelagic is routinely steering 10,000 kg boats with stern hung, barn door rudders (the Westsail 32 is an example). It has been installed on a Vardo 34' cat for about 2 years (Jeff Goff's Vardo - and in the following video, a smaller cat made good use of the Pelagic in a recent Race to Alaska. The Pelagic is shown at 6:40 minutes: 

11. How large a boat can the standard Pelagic tiller pilot be installed on? As stated above, it's really about rudder load. That said, the standard tiller pilot is generally good to about 38'. For larger boats we recommend our heavy tiller system. Early versions have been installed on the 60', 10,000 kg Bob Perry designed slender hull s/v Francis Lee, AKA Sliver, a Valiant 40 and an Andrews 43 among others. If in doubt, email or call to discuss your specific application.

12. Mounting the tiller actuator: The dimensions of the pins and spacing on the tiller are compatible with other manufacturers. The tiller pin should be located 18 inches (457 mm) forward from the axis of the rudder. The distance from the centered tiller arm and the mounting point on the deck should be 24 7/16 inches (621mm) for proper operation. Effective January 2021, the deck mount for the standard actuator allows for 1.5" (38mm) of adjustability in .5" (13mm) increments both inboard and outboard. This allows the Pelagic actuator to be a true drop in replacement for most third party actuators.

13. What if the distance between the mounting point on the deck and tiller is greater than 24 7/16 inches (621mm)? As noted above, the standard actuator bracket allows for 1.5" (38mm) of adjustability inboard or outboard. For distances greater than that, we recommend an actuator extension. These can be ordered off the accessories page and are made to length for your boat up to 12". To determine the length required, simply take the distance between mounting point on the hull and tiller and subtract 24 7/16" (621mm).  Please call or email with questions on this.

14.  Tiller actuator compatibility:  Tiller actuators currently on the market are all 12 volt motors that depend on reversal of the applied voltage for moving the tiller, or a wheel. The tiller actuators are generally interchangeable and compatible with the Pelagic electronics. 

15. What is the benefit of a 9 axis gyro system? The Pelagic autopilot contains three gyros along with six other sensors to keep track of vessel attitude. Technically known as a MEMS based system, the rate gyros supply rudder control to compensate for yaw, roll, and pitch.  At the higher gain settings it is quite aggressive with rudder motion. MEMS systems are much more responsive than older flux-gate style systems.

16. Below deck drive compatibility: Below deck drives are most often driven by 12 volt motors.  In some cases, 24 volts is used, usually on larger vessels.  For this reason, since they usually are 12 volts motors, the Pelagic electronics can drive a variety of below deck or wheel attached actuators. Units that have been attached to the Pelagic include Lecombe & Schmidt, Raymarine, Alpha, NKE, B&G and Octopus. 

17. Wheel Drive:  The Pelagic electronics will easily drive existing wheel based steering motors. Pelagic electronics have been used in conjunction with Raymarine wheel systems on several vessels. 

18. How far does the control unit need to be from the engine or other metal objects?  A minimum of 10 inches (25 cm). In particular, avoid placing the control unit near the electrical wiring for your alternator, charge controller and starter, as they can generate a sizable magnetic field during the charging process. Also avoid speakers (magnets), VHF, SSB radios and the tiller actuator. Note also that stainless mounting hardware (screws, nuts and bolts) are often times magnetic, in spite of being made of stainless. 

If in doubt about a suitable mounting location, you can perform tests to measure magnetic influence.  Apps are available on your smartphone that can provide you with a digital readout of the magnetic field associated with a specific location.  We have used the free app Tesla - Metal Detector and Magnetic Field Recorder (by Exelerus) available on iPhone and Android devices.  In general finding a location with fewer than 75 uT (micro-Teslas) can be accommodated by onboard calibration of the Pelagic compass.

You can use a hand bearing compass to see what deviation is generated when the compass is placed in the desired mounting location.

19. Can the Pelagic be used on a steel hull? Due to the potential for magnetic interference, we no longer recommend or guarantee the Pelagic for installation on steel hulled vessels. While we have had successful installations on steel boats, what works on one boat doesn't ensure success on another due to the unique magnetic fields associated with each boat. Feel free to contact us for additional information on this subject.