WTB: Whitlock Mamba Drive

  • 10 Feb 2017 15:12
    Message # 4602513

    My 30' steel junk rigger, SV Thymallus Arcticus, desires her first autopilot. She is a pleasure to sail with her Whitlock Steering system, however, my partner and I would like to be able to let go of the helm from time to time without having to rig up lines to keep her on course (we are getting lazy). 

    We are in the market for a Whitlock (now Lewmar) Mamba Drive system with 1/4 HP motor. We will also be looking for a "brain" and compass but have not settled on what we are looking for. As we have been volunteering for Marine Conservation Syndicates over the last 12 months we haven't put away a ton of money so can't foot the brand new price at the moment. If anyone has any leads on used components we would be very grateful.


  • 10 Feb 2017 19:32
    Reply # 4603104 on 4602513

    Wind vane it's the,only way to go

    Last modified: 10 Feb 2017 19:33 | Anonymous member
  • 10 Feb 2017 21:41
    Reply # 4603299 on 4603104
    Tony & Sally Summers wrote:

    Wind vane it's the,only way to go

    But you get a lots of calms in Arctic latitudes.  I suspect that they want a gear to use under power, too.  Otherwise, I agree 100%.  Home built, of course.  And if you fit a vane gear, you can use a 'cheap' (Hah!) autopilot to adjust the gear rather than the helm, which requires a lot less power.
    Last modified: 10 Feb 2017 21:42 | Annie
  • 11 Feb 2017 02:45
    Reply # 4603751 on 4602513

    I just picked up a used Simrad TP22 on ebay for about $200, had a cut wire but that's not too much of a problem to refit. I won't be fitting it to a  chartplotter/NMEA system so I just need the power lines. Not going to help with your Whitlock, though.

    When you couple an autopilot to a self steering rig, are you driving the tiller with a simple windvane, or the servo pendulum or trimtab? Can it be done with either? I imagine the pendulum would would work better with light winds. If you're motoring, would the apparent wind on the vane be enough to move the rudder and save some amp-hours?

  • 11 Feb 2017 08:18
    Reply # 4604033 on 4602513

    We have a Raymarine tiller pilot attached to our Haslar  vane gear . the tiller pilot just feeds information to the servo pendulum in the same way as the vane. The servo pendulum is still steering the boat.  This set up allows the vane gear to steer  in conditions of no wind, flukey winds or motoring... ... All for tiny power consumption and small (well relatively small) cash outlay. Add to this set up  a wire free remote control to the tiller pilot you can sit on the foredeck and dodge pot buoys, fishing boats etc Tony and Sally 

  • 11 Feb 2017 14:25
    Reply # 4604213 on 4602513

    Thanks all for the responses. We do plan to fit a cane gear but haven't quite figured out what we want to go with. We want to go with an aux rudder style vane eventually. Since we have a pilot house we do not steer from a cockpit (we don't have a cockpit) and our rudder post is buried inside of the aft Cabin. We have some ideas of what we would like to build but being solely liveaboards has the drawback of not being able to do big projects anytime we'd like. 

    As for our reasoning for the autopilot, Annie is correct. We sail more than many up here but with our volunteer work we end up motoring a lot to follow a transect in search of whales.  We can go with other autopilots however the mamba is said to be the best drive unit for our Whitlock steering system.

       " ...there is nothing - absolutely nothing - half so much worth doing as simply messing about in junk-rigged boats" 
                                                               - the Chinese Water Rat

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