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Old 06-19-2007, 04:25 PM   #1
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A really good article by Sven Donaldson on autopilots:

Self-steering is a cornerstone of blue-water travel, and it's safe to say that quite a few long-term sailors would not be voyaging at all if manual helming were the only option. Mechanical wind-vane self-steering systems are traditionally favored for ocean sailing because they operate independently of the vessel's electrical system and have a reputation for reliability......

FULL ARTICLE

What autopilot does everyone here use and how have you found it to be?

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Old 06-20-2007, 07:20 AM   #2
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Good overview. I fully agree with his thoughts for a hybrid system; there must be someone somewhere to design a bullet-proof system like that?

We have an Raymarine 6000 autopilot, with an electric actuater for the small hops. For passagemaking we used the Windpilot Pacific. Both served us OK. Halfway we modified the windpilot so we could mount a little tiller pilot (raymarine st1000) instead of the windvane. That just worked great!!! Almost no amps and very fast response, both in light weather and when is was really blowing.

For a picture: http://www.pinical.nl/images/dag-tot-dag-2...automaat680.JPG

The most comforting of the Windpilot is the knowledge that there is hardly anything that can break down on you. Kiss-pinciple. We just spoke a little to much people handsteering for 2000 miles or so due to broken autopilots. And though I love sailing, i hate the idea to handsteer day and night. And I also hate the unnessecary dependency on electronics. We had it all to make things easy, but we could do without easily.

So, next time we set sail, I hope there is that little transom-mounted hybrid device, consuming only 0.5 amps, being remote controlled and with incredible speeddepending powering.

Jan
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Old 06-20-2007, 07:36 AM   #3
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Jan!

Neat arrangement. Thanks for sharing this with us. I am sure many of us will be adapting your idea to their wind vanes.

Aye

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Old 06-20-2007, 03:02 PM   #4
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Thanks for the hint; A very inforative article!

So far we got along well with the light-duty self contained tiller pilot - even unter constand use. Was it luck?

We started out with a very old (used) AUTOHELM ?? (the one with the compass card and knob for the course adjustment on the top) and it never failed on 10.000 miles of ocean and offshore sailing and after that on many more years of occational use in coastal sailing. It finally passed away during the winter in the wardrobe at home.

But obeying Murpys Law (everything that can break breaks), we installed an AUTOHELM 4000 tillerpilot with an additional windvane, but hardly ever used it, because it draws alot more energy than the above. (A Rutland 910 wind generator and a 60w solar panel produced the necessary energy under all conditions.)

Our Faith left after a new RAYMARINE ST2000plus gave up after 3 weeks of normal use right in the middle of the Biscay - so we now seriously think about installing a WINDPILOT pacific, but we are not yet ready to take the wind generator off the stern...

Uwe

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