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Old 08-01-2010, 10:06   #1
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Autohelm Education

My search-fu must be weak. I couldn't really find anything in the archives about this.

My boat came with an Autohelm 800. I know that this is probably the most basic autopilot you can buy. I downloaded the manual from the web, but it's old, and not very explicit.

How does the dang thing work? It only has a few buttons (+1, -1, +10, -10 and a few others) Does it require a compass or some other kind of navigation input? I've figured out how to physically connect it to the tiller, so that's not a problem. I've traced the power and ground wires from the connector plug to the electrical system so it should get power when I plug it in.

I'm still learning to sail, so I'm not looking to hand over control to a black box so I can sip mai-tai's, I just want to know how it works in case I need it for some wierd reason.
Is a man not entitled to the sweat of his own brow?
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Old 08-01-2010, 10:52   #2
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check the manual here:
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and yes there is a compass built into the unit

+10 is steer the boat on heading that is 10 degrees greater (clockwise)
likewise -10 counterclockwise and 1 is 1 degree
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Old 08-01-2010, 11:01   #3
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you might just want to rig up a line with a clove hitch in the middle attached at either side of the cockpit directly outboard of the clovehitch to hold the tiller steady if you need to attend to something forward on deck...more for singlehanding until you feel you have gained experience sailing.

Small tiller piliots are of minimal use for day sailing IMO unless you are doing a lot of shorthanded sailing...and even then a line on the tiller is often better.

Auto pilots gain importance on longer passages
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