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Old 14-02-2011, 00:14   #1
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Running Autopilot

Could anybody advise on whether there are wind speed limitations on putting the yacht on autopilot? Thanks in advance!
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Old 14-02-2011, 01:29   #2
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As long as there is enough wind to keep the boat sailing you should be OK - more wind is generally good. Some pilots will struggle going downwind with a following sea.
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Old 14-02-2011, 03:01   #3
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Dear Ed, thanks a lot
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Old 14-02-2011, 05:12   #4
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there's a few limitations...

each autopilot has adjustments that can be made to accomodate different weather conditions.

Wind isn't usually the problem...it's your speed and sea conditions. the more wild they are...the less likely that your autopilot will hold course.

some autopilots just steer a compass course...some have wind input that allows for point of sail if the wind changes...that may allow for higher winds depending on point of sail.
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Old 14-02-2011, 08:28   #5
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It is also a matter of sail balance - the better your boat is balanced, the less effort your autopilot needs to use in order to hold course and the better it will work. Autopilots can and have been used to cross oceans, never being turned off.
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Old 14-02-2011, 08:40   #6
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Sail balance is very important with Autopilots, particularly Wheel Pilots, an unblanced sailplan can lead to excessive weather helm which can cause an autopilot to work beyond its design specification, this is one reason why Autopilots are over-rated for boat size when specified. I know of a Hunter 30 fitted with a Wheel Pilot system that wrecked a new wheel drive within 250 miles of first use, it was determined that Weather Helm was a significant factor in the failure.


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It is also a matter of sail balance - the better your boat is balanced, the less effort your autopilot needs to use in order to hold course and the better it will work. Autopilots can and have been used to cross oceans, never being turned off.
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Old 15-02-2011, 02:20   #7
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Dear friends, thank you so much for all of your responses. I forwarded them to ARMENIA. Hopefully your advice and shared experience will be helpful to them on their way to Easter island and farther.
Be safe,
Ruzanna
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