Thanks so much for your replies, It has allowed me to step back and re-think some of my own priorities re Autopilot.
Mark, I was mainly thinking of not being tied to one wheel or the other, but also thought that when reefing, or dropping the main, having the ability to adjust my heading to keep it into the wind
might be useful if the wind
was not consistently from one direction, we need to be on the pilot house roof to reef. It is probably unlikely that I would actually need that.
But after reading all your replies, and looking at comparative costs of systems, we had a discussion here of why we need an Autopilot.
Estarzinger asked what kind of sailing. For the foreseeable future we are doing coastal cruising and Island hopping around the Pacific Northwest
. Blaine harbor is right on the Canadian border between the San Juan Islands
to the south and the Canadian Gulf Islands to the north. there are dozens of nice destinations, and we can venture further afield for over an hundred and fifty miles through the inside passage
, or even to Alaska
and it is still coastal cruising. Mostly we would want the Autopilot for short stretches while we hoist or douse sails
, go below to take a break, etc, so it probably would not be a great burden to be tied to the main wheel in the cockpit
to adjust, or change settings on the Autopilot. If we ever did go offshore
, we would probably be looking at a wind vane
for long stretches.
That being said we are thinking we probably could be quite happy with a wheel pilot. We are looking at one of these CPT Autopilot Inc.
Does anyone have any experience or thoughts about this? It looks like the whole system would cost about half or less of most of the systems that would connect to the rudder post or quadrant.