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Old 10-12-2007, 11:29   #16
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Hyd leaks can be problematic though.
If done properly, leaks should never occur. The only place you can or should ever witness a leak is the ram seals, or the helm seals. And both will last many many years before that happens. Steering simply never see's the use, nor the loads that this equipment is handle.

BlueRap, good question. The issue is not about controlling the boat, it is about prediction. The pilot can not "see" what it is about to sail into.So it never really know's what it needs to steer to prevent some near future event on or off the wave. A human interface can see and can predict what steering correction needs to be taken in order make the boat more comfortable, and in severe conditions, in order to stop the boat loosing compleate control. Rate gyro's have enabled AP's to come along way, but there is still a limit that I can't really see being adressed, unless one day we can get a computer to interface with a camera and make predictive steering changes.
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Old 14-12-2007, 21:02   #17
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Originally Posted by Alan Wheeler View Post
BlueRap, good question. The issue is not about controlling the boat, it is about prediction. The pilot can not "see" what it is about to sail into.
In general, I understand this concept pretty well. I used to run a 16' speedboat at 65 Mph all the time and became accustomed to managing course, speed and acceleration to time waves in oder to minimize smacking really hard.

I think this may be an issue with a light cruising cat like the Atlantic 57 but it wasn't an issue in a big heavy 58' full keeled mono hull like my Tayana 58. She would plow through just about anything and while I could imagine steering by hand racing in a hurricane I don't think we would be sailing at that point. We'd would have been hove to.

In the cat, given less directional stability I can imagine wanting to hand steer in some situations but I think/hope we'd just put out a para anchor before the AP wasn't able to steer a safe course.

Maybe a big light multi and a big heavy mono are going to behave very differently in regards to a AP?

Btw, I decided to wire and install a redundant AP on the second quadrant but will keep the AP tiller disconnected to eliminate wear and tear. I will probably completely disconnect the power to the ram and brain so that it "might" survive a lightning strike.
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Old 14-12-2007, 22:07   #18
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The time when you have a problem is surfing down a wave and coming to the bottom. The skipper can see what is coming and what the boat is doing and start to change course to suit the situationif that makes sense). In otherwords, you are turning the wheel before you need to because you know what is about to happen, judged by what you see and what you have experianced on the wave just prior. The Autopilot can not pre steer, nor does it learn what happend just before. It can only react to the current heading and maintain that heading.
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