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Old 13-02-2009, 00:15   #16
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If they didn't have time to disengage the pilots, they were too close.
I agree. My autopilot never fails Touch wood etc But when I am that close I may have the auto pilot on but my finger is close to the button. In some manouvers its good to have the autopilot on as it keeps a good course where I may flinch... but I actually have my pinkie hovering over the standby button.




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Old 13-02-2009, 02:48   #17
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I have had an Autohelm 3000 do full right rudder unexpectedly. Culpit was closing a steel hatch near the flux valve. - my bad installation.
I have to agree with those who say never have autopilot on when in close quarters, after all it is just an electronic / magnetic device that can fail anytime, antwhere.
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Old 13-02-2009, 15:49   #18
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I have had mine do some very bizarre turns. The problem was a fluxgate that wore out. I had no idea before then that a fluxgate could wear out....but changing out the fluxgate for a new one cured the problem. It is a ComNav 1001 unit.
I'm starting to get some hiccups from my ST4000. (A very exciting 90 deg turn while having breakfast up top on a dead calm day. Somewhat disconcerting.) How was the fluxgate diagnosed as the problem?
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Old 13-02-2009, 16:54   #19
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Does anyone have a link to a news story on this incident? I am tempted to call BS. They must have been pretty close to the BC ferry, and I would never go far from the helm, autopilot or not, if I were near one of those huge ferries. If true I would call operator/skipper error.

Having said that, the old Tillermaster I had (that finally died a couple years ago) always kept the boat straight. The ST4000 we replaced it with has been even better.
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Old 13-02-2009, 19:41   #20
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Two rules we go by (among many) on the vessel that is my Avatar......NO AUTOPILOT Near Bridges and NEVER EVER EVER EVER use a buoy as a waypoint.
Thanks for that "NEVER EVER EVER EVER use a buoy as a waypoint.". I'm a new sailor and perhaps I'd of figured that out but thanks to you mentioning it, I don't have to.
Oh ya, I'll also be keeping a close eye on my auto pilot.

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Old 13-02-2009, 20:01   #21
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I think I'll rename my autopilot "Crazy Ivan".
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Old 13-02-2009, 20:08   #22
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I have asked the Transportation safety board, the media , the Mounties and the Coast Guard to warn the public of the danger. My suggestions have been met with indifference or sarcasm.
I'm not seeing any real information in all this. If there is anything to this story I can't see how you have it first hand. You don't even claim to know anything first hand or even someone that knows someone. Brent, why do you make these conspiracy stories up?

The bottom line is the captain is always responsible. "Honest officer it was the auto pilot that was responsible."
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Old 13-02-2009, 20:17   #23
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I'm starting to get some hiccups from my ST4000. (A very exciting 90 deg turn while having breakfast up top on a dead calm day. Somewhat disconcerting.) How was the fluxgate diagnosed as the problem?
I called Comnav and they asked me a few questions. I wish I could remember more details but it amounted to changing the boats heading and seeing the fluxgate heading remain the same, and then jump.
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Old 13-02-2009, 20:25   #24
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On our CSY 33 the Simrad hydraulic auto pilot had a poorly installed fluxgate compass. It could do great so long as the weather was calm. But if it got rough could not do anything right. The PO before the PO that we bought the boat from chased up and down Maine to the Bahamas. Could not find the problem. I found it with the aid of a great boat guy. The fluxgate was installed in the wrong location. Nothing should have been there to interfere with the compass, but there was. Once we figured that out and moved it. We went out in 30 knot gusts and the auto pilot was true as anything. You can screw up the fluxgate in the wrong location.

The part that pissed me off was we owned the boat for the whole time we did and never figured it out. I got it fixed the day before we closed on the contract to sell the boat. The Simrad computer beats the heck out of the ST7000 we have now.
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Old 14-02-2009, 12:17   #25
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All interesting points,...however I would be interested in finding out more about this incident involving a BC Ferry, were can I find any information on this incident? I live on Vancouver Island and take the ferry twice a week, I have not heard of any such incident happening, and beleive me, there would be major news coverage, as we on the island have many bones to pick with the great BC Ferry Corporation.
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Old 14-02-2009, 12:54   #26
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My ST4000 did a few things like that when I first got the boat.
It turned out to be an intermittent +12v. connection.

Steve B.
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Old 14-02-2009, 14:55   #27
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Another T34C,

I could run "Thors Twins" with my eyes closed

David M

When I was doing marine electrics full time I represented ComNav here in Bermuda. Have not looked lately, but think I am still listed as their rep here. Lots of 1001 and 1101 models. Their adjustability for yaw and course correction I thought was very good.
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Old 14-02-2009, 18:18   #28
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It's not the autopilot that should be blamed here...

...it's the fluxgate compass.

The rule here is that the autopilot should be disengaged anytime you're within a hundred meters of a solid object. Any solid object.
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Old 14-02-2009, 20:39   #29
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The rule here is that the autopilot should be disengaged anytime you're within a hundred meters of a solid object. Any solid object.
Dunno if I agree entirely. Certainly have the finger hovering.
Coming through breaking water into river bars (as previously discussed over the last few weeks) where Nav needs to be quite precise to the meter - or within say 5 meters- I use the auto pilot unless a surfable wave actually comes up behind. This is with breakwater walls a few meters off the side. I find it works better as it take my subconscious desire to turn early away from my hands.

Another situation where I have used auto pilot was where another yacht was coming along side at sea to transfer a catch of fish and I wanted to tell the other skipper that he was in controll of the final manouver - we were both going about 6 knots - so I put the auto pilot on and held my hands up to he so he could see. He then moved in to our side and we made the transfer.

So now I will do that if someone is manouvering and I have right of way etc.

I think there are creative ways to use the new technology that 'break' old rules. The new ideas however must be properly considered.

In conclusion... I'll use my auto pilot in close quarters, but my hand will be very very close to dat 'lil red button
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Old 17-02-2009, 14:15   #30
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This was BC ferries several years apart, one couple from Port Angeles Washington were killed this way in Swartz Bay 17 miles north of Victoria and the other was a father who lost his wife and kids just south of Horseshoe bay, 8 miles west of Vancouver..
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