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Old 21-11-2010, 21:48   #16
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Originally Posted by imagine2frolic View Post
RTB,

How many miles were handsteered from Jax to Cartegena? A/Ps give you the chance to do this on watch!.........i2f
Hey, how's it going? Geez, you spoiled me. A nice level bed to sleep on (a cat), and cruise control while on watch. Life will never be the same!
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Old 21-11-2010, 21:55   #17
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Old 21-11-2010, 21:56   #18
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As a singlehandler I had both a windvane and AP. They were my crew. I seldom stood at the helm while making a passage. Doing deck work, naviagateing, sail work, cooking, general housekeeping, and sleep periods, something needed to keep the boat going in the right direction while I dealt with all the rest of cruising. The windvanes name was Matt Helm, and the AP was Sue.
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Old 21-11-2010, 22:42   #19
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Matt Helm ! I remember him. He was never as famous as James Bond but had way more fun.

Oh yeah, mine's a Furuno Navpilot 500 and it's on about 20 hours a day.
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Old 21-11-2010, 23:05   #20
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Important but don't stress it

We just sailed an FP Orana 44 for 800nm in 2 legs
From Portugal to Las Palmas
2 guys
The Autopilot was a must
Although we had to switch it off when the weather was too rough, as it was
Either to slow to respond or overcompensated - we tried al sensitivity settings
But decided we were better on the helm in a storm
Luckily the storm only lasted the one night :-)
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Old 21-11-2010, 23:33   #21
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Arctic Lady was steered by hand for 25 years, I was on board for two of those...what a pain.
We always stand an active watch and it did keep you awake.
She has an Autopilot now and is way better.
As many have said, it frees you up for trimming, bathroom, snack breaks......and, they steer better than most helmsmen.
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Old 21-11-2010, 23:47   #22
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Being tied to the helm for hours and hours increases fatigue....not a safe thing.
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Old 22-11-2010, 00:14   #23
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we had autohelm on a cruise in gulf-- used bungee as much as we used auto-- auto kept d-failing and didnt like the broken rudder ---
i have auto pilot on my quadrant-- i am hoping it works a few days before it fails....
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Old 22-11-2010, 00:40   #24
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On a long cold tack it sure is nice to have an autopilot. I agree with David; a long day at the helm can be quite exhausting. If you then have to anchor or dock it takes some of the fun out of the adventure making it stressful.
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Old 22-11-2010, 02:37   #25
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Originally Posted by RTB;5.

[B
jim cate [/B]- the wind vane sure has some pluses. I'm off to ponder.
Ralph,

One more point and then I'll shut up: I (and I bet you too) can build a windvane that will indeed work, but I sure as hell can't build an autopilot.

Cheers,

Jim
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Old 22-11-2010, 03:30   #26
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Let's put it this way Ralph, this will be the best bang for the boat bucks you will ever spend.
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Old 22-11-2010, 03:35   #27
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For a Bahamas trip you can certain get by without an autopilot. (We did.) You'll have only a few biggish crossings, maybe 10 to 18 hours per. Once you're hopping among the small cays, your sailing will only be a few hours at a time, if that. Hand steering is a pain, but it's not terrible. Hey -- at least you're sailing!
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Old 22-11-2010, 03:52   #28
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Don't underestimate the merit of the steering brake. If you balance the rig carefully you can sail for many days with the wheel braked off. My record is 7 days. The boat only lost the plot about 3 or 4 times per day.
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Old 22-11-2010, 05:01   #29
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Essential for passages, especially at night.

Once in the islands, however, you won't be doing much of either
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Old 22-11-2010, 05:05   #30
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