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Old 25-11-2013, 06:45   #16
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Re: Should I get an Autopilot?

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Originally Posted by SailFastTri View Post
I think you greatly overestimate an AP's ability to avoid an accidental Gybe. Downwind, the combination of wind shifts and sea state can easily overpower any AP in heavy seas. OTOH --

I disagree strongly with tomfl. Perhaps he's never had a good AP that has a gyro built into the course computer.
Not sure I agree with your experience downwind. I've run off the wind for a few days in 12-15' seas with winds 25-35 kts and a week or more under lighter conditions under AP and never jibed. True it was in the trade winds so the wind direction was fairly constant and I would not set a course to close to the edge.

Have even sailed wing and wing in stable, relatively benign conditions under AP without a jibe.




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Originally Posted by SailFastTri View Post
I think you greatly overestimate an AP's ability to avoid an accidental Gybe. Downwind, the combination of wind shifts and sea state can easily overpower any AP in heavy seas. OTOH --



I disagree strongly with tomfl. Perhaps he's never had a good AP that has a gyro built into the course computer.
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Old 25-11-2013, 06:58   #17
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Re: Should I get an Autopilot?

If you are doing ocean crossing, I can definetly see the desire to have one. If you are sailing short handed, I can see the desire to have one.

If you are doing 2-4 hr sails with plenty of hands to take turns at the wheel...not so much.

We coastal cruise rarely exceeding 6hrs (mostly less) at a time. We have one but we played with it a bit when we first got the boat but then just never bothered with it. If I want to just sit there and not pay attention, I can anchor and get the same effect.
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Old 25-11-2013, 07:42   #18
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Re: Should I get an Autopilot?

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If you are doing ocean crossing, I can definetly see the desire to have one. If you are sailing short handed, I can see the desire to have one.

If you are doing 2-4 hr sails with plenty of hands to take turns at the wheel...not so much.

We coastal cruise rarely exceeding 6hrs (mostly less) at a time. We have one but we played with it a bit when we first got the boat but then just never bothered with it. If I want to just sit there and not pay attention, I can anchor and get the same effect.
I agree with this. Part of sailing is steering, and your friends would probably all benefit from the experience.

If you were world cruising or single-handing, I'd say get it. But for sailing around on the bay, taking turns sailing the boat is part of the experience that makes you all feel like you're actually sailing the boat. Some people may not want to at first, but steering a sailboat isn't all that hard, and when you steer the boat you are actually learning about sailing.
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Old 25-11-2013, 12:43   #19
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Re: Should I get an Autopilot?

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I was wondering if an auto pilot is really necessary. I plan to go on a week long trip with some friends who have never sailed before. We plan to be in the Chesapeake bay for the duration. I have a Pearson 31-2, I am thinking it would make everything a whole lot easier. I am leaning towards a wheel pilot that would be compatible with my Ray marine C80 plotter.

Please Let me know your thoughts.
Well, unless you intend to teach them how to helm, that's a long time for you to be on the wheel/tiller. I would not wish to be below trying to sleep with a complete novice on the wheel who didn't recognize a November squall line bearing down astern.

But that's just me, and that's why I prefer, at maximum, a sailor/cargo ration of at least two to one...even with an autopilot, and even in the confines of coastal/inland waters. No AP, no break, unless you discover a "natural", and that's hardly likely.
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Old 25-11-2013, 12:58   #20
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Re: Should I get an Autopilot?

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Well, unless you intend to teach them how to helm, that's a long time for you to be on the wheel/tiller. I would not wish to be below trying to sleep with a complete novice on the wheel who didn't recognize a November squall line bearing down astern.

But that's just me, and that's why I prefer, at maximum, a sailor/cargo ration of at least two to one...even with an autopilot, and even in the confines of coastal/inland waters. No AP, no break, unless you discover a "natural", and that's hardly likely.
I suspect you are thinking of a different senario than the OP. Would you seriously, go below and take a nap when you are on a nice 3-4 hr day sail and leave your guests to fend for themselves?

Then again, if you leave a cockpit full of land lubbers and trust the autopilot to take care of things, you have bigger issues than autopilot or no autopilot.
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Old 25-11-2013, 13:16   #21
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Re: Should I get an Autopilot?

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Originally Posted by S/V Alchemy View Post
Well, unless you intend to teach them how to helm, that's a long time for you to be on the wheel/tiller. I would not wish to be below trying to sleep with a complete novice on the wheel who didn't recognize a November squall line bearing down astern.

But that's just me, and that's why I prefer, at maximum, a sailor/cargo ration of at least two to one...even with an autopilot, and even in the confines of coastal/inland waters. No AP, no break, unless you discover a "natural", and that's hardly likely.
Think you might have misunderstood his plan. As I read it, it's a week long trip but never leaving the Chesapeake Bay. So my guess is day sailing from one place to the next in the Chesapeake and then spending the night there to day sail to the next stop the next day.

Sure an AP would be handy but for short, day sails for a week it's seems like a big investment in time and money for the trip. I've sailed with a lot of green crew and haven't seen one yet that couldn't at least keep the bow to the wind for a couple of minutes while I drop sail or whatever.
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Old 25-11-2013, 13:28   #22
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Re: Should I get an Autopilot?

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Yes, and not only that, while steering they will not get seasick. When ever we have guests that may be prone to seasickness, we have them steer. Have you ever known of a person to get car sick while driving?

Bill
If this works, your a Genius, wife always has to take Dramamine the first couple of days when we go out diving on our little boat. This Summer I'll try having her pilot the boat
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Old 25-11-2013, 13:36   #23
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Re: Should I get an Autopilot?

There is no boat accessory more useful that an autopilot!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

GET ONE


PS - if your autopilot can not prevent an accidental gybe it is your fault for making a poor course choice, not the autopilots fault for trying to do what you told it to do.
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Old 25-11-2013, 16:57   #24
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If this works, your a Genius, wife always has to take Dramamine the first couple of days when we go out diving on our little boat. This Summer I'll try having her pilot the boat
It does not work that well offshore , and I find I'd they are very sick , putting them on the wheel does little, and subjects them to exposure. Often sleeping is he only thing that works.

Dave
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Old 25-11-2013, 17:37   #25
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How many hours each day will you be out and do your friends want to steer ? I have had more trouble with rookies on autopilots than on the tiller more times than once. Many new to boating see the gadget as smarter than a person and trust it too much.

Circumnavigate kent island and spend a few more nights at anchor remembering the time sailing instead of the miles covered because you had an autopilot to extend your range, in a way removing you from the experience you went on the water for in the first place.
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Old 25-11-2013, 17:37   #26
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Re: Should I get an Autopilot?

A good auto pilot will out steer most helmpersons, it only has one thing on its mind and that is steering a straight course. Humans well they need food, drink, toilet breaks, ciggies and then need to look for the lighter that's lost itself in the cubbie.
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Old 25-11-2013, 17:39   #27
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Re: Should I get an Autopilot?

Would not sail without one. Keeps a course better than any human, works 24/7 no food no complaints. Our Ap is our best member of crew. Followed a route for 18 days once...
We regard our Ap as a safety item. In 15 years of voyaging, we have never had an error, an accidental gybe. It all depends how good it is. I have heard of people that hate theirs. Cannot figure why though. Do it!
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Old 25-11-2013, 17:47   #28
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Re: Should I get an Autopilot?

We have been cruising fulltime for over a year now. Texas-Keys-Bahamas-Georgia. Just my wife and I. No AP or windlass. No problem. An AP would have been nice on the two 24+ hour passages, but other than that....

You also need to consider that an AP does require power to run it. You didn't mention your battery bank size, and what other draw you will have, like refrigeration.

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Old 25-11-2013, 17:54   #29
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From my power boating background, only time I really wanted an AP was in a following sea on an overcast night, really hard to hold a heading using only the Whiskey compass, course line looked like a drunk
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Old 26-11-2013, 09:42   #30
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Re: Should I get an Autopilot?

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Think you might have misunderstood his plan. As I read it, it's a week long trip but never leaving the Chesapeake Bay. So my guess is day sailing from one place to the next in the Chesapeake and then spending the night there to day sail to the next stop the next day.

Sure an AP would be handy but for short, day sails for a week it's seems like a big investment in time and money for the trip. I've sailed with a lot of green crew and haven't seen one yet that couldn't at least keep the bow to the wind for a couple of minutes while I drop sail or whatever.
If he is the only person capable of sailing the boat without rounding up or smacking things under motor, I haven't misunderstood that Skipper is the weak point in the plan. If he is injured, I hope one of his non-sailors can at least work Ch. 16.

Granted, an autopilot can't solve his falling over, but it can steer while he's giving instruction to newbies (assuming they want to learn and are capable of it) on other boat matters.

In my experience, it's the near-shore, "simple and casual" sailing trips that end up badly due to something happening to the only guy who can solve a problem. I recall hearing on the VHF about 10 years ago of a boat just off Toronto where the kids, two boys 8 and 10, were on a reach when Daddy had some sort of cardiac problem. They didn't know how to sail, but they had been taught how to call in a Mayday on Ch. 16. The kids were pretty calm, and I later heard the guy was saved, the boat was saved and the kids were saved....because someone had trained the kids PRIOR to leaving the dock.

But everyone has to evaluate this for themselves. The OP asked "should I?" so presumably he's on the fence about the cost and bother versus the convenience and the safety margin.
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