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Old 19-12-2014, 10:59   #1
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Auto pilot

OK here's the Question can some one tell me about the aries windvane verses the Simrad tp32 tillerpilot. What would be the times that you would use one or the other. Does the weather have a factor in the use of the one over the other?

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Old 19-12-2014, 11:04   #2
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Re: Auto pilot

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Originally Posted by mattnone View Post
OK here's the Question can some one tell me about the aries windvane verses the Simrad tp32 tillerpilot. What would be the times that you would use one or the other. Does the weather have a factor in the use of the one over the other?
In general one can say the following. NOTE!!!! Depending on your boat and installation your mileage may vary.

Autopilot works best, is a good option or the best option if

- motoring in calm
- light air, especially downwind
- you have plenty of battery capacity

Windvane works best or is the preferred option if

- stronger winds
- is better upwind or on a reach than dead downwind, especially in lighter air.
- limited battery or charging capacity.
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Old 19-12-2014, 11:23   #3
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Re: Auto pilot

Thanks for the info.
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Old 19-12-2014, 11:43   #4
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Re: Auto pilot

In general I suppose you might say windvane on longer passages and steady wind and auto pilot on shorter trips or anytime you have the electrical capacity.
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Old 19-12-2014, 12:02   #5
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Re: Auto pilot

I've used my tiller autopilot in every scenario described above except a long cruise. Upwind, downwind, reach etc winds to 30 mph. My "long" cruise was 7 hours with no loss of electrical power since it was sunny (I'm on solar power charging two 12 volt batteries in parallel)

I have a Simrad TP10 now after having lost my old Navico overboard. I had to keep taking the tiller that day because I had the main up going downwind on a very broad reach wind 24-30mph. If I'd had just the jib up, the tiller autopilot would have gotten the job done but I would have been going a lot slower.

That said, I'd really like to install a windvane steering system on the stern also though.
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Old 19-12-2014, 12:29   #6
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Re: Auto pilot

Windvane: Your course shifts, following the wind.
Tillerpilot: Your course follows the compass course you set, including any routing changes.
Windvane: Doesn't care if you have no electricity. Cares if you have too much or too littlewind.
Tillerpilot: "Feed me Seymour!" and doesn't care about the rest.
Windvane: More junk in the trunk.
Tillerpilot: More clutter under foot.
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Old 19-12-2014, 13:33   #7
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Re: Auto pilot

mattnone,

There is a learning period when you start using the windvane. Some people get discouraged because it is not as instantly accurate at following a compass course as is an electronic autopilot. But, if you form the habit of checking where it's steering every 15 min., you will actually average the correct heading for where you want to go. Once you're comfortable with it, about the only time you would need an electronic autopilot is then the breeze is less than 6 knots. And, for short periods, you might want to entertain yourself with hand steering.

If you have a boat that surfs, you will not want to use the wind pilot in conditions that risk gybing the boat as the vane "corrects" for the increase in the apparent wind. You would either reach up enough to gybe and gybe (like hourly, or based on some other criterion you select), or you might require a hefty autopilot.

And of course, as mentioned above by other posters, your windvane requires no electricity (so will continue working if you have battery failure), but it is silent, too. We've thousands of miles using one Jim built for our first "Insatiable", and they're wonderful for long distance cruising.

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Old 20-12-2014, 07:06   #8
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Re: Auto pilot

Thanks for all the reply's. I have been looking at sites to try to find a price of one the windvains. These auto pilots prices all over the net,but not the windvain.
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Old 20-12-2014, 07:22   #9
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Re: Auto pilot

We have both. This combo covers the whole spectrum of our sailing needs so far. Underway we mostly use our vane, even when doing short day passages. Once our Aries is rigged it's pretty easy to use. But in light airs with modest seas having the electric option means we can keep going under autopilot.

If your passages are short, and you can get a proper-sized electric (by that I mean at least one size too big), then I would prioritize electric over vane. If your passages are long and/or you can't get a properly sized electric, then get a vane.

Ideally, get both.
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Old 20-12-2014, 10:14   #10
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Re: Auto pilot

Have sailed 10,000 plus miles with windvane self steering. That includes long passages and just out daysaling. If the boat will sail, the vane steers the boat. Have not had any issues with heading going crazy with wind gusts or surfing except DDW in one particular instance that was solved by slowing the boat's speed by a 1/2 knot or so. Yes you have to monitor the heading in close quarter situations but no more than any prudent sailor would do whether manual steering, self steering or auto pilot. The BiG beauty of self steering vanes is they work better, the stronger the winds up to survival conditions and they never asked to be fed. Boats have been long keel, fairly directional stable so may not translate to a boat that is really twitchy on the helm.

Sailing DDW is their weak point as you can get boat speed equal or close to relative wind speed so the vane has no wind direction to steer by. Had that happen once sailing under spinnaker. Dropped the spinnaker, poled out the jib, slowed the boat speed by a 1/2 knot or so and continued on for a couple more days until the wind died completely in the doldrums. Could also have headed up a few degrees and tacked downwind.

Recently have added an autopilot for powering only. Good thing it was for only under power as the wheel pilot wouldn't steer the boat under sail if there was much wind at all.
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Old 20-12-2014, 11:37   #11
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Re: Auto pilot

Not an Aires but a lot of experience with a Sailomat windvane and an Autohelm electronic autopilot on a 40' 24,000 cutter with over 8,000 miles at sea. I concur with everything the folks above say.

We have three wood vanes that we put on the Sailomat depending on the wind and course.
- Big and light
- Factory default
- Small and heavily reinforced

-the stronger the wind the better the windvane works
One night off the west coast of Baja Mexico we had a 35 knot gusting to 50+ knot blow for over 10 hours (broad reach to almost DDW). The seas built to breaking 10' or more. The Sailomat steered every inch of the way. Full moon, scudding clouds, 75 degree air - a night sail to dream about! I sat in the cockpit with my back to the cabin and spent the whole time watching those big breaking waves come from astern, the boat's stern lift, the windvane steer, and the boat accelerate down the wave. A high point of my 40+ years sailing!

-well balanced sailplan is essential

-the windvane follows the wind so a good watch is essential
Sailing NW upwind along the SW coast of Mexico it was hot and sunny and I was alone. It was very hard to stay awake and I ended up falling asleep for many minutes at a time. This went on for several hours. Eventually, I arose from my stupor and realized that rushing and roaring noise I heard was the surf breaking about 1/4 mile to starboard. The 20 knot wind had shifted a little and Mirador was now sailing a course that would put her in the surf in less than 15-minutes.
Two different boats I was friends with went onto the beach in Western Mexico and Costa Rica in similar situations with their windvanes driving the boat.

- DDW is hard because we need at least 5 knots apparent over the vane to effectively and safely steer with a big spinnaker pulling us along.

... but WAIT there is a combination that allows the low energy consumption of the windvane and the magnetic course (or GPS track) following of an electronic autopilot.

We have an AH1000 tillerpilot that connects to the windvane counterbalance (that connection replaces the big wood windvane) and drives the windvane to keep the boat on the desired magnetic course or GPS track. It works a dream and has steered us DDW in light wind with either the Code 0 or big spinnaker up for hours and hours.

Our ST6000 Raymarine electronic autopilot uses about 3.2 amps while driving the boat in demanding conditions, but only uses about 2 amp hours / hour overall. The ST1000 tillerpilot uses about 0.4 amps and only about 1/4 amphour/hour.

Our solar panels (500 watts) make so much power that under most conditions the 3 or so amps (36 - 40 watts) used by the ST6000 is of no concern.
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Old 25-12-2014, 10:13   #12
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Re: Auto pilot

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OK here's the Question can some one tell me about the aries windvane verses the Simrad tp32 tillerpilot. What would be the times that you would use one or the other. Does the weather have a factor in the use of the one over the other?
And for the best of both worlds, combine the windvane with the autopilot:






The above demonstrates how combining an AP, to provide compass input the wind paddle, and a wind vane, to supply the horse power to turn the rudder, results in a very low power cruising solution that works in wind/no wind, or motoring. These are installations I have done and sailed a few thousand miles with.

HoHoHo
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Old 25-12-2014, 10:41   #13
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Re: Auto pilot

To add to this knowledge, I have found that by entering dealer mode on my Garmin autopilot and adjusting the gain steer and countersteer and maximum rudder velocity up for light winds and down for heavy winds, my autopilot keeps an almost perfect course in all winds up go about 30 knots as long as I keep the boat balanced.
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Old 29-12-2014, 10:46   #14
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Re: Auto pilot

Ok here is the next question. I have been looking at these videos on YouTube about the autopilots, most that I have seen say that you need to up size if you want to use it when you are in heavy waves and wind. How true is that and how would you calculate for the right size for a 38ft that's what I'm looking to buy?
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Old 29-12-2014, 11:21   #15
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Re: Auto pilot

I do not know what type of rudder you have but I have but if you have one that can take a trim-tab, you can most likely hook up a tillerpilot to the trim tab and sail like that. It uses far less power and can be used right through the wind range from no wind to howling gale. I delivered a 34' mono, set up with a trim tab to tillerpilot, from Luderitz (Namibia) to Fort Lauderdale a few years ago. Worked brilliantly. I am sure a Google search would bring up some instructions on how to do it.

I also brought the yacht Finnegan back from Seychelles to Cape Town last year - she was the boat the owner was believed to have been murdered in the Indian Ocean by his crew member. She had nearly completed a circumnavigation with tillerpilot only. Although the yacht had an engine, she was powered by three solar panels and one wind generator and the engine had seldom been used. I found a spare unused ram on board. If set up properly, tillerpilots work well.
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