Originally Posted by smaarch
i'd say forget the autopilot
for now its really not necessary and you'll get to understand your boat better. you should be able to set everything, balance it all out and spend some time admiring it all from the bow.
When you are comfortable with that and still want autopilot
- then go for it.
I disagree with this. Autopilot will only interfere with learning
how to sail your boat if you over-rely on it.
I think autopilot is crucial to single-handing. What if you injure yourself? Then autopilot can give you some much needed relief.
Speaking of relief, do you want to be able to use the head
I prepare food
for the day and keep a small cooler in the cockpit
, but it is easy to leave something you need below. I think it's an important safety
feature for someone just learning how to manage single-handing.
This comes from someone who learned to do this recently enough that I still have very clear memories of the hurdles I had to jump.
If you really want to sail your boat as best as possible, you won't over-rely on auto-pilot. Since sailing your boat as best as possible can take hours off a shore-hopping trip and even determine if you make it to a safe anchorage or mooring/marina, only an idiot would over-rely on autopilot, which unlike a wind vane
, ignores changes in wind
With a tiller boat one can get a tiller pilot which will give you the freedom to move much more safely around the boat, if, for instance, you have to go to the bow to deal with a sail that didn't drop properly or a roller furler
that somehow get fouled.
I forgot there was loose line on deck
near the roller furler
once and ended up having to deal with a bunch of "angry cats in a bag" on the bow of the boat. Having autopilot helped me deal with my own mistake.
IMO only an idiot thinks he or she will never make any significant mistakes
. The combination of an engine
that can be used to help maintain steerage (on my boat in moderate conditions that's only about 1.5 knots) and an auto pilot (Wheel pilot, actually) GREATLY simplified undoing snafus, and in *that* process * I *also* learned a great deal about my boat.
I think it's a safety
issue particularly for newer sailors.