Originally Posted by MarkJ
And Auto Pilot is great! Very necessary. I would NEVER EVER have wind vane steering on any boat whatsoever and even more so against wind vanes for a solo sailors boat. Every wind change makes to boat go off course... often disastrously. Its life and limb stuff. You wreck your boat for the sake of some battery power.
Yes indeed, it can be disastrous to go to sleep relying on a windvane
to thread the needle through some coastal minefield. And that would be using the wrong tool for the job. But to say that you'd never have a wind vane
onboard because they can be dangerous when misused is a bit like saying you'd never fully raise your main because that can get you in trouble when it's blowing 50 kts. The fact that an autopilot
doesn't adjust course to wind changes can present it's own set of difficulties (at least a wind vane is never going to cause a chinese gybe). On long, offshore
passages, there aint nothing like a windvane
. And there is a certain satisfaction in relying on only the wind to whatever degree possible; hence we are sailors and not cigarette boat drivers.