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Old 20-08-2016, 04:53   #16
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Re: Sailing a Catamaran Solo

Is autopilot reliable on cats? I seem to read a lot about autopilots breaking on mono-hulls and the need for spares and a back up, but not seen many similar reports about it on cats.
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Old 20-08-2016, 10:34   #17
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Re: Sailing a Catamaran Solo

Quote:
Originally Posted by mikedefieslife View Post
Is autopilot reliable on cats? I seem to read a lot about autopilots breaking on mono-hulls and the need for spares and a back up, but not seen many similar reports about it on cats.
The answer is it depends.

Back in the day I use to sail my Dad's ketch rigged Privateer and was able to balance it to sail a course with out touching the tiller in lots of conditions. I had my Seawind for six months before I ever turned on the auto pilot because I was able to balance it to sail a course with adjustments to the traveler.

Of course under some conditions like a big sloppy following sea running before a shifting wind, or any nasty shifting wind, no amount of balancing and using an auto pilot will work.

It is easy to tell how hard an auto pilot is working by watching the wheel/tiller and observing how much the auto pilot is moving. At some point it will become clear the auto pilot is working too hard; at that point it is time to start steering yourself.

Some boats simply have too much weather/lee helm to effectively use an autopilot while other boats are so well balanced that you don't really need an autopilot under many conditions.
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