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Old 06-05-2010, 11:22   #31
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Hey, did you see the video I made the other day about windvanes Vs Auto Pilot?

In it I show how hard I MUST work to keep things going. And its not just a one man job, Nicolle is working too!

Click this or right click and download:
www.ourlifeatsea.com/autopilot.mpg


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PS To YourOldNemesis: What catastrophic evens cut the TOTAL power to a cruising boat which is going to have at least a solar panel or wind generator as well as the engine alternator
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Old 06-05-2010, 15:13   #32
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... What catastrophic evens cut the TOTAL power to a cruising boat which is going to have at least a solar panel or wind generator as well as the engine alternator
Battery failure perhaps?

Sinking second best ;-)

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Old 06-05-2010, 16:13   #33
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Originally Posted by MarkJ View Post
Hey, did you see the video I made the other day about windvanes Vs Auto Pilot?

In it I show how hard I MUST work to keep things going. And its not just a one man job, Nicolle is working too!

Click this or right click and download:
www.ourlifeatsea.com/autopilot.mpg


Mark
PS To YourOldNemesis: What catastrophic evens cut the TOTAL power to a cruising boat which is going to have at least a solar panel or wind generator as well as the engine alternator
Thank you for the entertainment
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Old 06-05-2010, 17:10   #34
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I agree with your friend. If both A/Ps die, which is unlikely on the same passage leg, you'll have to hand steer, but that's just aggravating, not deadly. If it wears out the both of you, just heave to for a while. It's cruising, not racing.
Talk to Abby Sunderland about autopilot failures and hand steering . . . She had to abort her non-stop round the world due to autopilot failures.
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Old 06-05-2010, 19:27   #35
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Talk to Abby Sunderland about autopilot failures and hand steering . . . She had to abort her non-stop round the world due to autopilot failures.
MarkJ has done 25000knm without failure and I bet the majority do not have problems. You could hit a whale or container too so when do you stop the what if's and just enjoy being out there and deal with problems when they happen. Most but not all failures can be avoided by regular thorough maintenance.
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Old 06-05-2010, 19:59   #36
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Talk to Abby Sunderland about autopilot failures and hand steering . . . She had to abort her non-stop round the world due to autopilot failures.
What does a single-handed nonstop record attempt have to do with a couple cruising?
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Old 06-05-2010, 21:47   #37
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A lot! The main testing ground for new equipment is the racing and long distance sailing events. They "road test" the equipment in real world harsh conditions and the equipment that holds up has probably the best recommendation to put on your cruising boat. The equipment that breaks down is usually not the best stuff to have on your cruising boat.
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Old 06-05-2010, 22:04   #38
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I wonder if Joshua Slocum had any problems with his auto pilot? I guess not. He didn't abort.

Balance the thing and lash the helm.
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Old 06-05-2010, 23:05   #39
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Great question from the OP… have not read all the comments, so this has probably already been said:

(to me) … this is a good example of ways in which equipment progress has actually robbed the new sailor of skills that would have naturally evolved without them.

For the record, most of the trans ocean deliveries I did in the early 70’s was hand steered.

Obviously a following or quartering sea was the most tiring and 2 hours of that was about maximum tolerance for my delivery crew.

But the key point I am making, is that we taught ourselves how to balance the boat in varying conditions so she would track longer and with a lighter touch on the helm.

The sailor felt the boat, steered to the conditions and did not follow a fine line GPS track but the broader spectrum of Astro-Nav. (Assumed Ignorance was indeed bliss)

My advice is to install a robust auto-pilot, but also spend hours under hand steering conditioning yourself and the boat to a basic fall-back that should never intimidate you.

The best part of that advice, is that your boat will sail easier, the autopilot will last longer and you will know instantly when you take the helm, if something is wrong.
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Old 07-05-2010, 03:18   #40
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Hey, did you see the video I made the other day about windvanes Vs Auto Pilot?
Fantastic entertainment Mark - more please.

The missus says that if an autopilot gives her more time to clean the boat then she wants a windvane.
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Old 07-05-2010, 03:53   #41
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MarkJ has done 25000knm without failure
25,000K nm? That puts Sealife somewhere near the orbit of Venus (and I don't mean that temple on the hill above Assoss either)

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Old 07-05-2010, 16:43   #42
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Re: Abby Sunderland

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A lot! The main testing ground for new equipment is the racing and long distance sailing events.
True enough - I was thinking about two crew, shorter legs, stop when you want, etc.
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Old 07-05-2010, 17:48   #43
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Dude, I dont care what people say....hand steering at night when it is windy for even a few hours sucks!!!! Now I do believe there are people out there that may enjoy this, but come on! I want a backup on my boat.
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Old 07-05-2010, 18:12   #44
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so a few people have mentioned balancing sail trim to reduce need for steering in the first place, which leads me to a follow up question:

once you're in the trades, can't you just lock off the wheel, balance the sails and relax? if the boat wanders a few degrees, who cares? isn't it possible to make course corrections a few times a day but otherwise just leave the wheel locked?

on a multi week passage with two or three waypoints, having the auto (or windvane) make multiple minor course corrections seems a little over the top. as mike points out, we're not in THAT big a hurry...

or, perhaps the old salts are grinning at a blatant display of ignorance
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Old 07-05-2010, 18:33   #45
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Dude, I dont care what people say....hand steering at night when it is windy for even a few hours sucks!!!! Now I do believe there are people out there that may enjoy this, but come on! I want a backup on my boat.
Then take crew.

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