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Old 07-05-2010, 18:36   #46
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Originally Posted by barnakiel View Post
Then take crew.

b.
Most crew have the same comment on hand steering - it sucks
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Old 07-05-2010, 19:01   #47
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(...)
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?
(..)
A 'normal' (main+jib) boat sailing downwind is not directionally stable.

But you can rig two poled out jibs facing off (tacks in, clews slightly fore = 'reversed trim') and then also rig lines from their clews to the tiller. Many boats will go like this for ever. Probably the jibs have to be purpose made or selected s/h to maximize the available SA for such a rig, otherwise you will be self-steered but very slow.

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Old 07-05-2010, 19:04   #48
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Most crew have the same comment on hand steering - it sucks
Do not take most crew, take good crew.

barnie
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Old 07-05-2010, 20:20   #49
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. . . True enough - I was thinking about two crew, shorter legs, stop when you want, etc.
Especially with single or two hands cruising, an autopilot becomes an important safety item. The seas and oceans are becoming more and more crowded and the main "cruising routes" are thick with other couples in their boats. Having a good reliable autopilot - and there are several really good ones - relieves a whole lot of pressure and frees you up to keep watch for the other folks out there. Especially at dawn dusk and night there are lots of little panga fishing boats without lights or maybe only a flashlight out there. It is really stressful arriving at an island in the dark and trying to spot these fishermen. An autopilot is the only way to allow you to be scanning and searching for them.
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Old 07-05-2010, 21:05   #50
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Originally Posted by kb79 View Post
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?
I'm sure we've all been in situations where we thought the autopilot was on, and the boat sailed itself for a long time without any need for correction.

The problem with what you propose, however, especially in a following sea, is that the boat could gradually reach up and then broach.

No thanks. I've done that and it's a great way to go overboard. Better to engage an autopilot.
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Old 09-05-2010, 21:09   #51
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I'm backtracking a little here to the question about autopilot power consumption.
It's obvious that trimming the boat for minimum helm force is important, but there's another issue: tuning your autopilot. I use a Simrad TP22 on my 28' 3.3 ton boat, and I find that adjusting the gain and "seastate" (ie deadband) has a huge impact on its performance. Not only on how well autohelm can control the boat, but also on the cycling of the motor (ie power consumption).

For running, you usually need fast response to cope with the effect of following or quartering seas (high gain/small deadband) and so it uses a fair bit of power. However for reaching, where the boat is almost able to steer itself, low gain/larger deadband settings mean the autopilot doesn't have to work as much. This also makes life mechanically much easier for the autopilot, hopefully extending its life.

My TP22 has a self-tune setting for the deadband, but I get far better results setting it manually. Of course if you're motoring it's all a bit simpler.

Cheers, lockie
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Old 16-05-2010, 09:29   #52
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Let's say we experience a lightning strike or some other unlikely but quite possible occurrence that really DOES put us in a position where we have to spend some number of days or weeks steering by hand... does anyone have any first hand experience on how big an ordeal this is?

Any war stories people might have about extended hand steering and the toll it took would be great to hear.[/QUOTE]

Had to hand steer my Hunter 37 from just before Bermuda to the Azores when my new Simrad Wheelpilot quit on me..
I was solo.. so ended up helming from dawn to dusk then heaving to and going below to die till the following dawn.. slowed down my crossing a tad and my shoulders killed.. but after a few days of the unaccustomed extra exercise the body settled in and all went fine.. could not get replacement belts in Horta so then hand steered on to the UK.
YourOld Nemisis has the best idea with the tiller pilot/windvane option as the ideal combo..
But if your on a budget.. don't let the idea of have to do a bit of helming put you off... its part of this boating life.
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Old 16-05-2010, 11:37   #53
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We steered by hand for years...in fact Arctic Lady was well past 25 years old before being fitted with an auto pilot.
No wind vane either.
But then the minimum crew was never less than 4 and more often 6, and watch was performed at the helm.
Auto pilot is of course an excellent crew...and steers better than I ever will...but hand steering is no big deal.
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