Originally Posted by jackdale
OK - I do not have access to a vane, but I will not routinely use an autopilot if I am single handing. I will use one to reef if I do not have room to to heave-to.
I also like a little weather helm. A "balanced" helm just feels dead to me.
I made a 60 mile passage yesterday singlehanded. The autopilot steered for all but 20 mins. It would have done that too if I had not decided I could do a better job in the acceleration zone of the North of Bequia.
Had I been hand steering all the way I would have been significantly more fatigued and more likely to make mistakes.
I would be concerned if not using a means of self steering was being put forward as good practice in sailing schools esp when sailing shorthanded.