Originally Posted by outbound
S/v shearwater I'm curious about " carry two autopilots". I was under impression once electronics adequately " proofed" carrying another complete drive set up and a rudder angle sensor sufficed. ?do you think this is wrong?
Smack sorry for the hijack.
Certainly step 1 would be to have a second drive unit. That is actually not uncommon for short-handed ocean racers. Step 2 would be just extra insurance carrying a second autopilot computer. Having two completely independent* autopilots that way.
Electronics (autopilot computer) shouldn't fail, but they do. Sometimes it is design or manufacturing defects, sometimes you/we do something stupid like get it wet, connect the wiring wrong and pop something, or drop something on it. None of those are likely, but just in case, other than cost there is no downside to a second autopilot.
*independent except they both need electricity and a working rudder.
There is no perfect solution, just a variety of compromises. My point is that for boats where wind vanes don't make sense. Having a backup autopilot is a reasonable thing to consider and will likely cost less than a new wind vane.