Join Date: Jun 2006
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Andre, we've pretty well decided to go with a windvane to tiller offshore (bypassing the hydraulics), and with an autopilot under power. We understand that 9/10ths of the "battle" with an autopilot is proper sail trim for point of sail in the first place, mainly because it is easy to trim a well-found boat to steer itself in most cases with sails alone anyway...even a fin-keeler (see Giu's video on the topic).
Having a windvane to a tillerhead PLUS an autopilot to a hydraulic ram pushing a transom-hung, keel-mounted rudder gives us two entirely independent means of self-steering...and no buried quadrant, frayed cables or rudder post tube to crack open.
I've steered under tiller alone and while it's a tad more Viking than on my smaller (tiller-only) 33 footer, it's not unreasonable if the hydraulics went and the vane fell off...