SailNet Community - View Single Post - Member reviews: Raymarine's X series Autopilots
View Single Post
Old 03-28-2008
Valiente's Avatar
Valiente Valiente is offline
Senior Member
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Toronto
Posts: 5,491
Thanks: 0
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Rep Power: 10
Valiente has a spectacular aura about Valiente has a spectacular aura about
I'm not condemning the interfacing of GPS with autopilot, but I can see it leading to sloppy habits and an overreliance on one technology that I've seen with my own eyes being "skittish". Consider that a fluxgate compass might provide a "yawing" reading, telling the pilot to steer in broad S tracks, but if the GPS hiccups and adds half a degree to latitude right at the point you are feeding info to the pilot, your boat could take a hard turn to left or right with all sails up.

I have seen GPSes do this if they lose their satellite lock or if there's some sort of solar flare or "test outage". By contrast, a fluxgate might swing 20 degrees, but hardly ever 90.

Now, one answer might be this device:

ComNav Vector G2 GPS Satellite Compass w/NMEA - 11210001 - Compasses - Electronics - NavStore - Your Pro Marine Source - Detail

but for that price I could buy a tiller and a lifetime supply of shock cord.

Of course, the belt and suspenders route is to use a wind vane when sailing, and to save the autopilot for motoring or motor sailing.
Reply With Quote Share with Facebook