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Old 03-23-2006
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Autohelm Wind indicator help

Well, let's start by "I went sailing last weekend".
We were clipping along on a close haul in 15 to 20 knot winds when the urge to use the head came over me. I thought about turning on the auto pilot but decided to let my first mate (wife) get in some sailing time. I was only gone a few minutes when I heard a terrible scream and felt the boat do some things it shouldn't....

Upon returning to the cockpit in less then full dress.... I discovered we wife had rounded up and we made a complete 360. I asked what had happened and my wife just kept pointing to the wind direction instrument with fear on her face. I took over the helm and found the problem.

The dial kept swinging back and forth between the true wind direction and some other directions.. which made no sense at all.

My wife had tried to keep the boat on a close haul instead of trimming the sails in order to maintain our course, this was (of course) using the wind direction as indicated by the now malfunctioning indicator.

I decided to ignore the gauge for the rest of the sail and went on feel with occasional peeks at the wind vane.

I tried to calibrate the instrument and it seemed to work for a few minutes, but would start doing the same insane things over and over. I switched back and forth from true to apparent and this made some difference but it still did not show the correct direction.

I made it to port and looked for obvious problems with the indicator and found nothing to indicate a reason for the malfunction.

We have a 1994 Autohelm wind, tridata, multi, and auto pilot set up.
Has anyone any experience with this type of problem?

Any info would be greatly appreciated (especially by my wife!!)

Thanks,
Terry Pearson
1986 33MKII hull # 123
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