Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: DFW Area
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I'd point out that if you have an autopilot, you can leave the helm, since most autopilots will auto-tack if you enter the right command. This means you can deal with the mainsheet and jib without worrying about the helm. The helm will "tack" the boat 100˚ or so... so if you're sailing with the apparent wind at 130˚, it will bring you to where the wind is 130˚*on the opposite tack.
That works for 130˚ to 130˚. It doesn't work well for gybes between deeper reaches or runs. (Also, my autopilot has a gybe inhibit feature when autotacking. I can turn it off, but I'm not sure I want to keep it turned off.)
I've tried putting it in windvane mode, and try to go from around 160P to 160S and vice versa. But the weirdness in apparent wind you get in that range seems to confuse it. It might work better if I switched it to true wind mode. Even when steering to the compass, the autopilot also will not steer hard enough to overcome the jib if I let it back until the main gybes. That might be something I can fix by adjusting the response.
s/v Dancing Days
Lewisville Lake, TX