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Old 06-16-2012
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Re: Sheet to Tiller or Windvane?

There is a big difference between sailing long distances versus just giving yourself a couple minutes on deck or below. Which one are you doing?

Of course the big difference with the tiller pilot is that it sails to heading and won't adjust for wind shifts. Given this I wouldn't trust it sailing close hauled or downwind for much distance. But the tiller pilot works under power which I've used before when raising the main single handed.

On the other hand when sailing close hauled I find I can easily trim the sails until I'm fairly well balanced with a bit of weather helm and tie off the tiller with a short line to counteract it. If the wind pipes up the weather helm increases and the boat will round up just as I want. Actually, the boat is better at sailing itself like this than I am usually. I keep a line with a alpine butterfly knot and two adjustable grip hitches tied off to the sides which I can quickly pull over the tiller to do this.

I've found I've used the auto-pilot less and less as I've gotten more confortable setting up the sails and tiller, but it's nice to have.
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