Originally Posted by Cruiser2B
I have looked into a tiller pilot, but they seem very unreliable and also use the battery up. At this point, I do not intend to sail more than maybe 50-60 miles in a day but my plans are for extended cruising so I only want to spend my money once. I am intrigued by the sheet to tiller but realize that I will probably just buy a windvane. I have seen the sheet to tiller YouTube videos just looking here for more first hand knowledge about setup and reality!
For a detailed setup see;
A Pearson Ariel Page
I followed it to setup sheet to tiller on my contessa 26 and it works well if the wind is not gusty(day sailing on Lake Ontrario)
Could it be relied on for off shore cruising? I don't know as I have never been off shore. With that said it seems to me that it ought to be a requirement as a backup in case of equipment failure. I have found that the more I use it the better it works.
Regardless of weither you ever go off shore I suggest you try it out, it forces you to become better at balancing your rig. The above link suggests you build a wooden lever for off wind sailing, I tried it and didn't like it. Too awkward to setup. Instead I run the jib sheet back to the leeward winch, over to the windward winch and cleat it off. I then attached a line to the jib sheet between the two winches back to the tiller. Basically treating/connecting to the jib sheet the same way you connect to the mainsheet when going to windward, it worked well. Some thing to try when sailing off the wind.
Not sure about where you live but up here in Canada Lowes sells surgical tubing by the foot(at a god awful price) I purchased mine at a shoppers drug mart, a medical supply store.