Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Corpus Christi, Tx
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Re: Sheet to Tiller or Windvane?
The problem you will have with sheet to tiller is that as you move about the boat, you change the trim of the sails and cause the boat to luff up, maybe even backwind the jib. If you want to keep a compass course regarless of what you or the wind does, then you need a tiller pilot. If you want to meander around with the wind, then a vane will work. Only the tiller pilot will let you get away from the tiller when motoring.
I would think that on an Alberg 30 a tiller pilot plus a sheet to tiller arrangement would cover the waterfront, so to speak. With the left over money you can put in a solar power system that will serve many uses. I used to sail a full keel attached rudder (plus centerboard) 22 foot sloop and found it very easy to balance so that it sailed itself with the tiller lashed in place. Only problem is that I was a significant percentage of the ballast and my movements upset that balance rather quickly.
Sometimes I wish I could afford it all and have a gold platted sailing yatch, but then I really like simple things that work well and will never have the money for gold.
Oh and one more thing, with a tiller pilot, go oversize just like your anchor. For a few dollars more you get a better, more robust pilot that has reserve power for when the wind gets up.