Autopilot session, how long? - SailNet Community

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Old 11-27-2010
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Autopilot session, how long?

-How long do you run your autopilot without a break? (as in straight hrs)
-Whats the longest session?
-How long have you heard/read suggested?
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Old 11-27-2010
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Old 11-27-2010
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All the time, non stop.

On a crossing of Caribbean sea on a friends boat AP worked non-stop for 4-5 days.

Closer to home, we had a nice sail (and then "drive" when wind died) today - AP ran for 6 hours. I rarely hand steer - I get bored with steering quickly (and fall off-course all the time as I take in the view and enjoy the sea).

AP is an amazing invention, it just keeps going and going.
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Old 11-28-2010
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If the boat's sailplan is properly balanced, there's really no limit to how long you can run the autopilot, as long as the batteries hold out. Of course, the more robust an autopilot is, the safer it is to run for long periods of time. Marginal autopilots will have issues when run with an unbalanced sailplan or for long periods of time.

Quote:
Originally Posted by theway View Post
-How long do you run your autopilot without a break? (as in straight hrs)
-Whats the longest session?
-How long have you heard/read suggested?
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Old 11-28-2010
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I've heard of times from a few days to months. I've used mine for weeks at a time with zero problems. I did change the belt on my Autohelm 3000 after 3 years, mostly out of concern about an upcoming transatlantic, but other than that, nothing.

I did try to keep the sail plan balanced and made sure the batteries were charged.
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