Simrad IS20 Wind+Tillerpilot: Sail-To-Windward? - SailNet Community

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Old 02-05-2011
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Simrad IS20 Wind+Tillerpilot: Sail-To-Windward?

I am a happy Simrad Tillerpilot (TP32) customer. I single-hand a lot, and don't like standing at the helm all that much. One thing that I lack is the ability to go close-hauled for long periods of time (longer than I can stand).

Problem is, headwinds seem to really like me, because they follow me wherever I go.

And so I am about to drop a Several Hundred Dollars (gasp!) on Simrad IS20 wind head and wind instrument, which plugs into SimNet, allowing me (theoretically) to sheet in, push a couple of buttons and have the boat go to windward all by itself.

Can someone please tell me, does this actually work out on the ocean, with a big sea running and a gusty wind?
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Old 02-06-2011
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Boat size and sail trim would both be factors affecting success.
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Old 02-06-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ClubOrlov View Post
I am a happy Simrad Tillerpilot (TP32) customer. I single-hand a lot, and don't like standing at the helm all that much. One thing that I lack is the ability to go close-hauled for long periods of time (longer than I can stand).
Why can't your TP32 steer to windward? Is it because it doesn't react fast enough to wind shifts or because it doesn't have enough power to overcome the weather helm?
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Old 02-06-2011
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I am looking for somebody who has actually used the Simrad sail-to-wind rig on an ocean passage. I couldn't find any reviews.

John1066: there is a difference between sail-to-wind and "sailing to windward". The former is when the autopilot steers by the windvane rather than the compass, on any point of sail. The latter is where the boat is sailing against the wind. I am interested in the combination of the two, because on other points of sail the combination of sail trim and steering is less critical.
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Old 02-06-2011
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ClubOrlov,
I understand the problem. The stand alone TP-32 will either steer a compas course or hold the helm at a specific angle. In order to be responsive to wind variations you need the wind gauge that integrates with the TP-32 so that the course of the boat is altered to maintain the sail settings as the angle of the true wind moves about. Unfortunately I have no experience as the wind gauges are too expensive for my budget. But why wouldn't it work? I'm sure the gauge will sense wind shifts far more quickly than you and since it is at the top of the mast has a clearer picture of the wind and the electrons don't have to first travel through your brain, the appropriate changes should be satisfactory for maintaining sail settings. Since is about the same thing as a mechanical "wind vane self steering", only in an electronic box, it should be about as good as a mechanical system.
If you get the full setup, let us know how it works.
John
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Well, I suppose all I can do is try. So I'll drop the $750 or so for the wind instrument, run the wires down the mast and through the hull and, and just see if it works.

The biggest issue I see in going to windward by instruments is that they don't have eyeballs. I can see a gust or a squall approaching by looking at the water to windward, and luff up ahead of time to avoid a knock-down. The wind instrument just senses the wind, and by the time the wind is there it's too late to start steering into it. And then the tea kettle goes flying and the cat gets upset.

In any case, I was hoping that somebody out there has experience with going to windward with this specific combination of hardware and could tell me whether it works acceptably or not.
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Old 02-06-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ClubOrlov View Post
The biggest issue I see in going to windward by instruments is that they don't have eyeballs. I can see a gust or a squall approaching by looking at the water to windward, and luff up ahead of time to avoid a knock-down. The wind instrument just senses the wind, and by the time the wind is there it's too late to start steering into it.
That is why we keep reading here again and again that no matter how you equip your boat with fancy new toys, you just have to keep those eyeballs out there on the deck doing that for which they are designed.
OOPS. Did I just introduce Intelligent Design into this discussion? It is Sunday afterall.
good luck, keep us posted,
John
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Actually, on most points of sail (even dead downwind) and in most conditions it is quite possible to catch some shut-eye and let the autopilot do its job. If it's too lively, I reduce sail and slow down a bit. That's what I've been doing, for thousands of sea-miles. The problem is with going close-hauled.

IS20 Wind + TP32 + sail-to-wind close hauled: How Well Does It Work?
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Old 02-06-2011
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First of all, a lot depends on how you have your boat's sail plan balanced. If it isn't properly balanced, the tillerpilot is going to have difficulty steering the boat, whether to a compass course or to the apparent wind.

Another factor will be how well you have the wind instrument calibrated.

A third factor will be how high you have the gain and compensation on the tiller pilot set.

A fourth factor is how much of a tendency your boat has to follow a straight course. If you said what boat you're on, it would help a lot. An older, full-keel design may have fewer issues that a high-aspect ratio bulb keel modern racing design when trying to sail to apparent wind on a tillerpilot.

Generally, as a rule, the more specific and relevant information you give when asking a question, the better the quality of the answers you will get.
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Sailingdog -

Do you have experience using sail-to-wind while close-hauled on an open ocean passage? (Because that's what I am looking for.)

The sail plan is perfectly balanced. It's a fractional sloop rig with a 120% genoa. The aspect ratio is low - around 1.5. I can usually go to windward (but not hard on the wind) with the sails balanced and the tiller lashed. The hull is a sharpie flat-bottom hull, with a very large centerboard. Heeled over it becomes a V-hull and goes 7.5 knots to windward, which is a lot for a 30-ft waterline.

I haven't installed (or bought) the wind instrument yet, but I do intend to calibrate it once I install it.

I play with the gain setting on the tillerpilot quite a lot. I find I have to increase it quit a lot when running or dealing with quartering waves. I can turn it way down when on a beam reach. I expect I'll set it pretty high when on the wind - perhaps up to the maximum, and put up with the noise and the additional power drain.

The boat carries way extremely well, and generally behaves as a full-keel cruiser, so I doubt that it will thrash around when sailing to wind by the windvane because apparent wind keeps changing.
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