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  #331  
Old 11-16-2013
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Re: Rallies Gone Wrong

It's not the efficiency of an electronic autopilot that is in question. I have installed and used autopilots that work very well and very efficiently. On a cruising sailboat, however, there is simply not enough spare amperage available to use one on most 30-50'cruising boats. I have a Norvane and see absolutely no problems with it. It operates with ZERO draw on batteries, and does the job. It even works when motor-sailing. Without going to all kinds of whirlybirds and dragged gizmos, to power another electronic gadjet to burn out, a windvane is a perfect example of simple efficiency.
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  #332  
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Re: Rallies Gone Wrong

exactly...all we did on our aries was lube and lube the rivets to aluminum parts...

we actually had a boat bang it from behind when he anchored way to close at night in galapagos...

it was a tilt up model

even then it worked fine all the way french polynesia...we ground the round gear since it got bent...

KISS
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  #333  
Old 11-16-2013
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Re: Rallies Gone Wrong

Quote:
Originally Posted by outbound View Post
This thread has set me back on my heels thinking I've been unsafe. Just this last summer have spent 2+ d on autopilot in 30+ with frequent surfing in low teens on far reach as well as several occasions in t storms/ line squalls in 20 s with gust to 40 s bearing off to 60 degrees to improve ride. We do this on AUTPILOT as usually have only one on watch. Do keep with in hands reach of the standby button. .? Are we in a fools paradise just waiting for disaster.
I am also pretty unsafe.

My aging wheelpilot has regualrly steered us for multiple day passages in 25kt + although I do always try and do stints at the wheel for both my own enjoyment and benefit.

We would love a Hydrovane one day when we win the lottery.

Until then I have the required amount of ISAF approved buckets and a drogue to save my ass when we are next in a rally on autopilot.
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  #334  
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Re: Rallies Gone Wrong

Having both mywould be ideal but after using both find the auto pilot is fine. With two d400s and panels juice a non issue. Mounting a vane would be harder with a sugar scoop.
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Re: Rallies Gone Wrong

Quote:
Originally Posted by outbound View Post
This thread has set me back on my heels thinking I've been unsafe. Just this last summer have spent 2+ d on autopilot in 30+ with frequent surfing in low teens on far reach as well as several occasions in t storms/ line squalls in 20 s with gust to 40 s bearing off to 60 degrees to improve ride. We do this on AUTPILOT as usually have only one on watch. Do keep with in hands reach of the standby button. .? Are we in a fools paradise just waiting for disaster.
Well, every boat is different, of course, there is no One Size Fits All application which will equally apply in every situation...

In the situation I pictured above, as I mentioned, the Raymarine 7000 was doing OK for maybe 95% of the time. Given the conditions, and potential damage that might result from something like an accidental jibe, that was not good enough...

We were a bit over-canvassed, pressing hard to exit the Stream before nightfall. Sailing deeply downwind on a boat with a huge main, and deeply swept spreaders, preventing the boom from being eased as much as one might like while attempting to maintain such a course... One of the main reasons I detest deeply swept spreaders on a cruising boat, the line between broaching/rounding up, or an accidental jibe, can be razor thin if you need to be sailing DDW in big and confused seas...

I wasn't on any of those boats last week, of course, so I can only hazard a guess... But, mine would be that at least some of them encountered conditions where the most prudent seamanship might have dictated having a skilled helmsman on the wheel for a time, rather than leaving the driving to Raymarine...

My friends Justin and Chris have an NKE autopilot on their J-120 SHEARWATER, and yet there are still times when they've chosen to hand steer:

Shearwater - What 30-40 knots looks like, Porto to Gibraltar - YouTube

And, as their recent passage from FL to Texas illustrated, there can be times when one has no choice - even with one of the world's finest and most expensive autopilots :-)

Quote:

Our second day handed us the challenge of the trip, as our autopilot stopped functioning correctly. It turned out that our dinghy foot pump hose slipped between the steering cables and quadrant making it impossible to turn the wheel one direction. The autopilot, not knowing any better, just kept continuing to push, until eventually the high current draw blew an internal fuse in the autopilot computer – a fuse that can only be replaced at the factory. Damn. On reflection, why isn’t there a breaker in the wiring between the computer and ram that is smaller than the internal fuse? We’ve never seen this mentioned, but it seems like an obvious addition now. As it was, we would be hand-steering for the remainder of the trip – 96 more hours. We chose to do 2-hour shifts, round the clock. The good part – we’re better drivers now than we were before. The bad part – hand-steering kind of stinks.

Florida to Texas ? 96 hours of wheel time

Last edited by JonEisberg; 11-16-2013 at 07:28 PM.
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  #336  
Old 11-16-2013
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Re: Rallies Gone Wrong

Quote:
Originally Posted by christian.hess View Post
in a sense that is why windvanes always win over autopilots on small to mid size boats(they loose efficiency at 60feet or so) because they can react ever so slightly more to conditions in the water because almost all have input by either a pendulum, trim tab or rudder...
...

notice I mentioned on small to medium sized boats...and not in a racing application

....
in the end people are stubborn, want to beleive what ever they want and never try to see another point of view...

Im only posting my own personal experience...nobody has to agree with me, its not my point or agenda

good day
A racing application of an autopilot in what regards solo racing is the same as in what regards cruising only that hugely more demanding. In this case clearly what is good for racing is good for cruising.

I don't need to have experience with the two types to know that a good electronic autopilot is much more effective than a wind-vane even in boats smaller than 60ft and for a good reason:

If they were more effective all or at least some solo racing boats, from 31ft to 40ft would use a wind-vane to better their performance. I follow a lot of solo races and never heard about a SINGLE boat using a wind-vane.

have a good night,

Regards

Paulo
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  #337  
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Re: Rallies Gone Wrong

Quote:
Originally Posted by smurphny View Post
.. On a cruising sailboat, however, there is simply not enough spare amperage available to use one on most 30-50'cruising boats. ....
That's why most cruising boats between 30/50ft don't use autopilots but wind-Vanes

Regards

Paulo
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  #338  
Old 11-16-2013
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Re: Rallies Gone Wrong

I have my Alpha 3000 and a Monitor as a back up if needed, which I have not needed ever. A friend did a circumnavigation on a Nordic 40 with the same set up. The Monitor's paddle was never in the water...not even once. But there is nothing wrong with both a belt and suspenders. One sleeps better, believe me.
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  #339  
Old 11-17-2013
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Re: Rallies Gone Wrong

Damn, this was a tough go for the Catalina brand, sounds like 3 out of the 4 in the SDR had major rudder failures...

Copied from CSBB, re the Catalina 470:

Quote:

These were gleaned from FaceBook. I'm still waiting to hear the full story. One other thing I wonder about is how well are some of today's boats prepared for this kind of weather. Thinking about "condo style living space", in-mast furling, oversize roller gennys, deep spade rudders and shallow under water bodies with "danforth" keels. Once they get properly settled in and sedated with Dark and Stormys I hope they give me some real info.

"It has been a harrowing ride. Being alive is a good thing. Landing on Bermuda has its simple benefits but it cost us $6000.00 dollars to be towed in."

"Abour 25 miles. We had been floundering around with no steering for nearly 3 days. NO ONE would come to tow us in. I was ready to call the American Consolate. I was going out of my mind. Being tossed around in 20 ft seas and the wind was 45 with gusts to 55."

"The first storm was worse."
And this... Wow, it sure pays to choose your crew carefully :-)

UFB...

Quote:

We picked up a forth crew member in Hampton who said she was free until Thanksgiving and had no health issues that would cause any problems. After the 2 day delay leaving Hampton and the slow progress through the bad weather in the Gulf Stream, she informed us that she had a heart condition, was due for surgery on the 18th and wanted to be drooped off in Bermuda. That little detour would cost us 3 days and threatened to screw up our other crews schedule but I had little choice. So off to Bermuda we went. Cost me $300 in fuel and $180 in entry fees. After dropping her off we did a through top to bottom inspection of the boat and deemed her fit for sea duty. Unfortunately my X-Ray vision was not working and I missed the broken rudder post tangs inside the rudder. 1 1/2 days out we hit more rough weather (clocked 62 knot gusts) and suddenly lost steerage about 60 miles south of the island.

The rudder wanted to stay hard over on one side and go in circles to the right. I managed to get her going in the right direction for about 6 hours and came within 12 miles of the island. But then it gave up again and nothing I did would get her back on course. We tried towing buckets and other heavy objects on the port side hoping to correct the turn but it had no effect. Whats worse is that because of the turning and the strong current, one of the lines got under the boat and caught in the prop. Luckily the shaft line cutter worked and we were able to retrieve some of the items we were towing and not loose propulsion too. So the best I could do was influence (not control) the direction of drift by adjusting speed and heading relative to the wind and wave direction. I managed to drift SW instead of due S and I can tell you that it was really disconcerting to watch Bermuda slowly fade from sight. We lost several miles that we had earlier gained. The look on the crews faces was so bad that I decided to try one last desperate measure. I launched the dink and tried to steer the boat from numerous locations. That did not work either and it was really a bad idea to start with.

On a side note, I have to give credit to the gentleman at Bermuda Radio that we were in contact with for two days. He hunted down the local fishermen that were willing to come get us after the two commercial companies declined to help. The satphone is what really saved our butts. My SSB was simi-uselss. We could only make contact once a day on the Doo-Dah net and that was sketchy. We used the phone to call the Coast Guard in Norfolk who handed us off to the chaps at Bermuda Radio who ultimately orchestrated our recovery. God save the Queen!

So after a 15 hour tow @ $380/hr we are tied up in St. Georges with a busted rudder waiting for Monday and all the yards to open up. Towing the boat was another story. We had to drag both anchor chains off the stern to stabilize the boat (250' on each stern cleat). Do you know how much 250' of chain weight when to try to retrieve it? I managed to get one length back on board with the windless but I injured my hand in the process so the other length was donated to Davy Jones locker. On the bright side everyone here has been super helpfull. The Bermudian people are extremely friendly and kind.
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  #340  
Old 11-17-2013
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Re: Rallies Gone Wrong

Quote:
Originally Posted by PCP View Post
That's why most cruising boats between 30/50ft don't use autopilots but wind-Vanes

Regards

Paulo
I would say that this is exactly the case among long distance cruisers. I don't understand the vitriol against using a steering system that does not require electrical power.
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