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post #11 of 12 Old 08-18-2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by billyruffn View Post
Robby, technical explanations aside -- windvanes, especially my really old Aries, are magical things. They can steer the boat for days on end, without rest and with little complaining (other than the occasional squeeky cry for oil), and they usually are better at keeping the course. On several occasions I've noticed that the Aries can hold a course with less input to the helm (fewer degrees of rudder less frequently) than the human helmsmen aboard.
One thing about Auto pilots and Wind vanes that if you watch them carefully you will also learn to steer with little rudder movement. Did this on the big ships, watching the auto pilot. Noted the feel of the vessel and what the helm was doing. Became a better helmsman that way.

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post #12 of 12 Old 08-19-2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by billyruffn View Post
On several occasions I've noticed that the Aries can hold a course with less input to the helm (fewer degrees of rudder less frequently) than the human helmsmen aboard.
My Aries (previous boat) never worked that well running downwind. It was OK on the wind or reaching but not downwind.

I now use an AP and probably wouldn't bother with another windvane. My AP, once it has "learned" the sea-state, hardly moves at all and of course it is only using amps when it moves. we find it electrically very economical.

And for the OP, I wouldn't even consider an ocean crossing without a dependable form of self-steering even if I have crew.

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