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Mark... I do not continually have my hand on the dial and steer. I can steer that way through the mooring field to the fuel dock and then release the AP and do the "landing" manually. That sort of maneuver demand more helm turn than any AP can do.

By active I mean I am observing conditions and tweaking the AP heading accordingly or as needed. I can and often do enter a "choke point" ... beginning of a "channel" where boats are converging and emerging...usually motoring or motor sailing steering with the AP dial. I am evaluating the traffic so the actual entry waypoint is not THAT important... it's a channel and there are boats coming and going.... a good place to hand steer.

I often use an old track and follow it in many cases....no waypoint...it's a safe path... I turn my dial to "get on" the old track... which I can follow right to the mooring... or to the channel to the town dock. It's like manual steering... but using the AP dial and not the actual wheel.
 

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Mark... I do not continually have my hand on the dial and steer. I can steer that way through the mooring field to the fuel dock and then release the AP and do the "landing" manually. That sort of maneuver demand more helm turn than any AP can do.
Sorry, I didn't mean "continually" in that way. I meant it to mean making periodic manual course adjustments throughout the time the boat is sailing a course.

Don't know why you think other AP's can't do what you describe. That is exactly how we use ours. Our control head even has a turning knob on it, so it is just like using the wheel. Our previous one only had dodge buttons, but worked the same way.

By active I mean I am observing conditions and tweaking the AP heading accordingly or as needed. I can and often do enter a "choke point" ... beginning of a "channel" where boats are converging and emerging...usually motoring or motor sailing steering with the AP dial. I am evaluating the traffic so the actual entry waypoint is not THAT important... it's a channel and there are boats coming and going.... a good place to hand steer.
When we are steering to a waypoint, we are also observing conditions. Still don't see why you think this mode implies differently. I agree that choke points are a good place to hand steer, or to use the pilot in manner that is not steering to waypoint. In fact, it is pretty onerous to even attempt to make routes for the AP to steer through these types of transit areas - way too many points and situational considerations.

I often use an old track and follow it in many cases....no waypoint...it's a safe path... I turn my dial to "get on" the old track... which I can follow right to the mooring... or to the channel to the town dock. It's like manual steering... but using the AP dial and not the actual wheel.
Well you would just love a modern AP integrated to your plotter! For us, we just tell the AP to follow the old track. No need to touch the dial or wheel. Of course, if there is a lot of turning, the cross track error can sometimes reach 2 or 3 feet... ;)

Mark
 
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