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· Old soul
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+1 ... What Christian says!

I gather you've never used one deltaten. Try and get on a boat with one operating. All your questions will be answered very quickly.

No, the TP stays on the same side. It should have enough range (piston length) to swing the tiller through a sufficient arc for standard sailing. Our TP does tap out at the far ends, but ours is undersized for our boat (we use a windvane most of the time).

Ours easily sits out of the way when not in use. I guess it will depend on your cockpit. Ours easily detaches when not in use for long periods.

I don't think I understand what you mean by having to re-set it for each point of sail. Just as you have to move the rudder (tiller) when you change direction/point-of-sail, so too with the TP.

Proper sail trim is always important. If you don't want to over-tax your TP, then it is vital.

Yes, you can use a TP to tack if you have enough piston length. It's not very refined, but on our Raymarine TP you hit two buttons and it moves you through a 90 degree (I think ... never checked) angle. It's good enough to get the jib over and then you need to refine the angle.

A bungee setup might work, depending on your boat, sail trim, and point of sail. Regardless, a good TP will be leaps and bounds easier, and more reliable at holding the course -- until it dies, of course ;).

Personally, I prefer a windvane for reliability and simplicity.
 
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