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Old 01-01-2014, 08:38 PM   #21
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Old 01-01-2014, 09:30 PM   #22
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Thank you all guys. I figured, the autopilot to be widely used gadget. Keeping sharp lookout at the helm for traffic and inevitable logs in PNW is a must. The issue with deadheads is that damn things are barely visible and sometimes just under the surface, so no matter how well you look, you may hit one. I'd enjoy the night cruises in summer but because of logs i try not to go out after dark. Further north in Desolation sound it gets better as few logging booms pass by.
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Old 01-02-2014, 03:16 AM   #23
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Speedbumps (Kayaks) require constant vigilance, as they can disappear into the wave patterns while still close enough to present a hazard.
I rely on my autopilot, especially for longer passages.
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Old 01-02-2014, 05:53 AM   #24
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to a power boat of 36-38 ft length. at average 8 knots

With the fuel burn required to operate 8K in that sized boat an autopilot would be a very minor expense.

6K might be 1/2 to 1/3 the fuel bill.

AP are a big help on any size boat .
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Old 01-02-2014, 07:01 AM   #25
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The slower the boat the more important the autopilot. I rarely will drive mine by hand buy a autopilot with a dial in the control head and life is more enjoyable.
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Old 01-02-2014, 10:55 AM   #26
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The Eagle has one, but I very seldom use on a clear day as the Eagle tracks a steady straight course with full displacement deep keel. However in the fog and at night, I always use the auto pilot as it can keep a course better than I can.
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Old 01-02-2014, 08:42 PM   #27
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For me it is a safety issue in bad weather or a very rare night voyage. With the autopilot, I can focus on sensors and looking out and not on maintaining a straight course with no decent visual references. I am scanning the radar for targets, the chart plotter for course and AIS targets, the sounder for depth, and outside for things that will hurt. It's kinda of hard to drive a straight line and do all those things.

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Old 01-02-2014, 09:36 PM   #28
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I am with the majority of others here, voting for an autopilot. There is plenty to do at the helm that is far more critical to safety besides making constant course corrections. Plus, I never leave the helm without my admiral taking over.
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Old 01-02-2014, 10:13 PM   #29
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Most definite yes. Garmin with wireless controller is one of the best upgrades we've done.
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Old 01-03-2014, 02:21 PM   #30
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If you have a good radar and also an auto pilot connected to the GPS by NMEO2000, you can rest a little.
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Old 01-03-2014, 02:39 PM   #31
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Quote:
Originally Posted by funangler View Post
The slower the boat the more important the autopilot. I rarely will drive mine by hand buy a autopilot with a dial in the control head and life is more enjoyable.
Agree with all of the comments supporting using an AP in BC coastal waters. You arrive just a little more refreshed and ready for anchoring, docking, or whatever.

Our last two APs had rotary dials that are a real bonus over pushing buttons for course changes. Typically one click per degree of course change can be quite useful, especially in busy moments.
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Old 01-03-2014, 06:59 PM   #32
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Quote:
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not exactly... the kayakers make a deeper thunk than the pot buoys..

HOLLYWOOD
..and are less likely to get caught around the shafts.
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Old 01-03-2014, 09:21 PM   #33
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I use the autopilot anytime I am going to stay on a single heading for more than just a few minutes. AND I remain at the helm to keep a lookout. (OK, a 30-second pee break a mile offshore, throttled back to idle, and having scanned a long way ahead prior to answering the call of nature excepted.

Autopilot is indispensable in fog. Yeah, you can rely on GPS to let you know where you're at, radar and AIS to know what is around you...but most of us steer like a drunk when we're in a fog bank without any visual references. Some of us sometimes steer like a drunk for other reasons, fog or no....but no need to go into that.
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Old 01-03-2014, 09:43 PM   #34
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Any time you are in reduced visibility or a confusing area, just put the chart plotter cursor on where you want to go. Turn on the autopilot, and tell it to navigate to the spot. Then keep a lookout on both the radar and chart plotter while looking and listening outside the boat. Sure makes it easier.
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Old 01-03-2014, 11:23 PM   #35
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Any time you are in reduced visibility or a confusing area, just put the chart plotter cursor on where you want to go. Turn on the autopilot, and tell it to navigate to the spot. Then keep a lookout on both the radar and chart plotter while looking and listening outside the boat. Sure makes it easier.
I do that almost every where I go, even in good weather.

We have routes built for our favorite places. We can turn on the autopilot and it'll do the rest, steering through the course changes.

We have ours set up as a fail safe that if a course change is over 15 degrees it'lll sound an alarm and wait for you to push the button to confirm the new course.
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Old 01-03-2014, 11:28 PM   #36
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Greetings,
Unfortunately our Wood Freeman won't/can't talk to anything or be programmed. Good pilot though.
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Old 01-04-2014, 07:12 AM   #37
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Unfortunately our Wood Freeman won't/can't talk to anything or be programmed.

But it will last 50+ years and can easily be repaired ,,,forever!
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Old 01-04-2014, 07:14 AM   #38
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Greetings,
Mr. FF. Yup, +1 on that. No plans to replace. NEVER even considered it....
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Old 01-05-2014, 11:07 PM   #39
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Darn,
You guys just talked me into repairing mine. I only have three of them for parts. Just have to get motivated again.
But it won't talk to the gps, oh well, another project
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Old 01-06-2014, 05:26 PM   #40
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With the autopilot, I sometimes have the opportunity to leave the pilothouse and enjoy the scene from the deck.



(1/5/2014 on San Pablo Bay)
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