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Old 10-30-2014, 12:06 PM   #201
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Your poll is flawed, manyboats... you forgot the 'Don't but would if wallet allowed' contingent.
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Old 10-30-2014, 01:05 PM   #202
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haha I've been flawed before but I still agree w Marin.
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Old 10-30-2014, 02:05 PM   #203
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I think your 99 percent figure is way off the mark based on my observation. But regardless, it's obvious you feel that people who don't have or use an autopilot are less-than-competent boaters, and I think that is absolute BS.
Hardly. I just think they are more fatigued than I am when piloting. What I do reject is your contention that competent professionals would agree that standing in front of a wheel, or if you are really professional, steering with your feet, is somehow preferable to keeping a watch while the mindless task of steering a straight line is accomplished by a device.
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Old 10-30-2014, 02:12 PM   #204
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Another attribute not discussed is the amount of time an autopilot leaves your hands unattended so as to perfect that two under crown bell rope. My pilothouse looks like a macrame explosion happened. And monkey fists make great gifts. Thanks Otto!

Furthermore, for those who feel emasculated during autopilot use; I find a spray bottle of salt water (preferably real seawater) at the helm does wonders. A squirt in the face every half hour, keeps my face leathery and my language unintelligible.
That makes a lot more sense than what I do to stay feeling salty. I avoid eating fruits and vegetables when I cruise so as to contract scurvy. When my teeth loosen I start feeling downright professional. I think your method more sound.
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Old 10-30-2014, 02:27 PM   #205
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First, we don't go straight for hours on end. Where we boat we rarely go straight for even one hour, and most of the time we are making a major heading change every 15 or 20 minutes in the islands. And given the fair amount of debris in the waters here, using an autopilot would require turning the heading change knob as much as we turn the wheel.
Since I cruise exactly the same waters, I can attest that this is utter rubbish. We will occasionally dodge something, but the idea that it is a constant means you are either cruising within a log boom or imaging things. Given the fatigue level of a helmsman hallucination is probably the better explanation.

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Second, as usual, this discussion has reached the border of ludicrous. What started out as simply comments on when an autopilot is not particularly useful has deteriorated into assumptions that people like me are preaching that autopilots are bad things to have. That's assinine.
Actually what you said was.....

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But by Delfin's "rules" folks like us are fools for not rushing out and buying one before the next time we leave our slips. Yes, Carl, I know you didn't write exactly that, but that is what all your posts on this subject imply.
Quite true, Marin, I didn't write that, suggest it, or otherwise imply it. I merely pointed out what is obvious - using an autopilot reduces pilot fatigue, increasing safety. What you choose to read into it is your affair, but it would perhaps be good to respond to what people write, not what you imagine they mean.

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So I'm curious.... The vast majority of the sailboats in our marina do not have self-steerers. The few owners I've met who do, or have done, long distance cruising do have self-steerers, and for good reason. But are all those other sailboaters, the ones who cruise the same islands I do, or who take their boats to SE Alaska and back, all under hand steering, automatically less than experienced, competent boaters because they don't have self-steerers (or autopilots)?
If you mean wind vanes, probably true - many sailboats don't have those. But no autopilot? Highly questionable unless a Saturday sailor. If any cruising is involved, then they would likely have an AP for the same reason virtually everyone else has one.

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Judging by the ones I've met, there are a lot of really good, very experienced boaters in that crowd. I wonder what they'd say to Delfin's position that not having an autopilot or not using one if you do have one is an indication of a less-than-knowledgable or less competent skipper......I'm thinking my wife and I should start boating at night to reduce the chances of encountering the rest of you and thus risking your lives since Delfin & Co. have finally convinced me that we are incompetent, ignorant, unskilled boat owners without a hope in hell of ever becoming what you all consider competent because our pathetic, piece of crap Grand Banks doesn't have an autopilot.
Again, I don't care what you believe, Marin, but it is inappropriate for you to continue to put words in my mouth. As I have said, if you want to spend 5 hours at the wheel steering a straight line on the way to Nanaimo or Port Townsend, have at it. I don't because it is boring as hell. How you turn that into my thinking you are incompetent is puzzling. Methinks thou dost protest too much.
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Old 10-30-2014, 03:28 PM   #206
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Until the day it steers you into another boat, a log, a piling, crab pot float, etc.

The human who can recognize danger and steer away from it is steering better than a dumb and blind machine.
So are saying that only boats on autopilot hit things?
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Old 10-30-2014, 03:31 PM   #207
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Never knew how hard it was to drive the darn boat until reading this thread. Gotta start giving my 13 year old kid more credit for his helmsmen skills.
Can I borrow him for my next cruise?
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Old 10-30-2014, 03:36 PM   #208
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How you turn that into my thinking you are incompetent is puzzling. Methinks thou dost protest too much.
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Old 10-30-2014, 03:46 PM   #209
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George I think this is the 1st time I have ever heard anyone call you "Dude"!
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Old 10-30-2014, 03:58 PM   #210
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I think Marin summed it up pretty well so there's no need to repeat his post.

As so often happens on this forum, discussions quickly get to the point of "If you don't agree with me, you are stupid or incompetent." Forgotten (or ignored) is the fact that there are many different sizes and styles of boats, many different boating conditions and different habits and expectations of boaters. Some people tend to get very narrow minded and defensive when trying to justify their positions. And rude.

The bottom line is; for some folks, an autopilot is a great convenience and a great tool. For other folks, it's an unnecessary expense and would not be used enough to justify the expense. Much like a genset or twin engines or any number of items we might find on recreational boats.

Whatever "floats your boat".
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Old 10-30-2014, 04:02 PM   #211
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I think Peter B said it best ..

And I think it needs to be repeated ..

"All I know is I had an A/P I fitted to my yacht, and loved it. Here on Lotus I don't, and as most of our boating is in shoaling and narrow channels between a myriad of islands, we would not get to use one much, so I have not been able to justify the expense. But on the occasion when we get up into the open part of the bay, where one goes for 2 hours or more with no change of course needed, I sure wish I had one, and always will. Yet I also feel exactly like you and Eric, when it comes to what I enjoy about being out there. But when going straight at 7 knots for hours on end, a boat doesn't need to be driven."

I think "yacht" means sailboat.
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Old 10-30-2014, 04:02 PM   #212
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This has been quite an interesting topic.

Even when it is occasionally on the point.

Two things I'd like to add:

1. In a posting I wrote like eons ago, well last year, one of our big criteria on choosing the Kadey Krogen 42 was it's ability to handle large following seas well. I know what we wanted to do and where we wanted to go and that was a primary consideration. Now, I also realize that our ComNav autopilot does get some credit, but the Krogen has far more guts than I.

2. A few years ago in my quest to read pretty much any book about ships on the sea, I read "Until the Sea Shall Free Them"
I thought it was going to be just about a ship sinking, but it turned out to be far more. I'm sure most of the professional mariners who inhabit this forum have read it, but it's a very well written book and if you care so much about the sea and those who work on the sea, its a must read.

We live in a world that nothing is as obvious as we think it is; and the more sure we are, the harder the fall.

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Old 10-30-2014, 04:03 PM   #213
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So are saying that only boats on autopilot hit things?
Richard, I think you are intelligent enough to know exactly what I am saying. Please don't lower yourself to that level.
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Old 10-30-2014, 04:05 PM   #214
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Richard, I think you are intelligent enough to know exactly what I am saying. Please don't lower yourself to that level.
Exactly. That was my point.

It is difficult to have a black or white answer for everything. In fact, usually when one quotes one, I can always come up with an exception.

So I knew what you meant, but some react to the words and not the meaning, and do this was my little devious way to point it out.
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Old 10-30-2014, 04:24 PM   #215
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Since I cruise exactly the same waters, I can attest that this is utter rubbish.
Which would go a long ways toward proving that people on autopilot are asleep at the switch if someone wanted to make that point, which I don't since it's not true.

Dude, do you ever look down from that high pilothouse at what your big steel boat is actually running through? To us down at a lower altitude, the eelgrass mats and tide and current rip debris lines are obvious as hell, to say nothing of the occasional log, branch, wood chunk, etc.

Or perhaps you make the short run between Anacortes and Port Townsend at night, in which case your believing that our waters are pretty debris-free makes sense. And you don't have to worry as much about what your hull hits as most of the rest of us.

I find that pretty amazing, however, that someone with as much experience as you claim to have could have such a poor picture of the water their boat is running through. To use your own expression..... wow.
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Old 10-30-2014, 04:26 PM   #216
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I find an autopilot more like a plotter than anything else....it isn't necessary but makes cruising more enjoyable for me....

....in the sit back and relax point of view...it allows me to concentrate on things other than plotting or following along a paper chart.

It's not the "hands on" that some like. They may get a kick out of taking sight bearings and plotting fixes all the time...much like enjoying hand steering...hey it's "their life" as one might say.... Some here do the timed/precision nav races or whatever they are called...that I bet is fun for them and maybe they do it a lot cruising or just get enough during events to mindlessly drone along with a chartplotter the rest of the time.

It doesn't matter what you like or like to do boating...enjoy it. When it becomes, boring, or tedious, or unsafe...something should change and that might be to turn something on or off.... if you even have it.
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Old 10-30-2014, 04:30 PM   #217
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That's a very smart post and a good analogy, psneeld.
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Old 10-30-2014, 04:33 PM   #218
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Since I cruise exactly the same waters, I can attest that this is utter rubbish.
This is a great example of a rude and confrontational post. Far better would be something like "I cruise the same water as you and that has not been my experience."
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Old 10-30-2014, 04:45 PM   #219
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Gee, it's getting kinda deep in here fellas. My poor piglet had to put his boots on.

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Old 10-30-2014, 04:53 PM   #220
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Haha Craig I'm surprised your piglet dosn't need a steel helmet too.
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