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Old 10-28-2014, 12:20 PM   #121
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Single handing on my Albin in calm waters I'd set a course and make slight corrections now and then (2 0r 3 min.). When it was lumpy water and I had to pee I'd point the boat into wave and wind and go. And when the waves got over 3' I'd forget all about the AP as it could'nt handle it. Light 26' boat. So the real reason I had the AP was to be able to pee w/o peeing all over myself and the head. There are other ways of a single hander doing that and other things of course but the AP is much more of benefit to the single handed skipper than those w a crew of even one.

Capecodder if your boat is so unstable you can't take your hand off the helm you better go fix your boat. You must have said that as kind of a joke ..

I think I would use an AP if someone bought one for me and paid for it's installation. But it's kind of like power windows and automatic tx on a car .. kinda but not the same. Marin I didn't know Subaru offered a stick.

As to the thread though I'll bet the AP increases the ability to LO as opposed to decreases. But only if the helmsman chooses to take advantage of the freedom and uses the freedom to increase safety. However I remember going out on the fwd end of the boat w the hand held remote AP. It was fun, offered a better view and some fresh air but had it's own hazards to safety.
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Old 10-28-2014, 12:26 PM   #122
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Sounds like your vessel does not track well. Is it squirrely and need constant attention to keep in a straight line?
It actually tracks very well except in rough seas which is the norm where I boat. It's the sea conditions that makes it tiring to hand steer.
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Old 10-28-2014, 02:09 PM   #123
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I think I would use an AP if someone bought one for me and paid for it's installation. But it's kind of like power windows and automatic tx on a car .. kinda but not the same.
.
On most cars power windows and automatic transmissions have long ago become standard. I haven't seen a new car without power windows in years. Now some sports cars don't have automatic.
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Old 10-28-2014, 03:30 PM   #124
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I think it depends on conditions every bit as much as personal preference. In calm waters and a short trip, sitting back in the helm chair with one foot between the bottom spokes of the wheel is a perfectly fine AP substitute. Longer journeys, rough water, as Larry (I think ) pointed out, a good AP will steer a straighter, more fuel efficient course and greatly lessen helmsman fatigue.
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Old 10-28-2014, 03:48 PM   #125
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I took this photo the other year of the most experienced, most knowledgable PNW/BC skipper I have ever met or come across. This is how he steers his (commercial) vessel in calm conditions. When it's rough or tricky navigating, he stands up. These are the kind of skippers I look up to. If I can obtain even 1/100th of this fellow's skill, knowledge, and experience I will feel like I've really accomplished something.
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Old 10-28-2014, 03:58 PM   #126
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On most cars power windows and automatic transmissions have long ago become standard. I haven't seen a new car without power windows in years. Now some sports cars don't have automatic.
Of course BB it was just an example. I actually like an automatic fine if it shifts near perfect .. like our just yesterday acquired 2nd Suburban. Otherwise I'd like to do it myself.

With AP we're just talking about something that's done automatically rather than manually. Would you like to go somewhere in your car by pushing a series of buttons, sitting down and letting the car take you to point B? Not me to be sure and I don't want to boat that way either.

And re what Caltec said a long crossing on a calm day w lots of great visibility would find me walking around on Willy w the remote but keeping a more or less constant watch on the horizon.

We can get preoccupied w all the gadgets and find ourselves a bit removed from reality. When the gadgets work well they should bring us closer to reality and when they do we benefit.
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Old 10-28-2014, 05:21 PM   #127
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My wife and I actually enjoyed cruising at night. However there was never a time when one if not both of us were at the helm. If you really enjoy night cruising I highly recommend a FLIR along with the obvious must have's AIS (transponder) and active working Radar. We never cruised above hull speed with our Mainship.
I never had an AP, perhaps one day but it's not in my current plan for the Gulfstar.
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Old 10-28-2014, 05:37 PM   #128
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My wife and I actually enjoyed cruising at night. However there was never a time when one if not both of us were at the helm. If you really enjoy night cruising I highly recommend a FLIR along with the obvious must have's AIS (transponder) and active working Radar. We never cruised above hull speed with our Mainship.
I never had an AP, perhaps one day but it's not in my current plan for the Gulfstar.
Bill
FLIR does change it dramatically.
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Old 10-28-2014, 05:42 PM   #129
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We can get preoccupied w all the gadgets and find ourselves a bit removed from reality. When the gadgets work well they should bring us closer to reality and when they do we benefit.
Wifey B: Oh, but I like gadgets. Fun toys. Ok, seriously, it is important to use them correctly but as great as some of the old timers are, they still could benefit. Some are great even if you rarely use them. And they can help you to do the truly important things better. Holding the freaking wheel isn't what makes one great. It's keeping watch, handling situations well, knowledge, experience, and skill. And occasionally it's how they handle the wheel. Like when some jet skier nearly does an ender into your bow.
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Old 10-28-2014, 06:08 PM   #130
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Wifey B,
Indeed I have a good economical radar and use it seldom. Most of it's use is operating it to stay tuned to to the device so when I need it I'm somewhat skilled in it's operation. It was fun to track small float planes in Ketchikan ... and all the other traffic. Knowing that you need to change the gain and range together ect ect.
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Old 10-28-2014, 06:17 PM   #131
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A major part of the fun of boating for both my wife and I is driving the boat. .............
Same here. That's why we operate from the flybridge whenever possible and why I see no need to buy and install an autopilot.
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Old 10-28-2014, 06:21 PM   #132
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Question, how do you hold your binoculars and hand steer?
One in each hand!

Seriously, In many conditions I can take my hands off the wheel long enough to look through the binoculars. Or I have my wife either look or drive.
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Old 10-28-2014, 06:25 PM   #133
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............. And back to the keeping watch issue. Having an AP is not something to replace maintaining a watch. Not a free pass to not pay attention. ...............
And we would hope that everyone with an autopilot would know that. Unfortunately, that is not the case as I mentioned a couple of times already. Having an autopilot presents yet another opportunity for a boat operator to do something stupid and unsafe.
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Old 10-28-2014, 06:28 PM   #134
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Absolutely amazing...how people think an AP actually REDUCES looKing outside....amazing...

Oh well......
It doesn't take much to amaze you, does it?

We all operate our boats differently and for different reasons. Some people may use an autopilot as an opportunity to sleep or leave the helm for other reasons. Some have admitted or even bragged about it here and on other forums. That definitely reduces looking outside, doesn't it?
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Old 10-28-2014, 07:03 PM   #135
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Actually it does considering what I have seen.

Even with hundreds of past students in hands of courses and captain's licensing courses and decades of delivery and training...way too many threads and posts here amaze me...then we have the thousands of assists I had with the USCG helo/tow boat...more stuff that amazes just about anyone....

no...it's really not all that easy to amaze me...but here...it's so often I come back regularly for the entertainment...

Actually...I come to try and help even when a few constantly get in the way all too often...

And no I'm not perfect and always right so for those pot-shooters...think up your own material....
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Old 10-28-2014, 07:04 PM   #136
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It actually tracks very well except in rough seas which is the norm where I boat. It's the sea conditions that makes it tiring to hand steer.
Depending on prop and rudder size, most trawlers will tend to drift off to one side if you don't apply small but steady correction to counter prop wash against the rudder. Personally, I like having the vessel under control at all times so I know where it is going to go, including when I go to get a glass of water, coil a line, bring in fenders, etc. etc. etc. Single handing without self steering is dangerous.
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Old 10-28-2014, 07:05 PM   #137
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On most cars power windows and automatic transmissions have long ago become standard. I haven't seen a new car without power windows in years. Now some sports cars don't have automatic.
Not the same thing at all.
It works only be the same of you were constantly cranking the windows up and down.

Also, ONE accident that MAY have been caused by the boat being on autopilot means nothing.

I'm sure the ratio of autopilot caused accidents versus not is about 1 to 1,000; Probably even 10,000 if we count boats and not aircraft.

Lastly, if we had wanted to constantly fiddle with running the boat every second, much like a car, we would have gotten one of those things called a SAILBOAT.
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Old 10-28-2014, 07:08 PM   #138
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Not the same thing at all.
It works only be the same of you were constantly cranking the windows up and down.

Also, ONE accident that MAY have been caused by the boat being on autopilot means nothing.

I'm sure the ratio of autopilot caused accidents versus not is about 1 to 1,000; Probably even 10,000 if we count boats and not aircraft.

Lastly, if we had wanted to constantly fiddle with running the boat every second, much like a car, we would have gotten one of those things called a SAILBOAT.
Probably even way less if you take into account accidents that were operator error...even though being on autopilot was involved...like many BUI cases.
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Old 10-28-2014, 07:09 PM   #139
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I took this photo the other year of the most experienced, most knowledgable PNW/BC skipper I have ever met or come across. This is how he steers his (commercial) vessel in calm conditions. When it's rough or tricky navigating, he stands up. These are the kind of skippers I look up to. If I can obtain even 1/100th of this fellow's skill, knowledge, and experience I will feel like I've really accomplished something.
Now, that's funny.
Thanks for the laugh.
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Old 10-28-2014, 07:19 PM   #140
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I took this photo the other year of the most experienced, most knowledgable PNW/BC skipper I have ever met or come across. This is how he steers his (commercial) vessel in calm conditions. When it's rough or tricky navigating, he stands up. These are the kind of skippers I look up to. If I can obtain even 1/100th of this fellow's skill, knowledge, and experience I will feel like I've really accomplished something.
Bit disappointed he appears to use both a chart plotter and a depth sounder. The guys I really respect are those still using a lead line and an astrolabe. Now those guys are the REALLY experienced mariners.
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