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Old 10-28-2014, 07:27 PM   #141
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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.
My boat will maintain a constant rudder angle (three degrees to port for "straight" under power to counter the left-hand propeller) under manual control, but obviously environmental factors will alter the course without rudder adjustments.
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Old 10-28-2014, 07:44 PM   #142
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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.
Now you're talkin'
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Old 10-28-2014, 07:45 PM   #143
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A major part of the fun of boating for both my wife and I is driving the boat. .
We enjoy driving it as well. However, if you're 100 miles out on a 600 mile trip with nothing in sight moving along at 12 knots, then that's not exactly driving it in our minds, with or without AP. We have a faster sport boat and we use AP a lot less on it, although it still comes in handy on a long trip. We covered 300+ miles on Sunday and definitely used it a good bit then.
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Old 10-28-2014, 08:14 PM   #144
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I'm all for the guys who boat, love every part of it and hand steer all they want....50 yards or 5000 miles. It's their life to use the way they want.

But that's not the issue....

They have to understand what is affecting them just as much as an autopilot user has to understand what complacency or AP misuse will do to them.

As many have said...comfort level and personal satisfaction.

I only care that the scientific facts that we know about complacency, fatigue, human error, etc..etc and how they contribute to safe or unsafe boating wiggle their way in here.

but for those not well versed in safety issues or lots of experience with/without APs...well I just hope newbies get the right idea...if not the correct info as it's understood by professional and scientific organizations.
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Old 10-28-2014, 08:24 PM   #145
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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.
Glad to hear you look up to me Marin. I think.
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Old 10-28-2014, 08:29 PM   #146
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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.
Having a boat presents the ultimate opportunity for a boat operator to do something stupid and unsafe. Everyone out of the water!
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Old 10-28-2014, 10:09 PM   #147
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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.

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Old 10-28-2014, 10:13 PM   #148
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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.

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Well, ok, but can he steer with his feet while sitting in a lawn chair?
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Old 10-28-2014, 10:15 PM   #149
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Well, ok, but can he steer with his feet while sitting in a lawn chair?

I just asked him as we are sitting on the couch watching game 6 of the series together. He said "sure no problem dad"
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Old 10-28-2014, 10:35 PM   #150
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This just in, caught in the act!!No shame!!:

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Old 10-29-2014, 02:47 AM   #151
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Glad to hear you look up to me Marin. I think.
Don't know anything about you. I do, however, know quite a bit about the fellow in the photo and his history of experience along the BC raincoast. Pretty amazing stuff. He and a handful of guys like him whom I've gotten to know over the years-- tug drivers, salmon trollers, a few sailboaters-- are who I think of when I envision truly skilled skippers, particularly in these waters.
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Old 10-29-2014, 09:42 AM   #152
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Originally Posted by psneeld View Post

I only care that the scientific facts that we know about complacency, fatigue, human error, etc..etc and how they contribute to safe or unsafe boating wiggle their way in here.

but for those not well versed in safety issues or lots of experience with/without APs...well I just hope newbies get the right idea...if not the correct info as it's understood by professional and scientific organizations.
Your service background and training gives an advantage in understanding these issues. Not all have that advantage and until long distance cruising is experienced will remain doubtful. Stay resolute.
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Old 10-29-2014, 12:22 PM   #153
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thanks...plus it's fun to pass along if it helps someone..both times I hated quitting the boating safety and captain's licensing teaching...but things move on...
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Old 10-29-2014, 12:53 PM   #154
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There are some amazingly skilled captains of all vintages and types. Some of the current ones skilled with all technology could learn a few things from the older ones. But even the older ones we might greatly admire could learn some things from today's technology oriented captains.

More amazing to me are the older and newer captains who lack the most basic knowledge and skills. I see professional...let me rephrase that...licensed captains being paid for their work, as I don't like using the word professional when referring to these....captains for whom every day is an adventure with something going wrong and in their mind none of it is ever their fault. Many times they could have avoided the problem by using up to date technology which would have warned them or by using the old way of talking to fishing captains in the area or towboat captains or others at the dock. They try repairs of electrical systems that lead to more problems, simply because they tried something they should have gotten help for. They don't put enough fenders out for the lock or dock. And these groups, both the old ones who don't like technology and the new ones who use it have one thing in common. They think they know it all already, so nothing more to learn.

I can't imagine reaching the stage in life that I ever stop learning. I know that for every thing I know, there are a million I don't know. Oh, and I never hire anyone who already knows it all. And, yes, I have interviewed a few of those and I'm sure they thought I was an idiot for not hiring them.
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Old 10-29-2014, 01:22 PM   #155
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I will have to say this thread is quite entertaining.

What it really boils down to is "resource management". The autopilot is a "resource" and it does need to be managed properly. The chartplotter is also a resource. Your 13 year old son is a resource. If the AP is managed properly, it is beneficial to safety. It will INCREASE safety. It will also increase efficiency.... I mean, you have a trawler...does that not concern you? Nobody on here is advocating blindly turning over the command of the boat to the AP.

Here is one thing I guarantee you:

THE AUTOPILOT CAN STEER BETTER THAN ANY HUMAN!!!!

Another thing that relates:

GARBAGE IN....GARBAGE OUT!!! The AP is not smart. It is not dumb. It will only do what you tell it. And it will do what you tell it VERY WELL. AUTOPILOTS DO NOT CAUSE ACCIDENTS!!!! Their MISMANAGEMENT does!!!!

PS...Marin, that dude driving with his feet is rocked back in his chair. He could hit a wake, fall back, hit his head, and the boat is suddenly without a watch. I am not arguing with you or saying what he is doing is unsafe. I am just making an obscure point that is probably less obscure than an AP causing an accident
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Old 10-29-2014, 04:00 PM   #156
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.............. THE AUTOPILOT CAN STEER BETTER THAN ANY HUMAN!!!!
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.
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Old 10-29-2014, 04:04 PM   #157
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Maintaining a constant lookout doesn't mean you have to stay at the helm. Especially if you have a remote for the autopilot.
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Old 10-29-2014, 04:31 PM   #158
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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.
Is that like when you read in the paper that an SUV ran over someone? Conjures up a runaway robot car rather than a nitwit not paying attention.

An autopilot is a tool that when used, increases the safety margin of all involved. If you don't want to spring for one, or don't travel far enough where self steering becomes a pointless and tedious chore, then don't have one. For 99% of everyone else, we'll keep using them in the interest of safe passages and rested crews.
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Old 10-29-2014, 04:35 PM   #159
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Is that like when you read in the paper that an SUV ran over someone? Conjures up a runaway robot car rather than a nitwit not paying attention.

An autopilot is a tool that when used, increases the safety margin of all involved. If you don't want to spring for one, or don't travel far enough where self steering becomes a pointless and tedious chore, then don't have one. For 99% of everyone else, we'll keep using them in the interest of safe passages and rested crews.
It appears you didn't read the statement that I was replying to.
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Old 10-29-2014, 04:48 PM   #160
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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.
Apparently you did not read the statement that you were replying to!!!

The AP is neither blind nor dumb. It is not smart and it cannot see. It only does what you tell it to. IT IS NOT THE AP'S FAULT IF YOU ARE IN AN ACCIDENT. IT IS A RESOURCE. IT IS NOT THE CAPTAIN OF THE BOAT.....YOU ARE!!! And YOU are solely responsible for the safe operation of the boat and ALL OF ITS SYSTEMS!!!! The AP is not a separate entity. IT CANNOT CAUSE AN ACCIDENT!!! If you are not disciplined enough to pay attention while an AP is in operation, fine...don't use one. But for most people, it is an enhancement to safety.

USCG/NTSB: Captain Baker, can you please tell me why you ran into that boat???

ME: I didn't sir. The autopilot did.

USCG/NTSB: Ohhhhh....okay. You can go now. You are not at fault. It is the autopilot's fault. Sorry that we inconvenienced you. You're free to go.

See how unreasonable that sounds. That is the logic you are echoing....
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