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Old 11-27-2017, 05:44 AM   #81
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"Our AP (Wood-Freeman 500) holds one set course only and cannot be programmed or interfaced with other electronic devices like more modern units can."

The W-F can also usually be repaired on board with no parts or circuit boards from the unobtanium store.
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Old 11-27-2017, 08:59 AM   #82
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I single hand our 44 most of the time...often in fog and/or at night crossing Lake Michigan...typically an eleven hour trip to final destination in Wisconsin. One crappy, bumpy night (no fog) I did my hourly engine room check about mid-Lake and discovered a serious leak in one of the raw water pumps. After shutting that engine down, I checked the radar and scanned the horizon for lights. With none noted I set the autopilot on the proper course while running at slightly reduced speed on the remaining engine. The Will-Hamm autopilot kicked the rudder over to maintain course and I went below to change out the pump. Every ten minutes I'd pop up, check the radar, and do the visual scan. Beat the heck out of wallowing around in the trough while doing the repair, or poking along on one engine and arriving after the destination marina closed. The beauty of an autopilot (and two engines). I won't leave port on an extended trip without it.
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Old 11-27-2017, 11:17 AM   #83
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Originally Posted by Delfin View Post
Travelling under an auto course is, IMO, safer than hand steering,
Perhaps. But it doesn't prevent sea sickness like hand-steering does. That's why I put my daughter and wife at the helm so often.
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Old 11-27-2017, 11:24 AM   #84
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I have said this before in other threads. An autopilot is a safety issue, in that it allows the helmsman to look out the window or at the radar as opposed to constantly watching the compass. Given the shortage of crew on most of our boats, just a couple, the autopilot takes over the role of the helmsman leaving the others to keep watch.
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Old 11-27-2017, 11:41 AM   #85
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They do exist. There are several devices available that connect helmsman or other crew member to an electronic kill switch via bluetooth. If you fall overboard, or get more than 50' from the helm, the engine shuts down

Here's one: fellmarine.com
Fisheries Supply Seattle sells one. I saw it demonstrated at their booth last week. (Pacific Marine Expo).
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