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Old 07-02-2020, 07:41 PM   #1
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Using Your AP on Routes

Does anyone ever use their AP and ChartPlotter/GPS to run routes - either with or without manual authorization to change course?

I have the capability, but frankly can never see the reason why I would ever do so.

I use the AP to run the ICW so that is clearly changing course by degrees so not applicable to this conversation.

But when I run to the islands, say from The Berries to Allen Cay in the Exumas I have all the waypoints in and could set an auto route through Porgee Rocks etc. east of Nassau.

But I would much rather set it waypoint by waypoint and be in total control. Clearly then I need to use my chartbook or other list of the waypoints in order, selecting the next waypoint and using Go To, but that is a simple process.

Anyone use auto routes?
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Old 07-02-2020, 07:47 PM   #2
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I do just like you. I like being very involved in what the boat is doing and where it is pointed. Sometimes you get to a waypoint and realize you charted the route wrong vis a vis what is actually ahead of you (obstructions, or just poor planning). I also find myself adjusting course along the way, so may not be near the plotted waypoint when it is time to turn.
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Old 07-02-2020, 07:49 PM   #3
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I'm on autopilot 95%. When using the NAV feature, I find it faster to find the next waypoint on the plotter, highlight it, and then NAV to it.

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Old 07-02-2020, 07:56 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by O C Diver View Post
I'm on autopilot 95%. When using the NAV feature, I find it faster to find the next waypoint on the plotter, highlight it, and then NAV to it.

Ted
Same here, so waypoint by waypoint and not an entered route?
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Old 07-02-2020, 08:10 PM   #5
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I do so all the time, and I change the permission level from Auto to Manual depending on route. Relieving me of the need to constantly steer at my normal 16 MPH allows me to maintain a better lookout and to tend to other things on the console, especially at night when I have radar overlay, target trails, and ARP engaged to auto for new targets and with searchlight on auto panning mode when closing on NAVAIDS. I get an alarm when approaching waypoints regardless of permission mode. When in narrow waters, I may shift back and forth from the AP route following NAV to course maintaining AUTO mode at the push of a button. Just to say the system can do it, I once ran 20 MPH up my bayou to my home which includes seven NAVAIDs and five waypoints with the final waterway width of 200 yards and last course change 60 degrees, and then I did it in the dark, experts only. Coming down the AICW in March-April through waters I have never seen before, I set routes out for each day, and I had the AP (this was a 7.5 knot boat) route following whenever the waters were open enough. Sometimes I would elect to change the next waypoint a bit to avoid a shoal more widely or to round a point with more room while the AP was locked on that WP and just let it adjust appropriately to the changed position of the WP. When it got "windey," it was too hard for the AP and nerve wracking for me; so back to manual steering, but the route-of-the-day information regarding DTG and ETA etc was there when I needed it, and as soon as waters widened, the AP was put back on the route like a bloodhound.
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Old 07-02-2020, 08:26 PM   #6
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I run preprogrammed routes almost every time we go out. Works great but I keep a constant vigilence and am always ready to hit the button and take control. When not on full Nav, following a route, I’m typically on Auto and using the AP control knob to steer. I’ve gone weeks without actually touching the wheel.
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Old 07-02-2020, 08:27 PM   #7
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I have routes throughout the inside passage. AP follows it from waypoint to waypoint. Wouldn't have it any other way. Course changes over 6 degrees are tough but otherwise I let it roll
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Old 07-02-2020, 08:41 PM   #8
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I do the same thing you do. But one argument for doing it in full auto mode is the amount of time you spend "heads down". I do catch myself jacking with the next waypoint when I should be watching where I am going.....granted I run on plane at 20 knots. I only use heading mode(or steer manually) in tight quarters like the ICW.
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Old 07-02-2020, 08:47 PM   #9
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Quote:
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I do the same thing you do. But one argument for doing it in full auto mode is the amount of time you spend "heads down". I do catch myself jacking with the next waypoint when I should be watching where I am going.....granted I run on plane at 20 knots. I only use heading mode(or steer manually) in tight quarters like the ICW.
If the heading change is quite large I will "Go To" the next heading on the chartplotter, but handle the helm manually until I am either on the heading or a couple of degrees off and then engage the AP. This results in a smoother managed transition.
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Old 07-02-2020, 09:21 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by menzies View Post
If the heading change is quite large I will "Go To" the next heading on the chartplotter, but handle the helm manually until I am either on the heading or a couple of degrees off and then engage the AP. This results in a smoother managed transition.
Yep....a very common technique an an airplane so the thing doesn't yank over n a 30 degree bank to capture the course. THe problem being that if there is a significant course change, it marks the point at which you execute the command and doing a high rate of speed, your XTE increases rapidly until you get pointed in the right direction.

As I say that....on one aircraft I used to fly I would actually put it into NAV mode before selecting the GOTO or Course. I would get the normal message "NOT ON INTERCEPT HEADING" or something like that. I would then select the GOTO waypoint and the tansition to the course would be perfectly smooth. I am going to try that on the boat and see if it works.
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Old 07-02-2020, 09:23 PM   #11
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I have 20 routes already programmed in. There are only 4 options when leaving my home berth so I select the appropriate route before I even leave the dock.

Now if I am leaving early in the morning I will use the Track feature and the AP will not deviate more than 25’ from the track line. It also won’t continue to the next waypoint until I acknowledge reaching the current waypoint.

If I am traveling during the 9am-6pm time frame I will control the AP manually, this makes it easier to navigate around the traffic and makes me more predictable to other traffic. I still leave the route lines up as it makes it easier dial in an appropriate AP heading.
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Old 07-02-2020, 09:29 PM   #12
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Use AP most all the time (definitely not in narrow waters), not counting embarking and disembarking maneuvers. Nevertheless, remaining at the helm, observing.
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Old 07-02-2020, 09:43 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Baker View Post
Yep....a very common technique an an airplane so the thing doesn't yank over n a 30 degree bank to capture the course. THe problem being that if there is a significant course change, it marks the point at which you execute the command and doing a high rate of speed, your XTE increases rapidly until you get pointed in the right direction.

As I say that....on one aircraft I used to fly I would actually put it into NAV mode before selecting the GOTO or Course. I would get the normal message "NOT ON INTERCEPT HEADING" or something like that. I would then select the GOTO waypoint and the tansition to the course would be perfectly smooth. I am going to try that on the boat and see if it works.
At eight knots that is never an issue!
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Old 07-02-2020, 09:47 PM   #14
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Use AP most all the time (definitely not in narrow waters), not counting embarking and disembarking maneuvers. Nevertheless, remaining at the helm, observing.
The question is on using routes - i.e. multiple waypoints
mnaged automatically by your AP.
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Old 07-02-2020, 09:59 PM   #15
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The question is on using routes - i.e. multiple waypoints
mnaged automatically by your AP.
Don't use them
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Old 07-02-2020, 10:12 PM   #16
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I plot the next days route on the plotter like I used to do on paper charts. We do 8 knots.

We run the route using the Nav feature. The AP asks permission for every course change and we acknowledge. We use the Dodge feature to go around floating debris and other boats. We use the Nav feature 95% of time while on AP.

Here in the PNW with strong currents, the Nav feature can steer a lot more accurately and faster as the tidal strength and direction changes. Also in certain areas with rocks just below the surface, such as Beware Passage in the Broughtons, the Nav feature can make the sharp turns between rocks, with current running, a lot faster and more accurately than I could. It takes a while before the trust builds.
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Old 07-02-2020, 10:49 PM   #17
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I usually use a route and NAV to destination, and one reason is to have an ETA. Often I will go to AUTO or manual steering to dodge a bunch of trailer boats that are fishing, but when clear of them its back to NAV. At times I will just click & drag the waypoint instead.

When returning to my marina, in the city but 12nm upriver from the Port of Brisbane, I select the existing route that is a bunch of straight segments in a curvy river. I activate the route to get an ETA to the marina as I like slack tide to dock. I adjust my speed if required to arrive at slack tide. But I always use AUTO rather than NAV while in the river due to traffic etc.
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Old 07-03-2020, 12:23 AM   #18
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I thought that function was only for nooners.
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Old 07-03-2020, 01:01 AM   #19
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I’m an “auto-route kinda guy”. As noted, in the PacNW the system does a great job of eliminating. Ross track error. Our Axiom/Navionics creates the route and our auto pillow follows the route. EVERY turn requires my intervention. As a result there are times I will select a waypoint farther along g and change to “auto route from here”. I feel that using these tools usually creates the most efficient routing and piloting. It frees me to watch the waters for all the floating crap we have up here; I bet 50% of the time I have to “dodge” but then it’s hit the “track” button and we’re back on course. We *never* leave the helm unattended. I’m not distracted by trying to enter the next waypoint, etc. and it is much less fatiguing.

The one major downside in the San Juans are all the charter boats using Navionics auto routing. We’re all on the same or reciprocal courses!
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Old 07-03-2020, 01:33 AM   #20
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Last week I let the AP follow a route through Rocky Pass and it worked well. I have to acknowledge each turn, but not a problem. I always use a route on a long straight passage so the AP compensates for wind and current.

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