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radman

Single Handed Transpac

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What are the pros and cons of using a windvane vs autopilot for the Single Handed Transpac, does anyone have experience with both options?

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What are the pros and cons of using a windvane vs autopilot for the Single Handed Transpac, does anyone have experience with both options?

 

It's gonna depend on your boat. Windvanes work best on slower boats that maintain a lot of apparent wind regardless of angle. A faster planing boat that has reduced apparent wind will do a lot of "seeking" for the right wind angle. What are you taking across?

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What are the pros and cons of using a windvane vs autopilot for the Single Handed Transpac, does anyone have experience with both options?

 

It's gonna depend on your boat. Windvanes work best on slower boats that maintain a lot of apparent wind regardless of angle. A faster planing boat that has reduced apparent wind will do a lot of "seeking" for the right wind angle. What are you taking across?

 

An Ericson 27

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Windvane would be a good option on this boat. Maintains speed with out a lot major bursts of acceleration. The right vane would be very comfortable. Not gonna comment on a brand though, used to work for one of the "Old Stand Byes".

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No offense but the race is in two months and change and your just now working out what your going to use for your autopilot? Do you still have to do your qualifier? I hope so because you want a lot of time working with either type of autopilot before crossing to Kauai singlehanded.

 

I 2nd what 184 said. Windvane is great for upwind or reaching but not good for deep running. It will continue to chase the apparent wind and round-down, especially on a lightweight planning boat.

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I think that if you want to be competitive you definitely need a good autopilot. I did the race on an Ericson30+ back in 2004. I carried both a windvane and a (crappy) autopilot. The windvane was a dream on the first few days in near gale conditions on a tight reach. I think those conditions might have burned through a few cheaper pilots. The vane however was a liability for the running conditions and in my case more of an insurance policy in case the electronics went to shit and I still had a week to get to HI. I did have to rebuild my autopilot a few times while running and definitely lost a bunch of time relying on the vane to steer in those conditions. It will get you there but not fast. For this type of boat the weight of the vane is not as bad as other designs. When I got back I put a Raymarine below deck gyro pilot and that thing was a dream compared with what I had before. If I were to do it again on that boat (have since sold the boat) I will probably still take both and rely on the pilot on anything but strong reach conditions.

 

Vanes take some getting used to, to fine tune, etc. Doing a qualifier with whatever system you choose would be a good choice to become intimate with the equipment.

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If you haven't already queried the folks on the SSS website, you might ask for their advise. Good luck and have fun!

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It is not an either/or situation. I'm not familiar with your boat but you can get one of the good windvanes and then use one of the better autopilots that are built to drive a tiller(tillerpilot) but pushpit mount it and use it to drive the windvane (in place of the vane). Not sure if I'm being clear but many have done this and some report excellent results. Didn't work for me with my bigger heavier old IOR boat and shitty old stiff Aries windvane but definitely works for some. A cheap good solution for the right boat.

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