Autopilot on a yacht
Denis Korablev
  • 16.09.2020
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Autopilot on a yacht

After purchasing a yacht, you should think about choosing a high-quality and reliable autopilot, because with such a device you will be able to pay more attention to the crew and be sure that the vessel will not go off course and will come to the destination port. Perhaps not even everyone knows that such a device exists and what a automatic control system is, so let's consider the operation of an autopilot. This is the system that keeps the yacht on the course set by the compass. Roughly speaking, if you are moving straight to the south and turn on the autopilot, the system will over time adjust the movement of the vessel, steering so that this direction of movement is maintained all the time.

The autopilot system for yachts is one of the most sophisticated and modern types of equipment on sea vessels. Due to the strict adherence to the route while the vessel is moving, modern control systems reduce fuel consumption and increase the speed of movement on the water. Modern autopilot systems are synchronized with the Marine Electronic Chart Navigation and Information System (ECDIS), which allows them to follow the routes provided in the travel plan, while manual course control can be completely eliminated.

Steers the autopilot using the rudder and steering wheel located under the water. Therefore, when using the autopilot, the main rule is that when the autopilot is on, under no circumstances should you touch the steering wheel, you should not try to steer yourself with the autopilot on, since in this case it will quickly fail. Also do not turn on the system with a fixed helm, or when you are on watch at night and are very tired. The best solution would be to establish a watch, at regular intervals changing with a sheet, otherwise you can fall asleep with the whole team, and wake up already in a situation that you, to put it mildly, will not be happy about.

As noted by the specialists 2yachts, the autopilot cannot be used in difficult weather conditions and in the absence of a clear need for it. The system can be used for short start-ups, when there is one person on watch and urgently needs to fix something on the deck or below, while there is no one to replace him, and for long-term start-ups, while you should be good aware of their location, distance from nearby obstacles, and you must have a prepared radar that notifies you of approaching dangerous objects on the way.

Also, before turning on the autopilot, be sure to check the charge level of the onboard batteries. You should never use autopilot when sailing in strong winds. You cannot trust the control of an automatic system in conditions of fresh wind and significant waves, especially on full courses, if the ship is dear to you and the fate of your crew is not indifferent to you.

Simrad Yachting AP35 system

This autopilot model perfectly performs its functions under any combination of weather conditions. This is facilitated by a body made of solid and durable aluminum and a high-tech backlit LCD-screen, which allows you to always be aware of what is currently displayed on the screen of the device. Here, each key function has its own button attached, which allows you to quickly configure the system and significantly speeds up the work with it. The system also works with the Robnet network, which is used to broadcast data over long distances. The autopilot is equipped with a rotary sensor, with which you can correct the heading with certainty to a degree. The cost of such a device without a control module will be about $ 2,000, and with it - $ 1,000 more.

Northstar Explorer AP380 Autopilot

This autopilot model is one of the most popular among yachtsmen today. The autopilot is equipped with a high-quality LCD display with bright backlighting. Through the main menu you will find quick access to all functions and locations. The control system includes 2 indicators, 2 joysticks and a GPS navigator. The Northstar Explorer system costs approximately $ 600, and with the purchase of an additional package of options, the price rises to $ 1,800.

Raymarine Smart Pilot X-5 Wheel

This autopilot model is equipped with a reliable and easy-to-install drive and a clear display with effective backlighting, providing good readability not only at night, but also in bright sun conditions. The autopilot is very good and easy to operate, while its main advantage is its low cost - from $ 1,500.

S1 Wheel Pilot

This model is designed for use on sailing yachts with a steering wheel and is equipped with innovative software tools. With state-of-the-art software, you can easily locate your position, set your course in 1-degree increments, and make adjustments as needed. The UK manufacturing system has a higher price than other manufacturers, starting at $ 3,800.

At the same time, this particular autopilot model will be able to become your faithful assistant on the ship, since the software installed on it is simply ahead of its time.

However, with all the advantages of modern automatic control systems, remember that in the operating instructions for all such devices, manufacturers write that automatic heading control significantly simplifies ship control, but is unable to completely replace a person.

In conclusion, it is worth giving advice: before buying an autopilot for your yacht, you will need to go around all the specialized shops that are nearby and find out all the necessary information, you should also discuss the idea of installing an autopilot with friends, preferably experienced yachtsmen. If there are none in your environment, you can study the comments on thematic forums in order to try to find answers to all your questions, since such a purchase implies high costs, and buying something at random for such amounts is, unreasonable to say the least.

If you are interested in yacht rental in your preferred region of the world - you can use the help of specialists from 2yachts ... With their help, you will select the most relevant and advantageous offers existing on the yacht market, and you will be able to save your time and money on the selection of specialists to support the transaction or arrange a lease.

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