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Date Posted:19/01/07 15:54:38 In reply to:
's message, "Re: Hydrovane" on 19/01/07 14:05:35
You are probably right, John, a proper lookout would make running aground a very remote possibility. However, I am frequently alone and have been known to nod off (especially early afternoon after preparing and eating a good lunch) leaving the ship ploughing on unattended. There is more chance of getting run down when not keeping a proper lookout and that is unconnected to what automatic system is steering.
I also have to admit to hearing many stories of autopilot failures due to poor construction - or rather a 'not fit for purpose' level of design and construction, it just didn't happen to me.
An added advantage I now have is being able to connect a GPS to my wheel autopilot; this adds another dimension of keeping course to a waypoint where a slavish compass course may become incorrect over time due to unexpected leeway or tidal influences.