Handy Autopilot Features to Look For
If you arenít exploring your autopilot to its full capacity, you might be missing out on some nifty features. Hereís how you can set your autopilot to provide you with better performance at sea:
Positioning and Remote Control
The Yachting World suggests fitting your autopilot control head where itís immediately accessible. You might also need to be able to see the display while you steer so keep that in mind when you choose the right spot for it. If your pilot head and display menus are quite a distance apart, you can use a remote controller to take control of your autopilot with ease. This also makes it possible for you to control the system from anywhere on the boat, so itís tremendously convenient.
It can be easy to forget about staying in course when youíve got the autopilot in place. You could generally do whatever you likeógo below, enjoy a meal, or have a midday nap. However, it pays to keep your attention on where youíre going from time to time. That or make sure you activate the windshift alarm. This alerts you if the wind changes direction by 15į or more so you can see if youíre still on course or if youíre starting to veer off.
If thereís a floating object, another vessel or someone fell into the water; you can use this feature to set an immediate change in course in order to avoid hitting whatever is in the water.
Finding an Autopilot
If youíre shopping around for a new boat autopilot, here are some tips to help you find the right one for your boating needs:
1. Know what autopilots work well with the type of vessel you have. Do you operate using sail or power? Make sure you a system thatís compatible with what you use.
2. Factor in your vesselís size and displacement. Some autopilots work well for smaller vessels while bigger ones often need more sophisticated types and designs.
3. Take note of your usual travel speed. If you like your boating rides fast and speedy look for units designed to offer those results.
4. Pay attention to the unit quality. It canít be stressed enough how important it is to get your autopilot gear from a reliable source. If your unit goes wonky in the middle of the sea, you could find yourself in a whole lot of trouble. Make sure you donít by getting it from a reliable source. That way, you have the assurance that your unit is going to perform the best and longest possible.
So keep these in mind when you start shopping around for new autopilot. The more you know, the better your choice will be.