Frequently Asked Questions
USING A WINDVANE AND AUTOPILOT AT THE SAME TIME - Can I gain anything by operating my windvane and electronic autopilot at the same time?
We feel that our auxiliary rudder competitors' recommendation of using an autopilot in conjunction with a windvane is simply an attempt to help their steering system in heavy weather when the windvane's rudder proves too small to completely control the boat. Our answer is a definite "No".
Basically, a windvane steers by apparent wind; the boat always keeps the sails trimmed at the same configuration - she may wander as the wind varies, but she's constantly going at her best speed. An electronic autopilot keeps a compass course; as the wind shifts, the sails lose efficiency and the main may even gybe if not tended to. It's a straighter course, but not as efficient - and even slower overall than by-the-wind steering. When the two are used together, you may have two rudders trying to steer up to 20 or 30 degrees off from each other. That's certainly not efficient, and can put great strain on all the gear involved.
Remember that the Monitor's servopendulum system generates a great amount of power to steer using the boat's own rudder. The more the wind blows, the better it works. The boat's rudder is designed to steer the boat in the first place - in any weather! We do manufacture an auxiliary rudder selfsteering system - the Auto-helm - and all other auxiliary rudder systems on the market have rudders significantly smaller than the Auto-helm.