Downwind with the autopilot?

Installation of instruments and electrics in the Cape Cutter 19

Downwind with the autopilot?

Postby Dennis Williams » Mon Jan 16, 2017 9:25 pm

Hi you cold Northerners, I have a question for those of you with tiller pilots...
...Downwind in a moderate breeze 15-18kts and 1.5mtr swell I find steering Tiptoe quite hard work, mainly I suspect due to her middle age spread and center of buoyancy changing with the roll. Tiller loads are normal when upright, lee helm when rolling to windward, weather helm when rolling to leeward. Anticipation is required to minimize the zigzag course that ensues.(good for the stomach muscles though!) Sometimes scary with an odd wave thrown in.
Personally I suspect that a autopilot will be way behind but perhaps some of you may have a cunning fix to the problem? Maybe a deeper rudder?

Happy varnishing and tinkering,

New Zealand Dennis
Dennis Williams
CC19 Association Member
 
Posts: 11
Joined: Tue Oct 20, 2015 6:58 pm
Location: Whangarei, New Zealand

Re: Downwind with the autopilot?

Postby Dennis » Sat Jan 21, 2017 4:04 pm

Hello Dennis

It is good to hear from our antipodean friends. :)

What sail plan are you using in these conditions?

I would probably be using a double reefed mainsail with either just the staysail or the staysail plus yankee. I find the tiller pilot works well going downwind, but admittedly I do not usually have to contend with as much swell. If running dead downwind, I will pole out the staysail on the opposite side to the mainsail.
You are correct in that the tiller pilot does not react as quickly as the human variety and the boat can appear to be zig-zagging excessively, yet when I check the GPS trace the deviation from a straight line is much less than you imagine.

I do have some experience of using a deeper rudder on a similar boat. My previous boat a Winkle Brig had a similar rudder arrangement to the Capecutter, but it was much less effective than the Capecutter version. The previous owner had made an alternative rudder with a deeper blade which was hinged, when fully lowered it dropped about 2 feet below the skeg. It made a big difference to the sailing performance, particularly to windward, where the boat would point much higher. Downwind, it was easier to maintain control and I found that I could carry more sail without being at risk of a broach.

As for varnishing and tinkering, I have just finished varnishing my mast and spars and I am about to commence construction of a new 8 foot pram tender, using the same ply and epoxy technique used to make your boat.
Cheers

Dennis

CC19 #100 Mary Ann
User avatar
Dennis
CC19 Association Member
 
Posts: 961
Joined: Fri Mar 27, 2009 6:29 pm
Location: Northumberland

Re: Downwind with the autopilot?

Postby Dennis Williams » Sun Jan 22, 2017 6:54 am

Thanks Dennis.
Interesting report on the deeper rudder on the winkle brig. I think it may help a lot and will give it a go.
As to sails you are correct in double reef and staysail only...cramming on more area makes no difference to the speed.
Have been getting plenty of sailing in both racing and cruising since September as fairly short winter here...wet and warmish. About to set off on an epic two weeker or maybe longer. Unfortunately don't have as many watering holes so tend to be self contained. Most of the room taken up by the dog of course.
Regards to all.
Dennis2 Heather and Dog.
Dennis Williams
CC19 Association Member
 
Posts: 11
Joined: Tue Oct 20, 2015 6:58 pm
Location: Whangarei, New Zealand


Return to Instruments and Electrics

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest

cron