Double rudder gears

The mechanical advantage of combining the systems is even greater here. The rudder of the boat to be steered, usually a relatively large boat if it has a double rudder gear, is used for fine-trimming the course so there is less pressure on the gear, allowing it to operate more precisely.

The small Autohelm 800 system would in principle be able to manage all these arrangements, but the convenience of a handheld remote control contributes to the appeal of the Autohelm 1000, the smallest push rod system with this option, and Navico's TP 100.

Years of experience have shown again and again that many blue water sailors, especially those with fewer miles under the keel, initially plan on installing just an autopilot. They choose a very powerful and robust system for safety and reliability. After a few days at sea, possibly before they are too far away from well-supplied ports, they then have a radical rethink. Sometimes a few night watches out on the ocean are enough to leave a crew yearning for a more straightforward solution, for example the comfortable and silent steering of a windvane gear.

The eventual conclusion of many yacht owners is that the powerful autopilot was an unnecessary investment; in the end, the wind is the better helm. They fit a small cockpit autopilot to the gear ready for the doldrums and are then equipped for anything. A combined windvane gear/cockpit autopilot system can often be put together for less money than an inboard autopilot, and will without a doubt rack up many many more hours at the helm.

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