The ultimate limits of selfsteering

No self-steering system can keep a boat under control all the time in all conditions. The operating ranges of the various systems we have discussed can all be expanded by careful trimming and prompt reefing, that is to say by reducing heel and, in consequence, the rudder movement required to keep the boat on course. These measures almost always yield better boat speed combined with better steering accuracy from the self-steering system.

The performance of a windvane steering system actually improves as wind and sea conditions build

Every self-steering system has its own performance profile; it always delivers the same steering force in the same conditions. Differences in performance arise as a result of the characteristics of the vessel to be steered and, in particular, as a result of the willingness of the crew to trim the sails properly (of course they generally have ample time and opportunity to do so).

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