Almost all autopilots can be linked to a windvane transducer. This enables them to take the apparent wind angle signal as steering impulse. The signal comes either from the masthead unit or from a small windvane at the stern. Neither alternative produces particularly satisfactory results in any kind of swell, since the movements of the masthead unit caused by the motion of the boat, the effects of upwash from the mainsail or the confused readings of the stern-mounted unit caused by disturbed air have to be considerably damped and processed considerably to obtain a useful signal. The small size of autopilot windvanes often contributes to such problems.
The volume of data required to produce precise and practicable course commands for the steering module when using the course computer to calculate the apparent wind angle is substantial: rolling, pitching, speed, acceleration, wind angle and possibly also true parameters (true wind angle etc.) must all be processed. When sailing, the autopilot should always be set to steer to either the windvane transducer or the compass signal, and never to a navigation instrument or waypoint. The importance of sailing to the apparent wind angle cannot be understated; ignore it and the boat loses all its drive.
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Lets start by identifying what exactly certain boats are. Sometimes the terminology can get lost on beginners, so well look at some of the most common boats and what theyre called. These boats are exactly what the name implies. They are meant to be used for fishing. Most fishing boats are powered by outboard motors, and many also have a trolling motor mounted on the bow. Bass boats can be made of aluminium or fibreglass.