Self-steering redundancy

Preparing for the long distances in the Pacific... We've successfully added a tiller autopilot to our Hydrovane rudder. So if we lose the main autopilot (or the main rudder), the Hydrovane can now steer via wind or tiller-pilot. [Auto-Pilot = AP from now on...]

With several 1000 - 2000+ nautical mile passages in the Pacific, having self-steering redundancy is key to us. We have a spare linear drive for our main AP. This is statistically the part to break. However, we do not carry spares for all electronics for the main AP.

The Hydrovane wind-vane is our back up self-steering device. It is completely independent to the main steering and main AP. It was proven during our first Atlantic crossing when a stainless steel pin broke, making the main AP non-operational for the last 7 days of the passage.

Having seen many tiller-pilot installation examples on, we started to design ours for Horizon.

Our main goals for the installation are:

  • Simple to install and remove.

  • No negative impact on space or workability in the cockpit or swim platform.

  • Reachable to operate from the helm.

  • Professional design to avoid it to look "home-made.

How we imagine to utilize the tiller pilot:

  • Obviously as a back-up if the main AP breaks.

  • Uses less power than the main auto-pilot [assumption, not verified at this point]

  • No auto-pilot noise inside the boat. This is not a big issue, but the main auto-pilot can be heard while resting in the aft cabin.

  • No wear and tear on the main AP or the main steering.

Please see the design document below:

Tiller Pilot for Hydrovane.pptx