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 Hydrovane.com, 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: