There's no arguing that steering a sailing boat by hand can be very exhilarating - but not for hour after hour. Even the most dedicated helmsman will sooner or later be looking to engage the autopilot.
And these days, odds are it will be an electrically driven one.
Not that there's anything wrong with that, providing you have the means to generate sufficient power to satiate the beast's prodigious appetite for your precious amps.
But reliability isn't one of their strong points either, so you could find yourself back on the helm before too long.
Of course you know where this is heading - I'm going to start singing the praises of windvane self-steering gears.
Well yes, guilty as charged!
"Just how do wind vane systems keep the boat on course?"
"I know there are different types of windvane self-steering systems available but how do they compare?"
"Does the size of my boat have any bearing on the vane gear I should choose?"
"My boat has a centre cockpit. Is there a vane gear design that's compatible with this type of layout?"
"My boat's got wheel steering. Does this rule out a windvane self-steering system?"
Good questions! The answers to which are set out - in detail - in Andrew Simpson's eBook'Secrets of Windvane Self Steering'.
Miraculous though these devices might seem, there are limits to what they can achieve. Self-Steering issues are likely to occur with the extremes of sailboat designs such as very heavy monohulls, very light designs (especially multihulls) and flat-bottomed, beamy designs.
Andrew explains the cause of these problems and outlines the measures that can be taken to help Wind Vane Self-Steering Gears earn their keep.
Incredibly, you can be reading this excellent, easy to understand and lavishly illustrated eBook in the next few minutes for