Athene Technical

Windpilot

All long-distance sailors know the strain of a long voyage when someone always needs to be at the helm. Especially for a small crew of two people, a trip of several weeks will be very exhausting. No question an electric autopilot is a very large power consumer and can take a weakly equipped yacht its last ampere-hour.

On our last trip to the Canaries, we left Portugal with the electric autopilot at the helm. Next day, it quit its job for a few minutes at first, later at night it failed completely. We activated the Windpilot, and it did a great job. A tiny correction occasionally and the Yacht was always on track. Back home, we saw no need to use it any longer on the Baltic, we sold the Pacific and made another long-distance sailor very happy.

Of course one can not rely on one system only, well, at least we don’t and bought a new wind vane; The Pacific wind pilot of Peter Förthmann in Hamburg.

Already I can say the 1990 Windpilot model was a very solid and well-proofed system. Its 2018 successor is in every perspective an improvement. The flexible mounting, the crossbar, and the smooth metal rudder, which wouldn’t look out of place on an aircraft.

Just be judging its quality and know-how we can say this was one of the best investments. Since the wind pilot works purely mechanically and also reliably under unfavorable conditions (wind from astern or little wind), it needs no electricity for operation. Last but not least, it’s a possibility to save ampere-hours.