Before my Maramu on a small long keeler I had a Monitor wind vane /autohelm and sailed extensively with it. It was truly brilliant. One of my favourite things on the boat.
I’ve also sailed a lot on a family boat long distance with a Hydrovane. Also excellent and adds an emergency rudder to the list of positives and no control lines either 👍
So I always assumed I’d only ever sail long distance with a similar steering device.
My 1985 Maramu has no such purely mechanical wonders. Instead it has some complex electronics 😎 I’ve inherited with the boat
(a Raymarine spx corepack apparently. It looks ok and seems to work well. Perhaps 7 yrs a old )
I believe the bigger SMs have backup electric autopilots which sounds like a great idea but I don’t have this on my Maramu.
I’ll be sailing across the Atlantic and perhaps further with my wife and 2 young children
The thought of potential autohelm problems whilst short handed are making me consider a mechanical wind vane. The hydrovane specifically.
Having never owned an electronic autopilot before I’d value this groups experience wrt reliability and spares carried. I believe they are largely ‘sealed units’ so tend to just work. Or not!
Many thanks for any thoughts or experience offered.