I must admit that I use the autopilot rarely. Somehow I like to control the yacht at all times and I never trust machines completely. However, the use of autopilot is sometimes inevitable – during transfers, solo sailing, when keeping the watch etc.
Whenever the autopilot was on I had to take special care of the steering wheel(s) in order to make them turn free – autopilot corrects heading by turning the wheels, not only the tiller.
The other pretty important thing to think about when using the autopilot is the energy consumption, especially when sailing. Since I rarely use the autopilot I never seriously thought about batteries and energy needed for proper function of the autopilot. I’m sure it is an important thing to think of when planning long sailing routes. Still, some experts who care about these issues more than me have brought the solution.
Danish company Jefa Steering has developed brand new rudder system with and option of turning off the steering wheel during navigation.
At first sight, what is so revolutionary in the system that makes steering wheels stand still while using autopilot? Will navigation be revolutionary changed after spending several hundred euros and mounting it in existing rudder system? Probably not revolutionary in epic dimensions but it will enhance some aspects of navigation for sure.
We are talking about a system that saves energy and crucial parts of autopilot and steering wheel when autopilot is on. Use of this system results in significant energy savings while navigation autonomy is significantly increased. At the same time, the entire autopilot system is used rather gently which prolong its lifetime.
New Jefa Steering system becomes even more useful when mounted in double rudder steering systems. The idea was to make a center bolt that controls the whole system and is placed inside the exsiting or the new steering system.
This system is easy to integrate in any Jefa Steering system while the outer design is not changed at all. A favorable price of 240 € for new system built into new classic system or some 500 € for system mounted into existing steering system makes this product even more attractive.
Last but not least, revolutionary new rudder system by Jefa Steering is nominated for DAME Awards as the best new system of the year!
I wish you a calm sea, a fine wind and a strong mast!