Most people know how to turn their pilot on and off and adjust headings either using the 10 degree or 1 degree increment buttons. Some may switch between compass and wind direction, but in most cases it will be compass heading that is used.
Yet today’s autopilots are capable of steering as well or, in some conditions better than a human. But to achieve this means understanding the next level of controls, how they work along with when and why you might want to adjust them.
To do this requires a bit more time in setup but it is time well spent, especially if you are sailing shorthanded and/or offshore.
“In broad terms the amount of angle and the way in which it is delivered to the autopilot ram is calculated from the sum of three key factors known as; ‘Proportional’, ‘Integral’ and ‘Derivative’ feedback control, better known as PID,” explains B&G Product Director Matt Eeles. “On board the boat these three factors can be adjusted by the helmsman using three functions.”