FC-22 Electrionics dilema

My Jolly Dolphin (SLM hull #3) has a nice Auto Helm 4000 plus electronic steering system that is currently integrated with the Garmin 3205 GPS. Very nice system but for me it is just too complicated and takes up too much space. The electrical wiring and room needed to mount and connect everything for the AH 4000, just complicates the simple (and compact) design of the FC-22. So here is the question, and I am trying to make it concise but?.

I am a novice sailor (I know and have done basic sailing (Hobie cats at the beach, punts, and other small sailboats around lakes/ponds), could get most any sailboat home from point A to point B and I am not an idiot so have confidence in a relatively short learning curve. I will spend June and July on the Chesapeake this summer learning the boat, the Bay and hopefully gain skill and confidence. I hope to do the ICW next winter to Florida and then back up to the Bay following summer?OK I am getting to it?

I don?t want to be the guy that has all the fancy equipment to navigate for me, so was thinking of yanking out the AH 4000 and the pasta bowl of wiring and put it on E-Bay and focus on sailing (actually at the helm) and learning to wind vane. JD has an old but what appears to be a very functional Hassler Wind Vane. Then once I know the boat and my wants/needs and if I find I want/need an electronic auto-helm buy a simpler, smaller unit that simply points in the direction I want when motoring or whatever. Bu something that does not need all the wiring and take up the physical and aesthetic space of a well planned but still tight interior?is this thinking wrong? Suggestions???

Anyone around Annapolis need a nice Auto Helm :slight_smile: ???

Peace and fair winds,


You can do it without, but GPS has advanced as far as it has because it is a very helpful device, concisely giving users pertinent information for the navigational safety. If one does not rely solely on it for navigating, it is another great aid to navigation.

I suggest keeping the autopilot as it is most convenient to attach it to the tiller and allow it to steer on long runs down channels and the like. A windvane will only work if you’re sailing, so if you plan to do much under motor, such as running the ICW, it will be very handy, If only so you can jump below for a second to top up your coffee. Or snuggle up behind the companionway with your hands in your pockets because the wind is sapping your tiller hand’s life away, or you want to do some reading against the coach while running the next 20 miles…using two hands.

It is really common to see people load up with too much “stuff”, encumbering their ability to enjoy sailing, the arts involved, and often safety. But dropping it all to go solo with little experience is just as extreme of a move. Instead, I suggest spending some time organizing the spider’s web of wires in a neet bundle, then taking an hour to read the manual or just fiddle with the GPS. It’s not hard to use and minimize the intrusion of electronics whilst gaining their benefit, if you’re willing to spend the time.

Good luck!

Thanks Aaron, sage advice. Oh I was definitely planning on keeping the GPS no if and or butts. Just the souped up AH I was talking about, but still I agree. Part of it is I think the fear of the unknown that is right now the AH and it’s workings are beyond my schema. No reference. So point well taken and as always…

Peace and fair winds,