Yes, we know...

that you already carry an autopilot and we also know what brings you to our web site! Practically every sailor who ever contemplated buying a WINDPILOT system already had hands-on experience of electrical autopilots. Knowing about autopilots means recognizing their shortcomings and it is likely some combination of these that has driven you to start looking for a better way. Experience shows that if you want to avoid steering by hand for the duration, you need an autopilot and a WINDPILOT!

This is how the steering duties are assigned once you have the full team on your side:

  • the WINDPILOT steers under sail,
  • the autopilot steers under engine and
  • you or your crew only have to take the reins when entering or leaving the harbour.

Autopilot versus Windpilot

Windpilot: for

Autopilot: against

steers to the wind

steering a compass course under sail less than ideal

uses no electricity consumes electricity
available steering force increases as wind builds steering performance deteriorates as sea builds
responds immediately with no time lag delayed response
silent operation operating noise
mechanically reliable relatively unreliable
robust construction wind sensor not ideal
auxiliary rudder can double up as an emergency rudder discontinuous steering
all but unlimited service life

limited life expectancy

little wear on main rudder bearings

greater pressure on main rudder bearings

Windpilot: against

Autopilot: for



can be set up wrong

simple to operate

auxiliary rudder changes handling characteristics when manoeuvring

can be used when motoring

bathing ladder has to be offset to one side

can be networked with navigation instruments

no use in a flat calm


can be difficult to install

attractive price (cockpit autopilots)





Network capable?

yes no yes

Steering impulse

compass wind compass or wind

Steering force

constant force and speed increases in line with wind always optimal

Steering quality

deteriorates as wind and sea improves as wind and sea always optimal
build build

Continuous steering

no - pauses to save electricity yes - no pauses always optimal

Yawing angle

can be adjusted manually automatic yaw damping can be optimised
Motoring ideal not possible possible


push-button precise setting required always optimal