I have been thinking of a solution for instantly attaching the arm of the Autohelm to the steering line, and today it suddenly dawned on me how it could be done. I found the bits I required in my bosun’s box: a small length of MDPE yellow gas pipe; an old cleat, two bolts and nuts; a jubilee clip; a tiny piece of stainless rod for a fixing pin, and a small length of cord.
The fixing pin ensures there is no forward and backward movement of the gas pipe, and it is kept in place with the jubilee clip which also clamps the pipe to the end of the Autohelm’s arm.
The photos show how the device was made.
Attaching it to the line is almost instantaneous. A cord is permanently tied to the cleat and it is left hanging over the steering line. To engage the Autohelm, simply wind the cord around the steering line and cleat home. To ensure the steering line does not part from the cleat, make another turn around it and cleat home.
An advantage of this system over the double cord linkage is the immediacy of fixing and unfixing the rod to the steering line. Only one attachment has to be made, and because the attachment is rigid, there is no play.
I think this arrangement is superior to the one I had on ‘Faith’, but I’ll have to see what happens in practice.