A recent Expert on Board article produced an interesting postbag revealing that a number of readers had been assuming the course ‘dialled up’ on their autopilot was accurate because the compass it was taking its data from was free of deviation. In practice, this is often not the case. Sometimes it’s far from it. The best solution is to steer the course manually with the autopilot on standby. When you’re happy that all is stable, clutch in the pilot, or hit ‘auto’. Finally, watch the steering compass as she settles to her course and make any fine-tuning alterations on the pilot. You’ll be surprised how many assumed ‘errors’ caused by ‘unexpected tide’ are actually deviation on the fluxgate compass.