Autopilots are one piece of electronics gear that truly has something to offer every sailor-from gunkholer to bluewater cruiser. Having this extra crewmember onboard not only eases the burden of shorthanded sailing, but also helps prevent helm fatigue. An autopilot allows solo sailors to use the head, more easily raise sails, or grab a bite to eat. Crewmembers can enjoy a passage, passing the time reading a book or watching the scenery without being a slave to the helm.
Due the lack of maintenance they receive from the average sailor, I often refer to bilge pumps as the Rodney Dangerfield of boat equipment, meaning they just don't get no respect. Its a funny, but also troubling statement, particularly as bilge pumps are often the first and only line of defense against sinking.