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rudder position after hand steering
I am using the wheel drive from an Autohelm 4000. There is a little lever to engage and disengage the motor for hand steering. It merely snugs up or loosens the belt. I assume that the old autopilot never knew where the rudder was except when at the stop from feedback from the straining motor. There is no sensor or end switches.

If I calibrate the rudder in pypilot, and then disengage to hand steer and then reengage, the autopilot won't be aware of where it is anyway, right? 
It will only be aware of the rudder position if you have a rudder feedback sensor. In this case, it won't matter if you are hand steering or not.
Is that a requirement or will the controller just work fine in that state of ignorance, as the Autohelm did?
It works fine. Try it for yourself. If you turn the rudder a lot and engage the autopilot, it will take time to correct but this would be making it difficult on the autopilot on purpose.

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