Originally Posted by Wotname
G'day, has anyone made their own windvane steering
system or are about to.
I am currently working on my DIY windvane using Bill Belcher's book Wind-Vane Self Steering
as a guide for a horizontal axis non pendulum vane.
I would like to hear from others and share ideas or perhaps someone point me towards a past thread on the subject.
I built with the help of my friends the OGT Mk2 from Belcher's book for a trip to Hawaii
and back in 1985. We didn't scale it up at all, and as he claims that it works for boats up to 9 m, and I was putting it on a Cal
34 I had my doubts as to how well it would work downwind with less apparent wind
. That may be one of the reasons why we didn't spend a lot of time trying to get it to work on the downwind legs, in hindsight we were probably more interested in keeping our speed up and didn't work on trying to reduce sail area or try to get the center of effort farther forward, and we also had an electric autopilot
which handled the offwind work fine (except for one significant failure).
The OGT sailed us nearly the entire trip back from Hawaii
. That year as we approached the latitude that was supposed to have the westerlies, the high moved over us to the north, so after a week and a half close reaching on starboard, then a day of dead calm, we completed most of the rest of the trip, nearly a week and a half on port close reaching. It was only the last couple of days that the wind
freed up, then a big low started chasing us.
The only major variation from the book that I recall
was that we used a broken Laser mast
and the collar between the two sections of the mast
to make the post and pivot to rotate the vane. The cast aluminum
cleat to hold the vane in position failed on the first day. A pipe wrench lashed to the post provided the leverage and a way to lock the vane in place was used for the rest of the trip.
To elaborate on the hombuilt electronic autopilot
failure, as I went below to put on foulies since I saw rain approaching, one of the two bolts that formed the fork to lay the tiller in on the autopilot's ram arm, sheared off and the boat jibed. The boom vang
which was led to a pad eye on the deck
to make a preventer, prevented the boom from jibing, from the attachment point on the boom to the mast. The rest of the boom jibed. 3 hours later with three sections of 4 foot long 1" aluminum
U channel scewed to three sides of the boom we had the main back up.
My wife and friend are in the photo
obscuring part of the vane