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Old 18-07-2014, 09:50   #1
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Solar Panel Draft Affecting Wind Vane Function?

I'm mounting an wind vane">Aries wind vane on a Pearson Triton. I'm also building a mount for my 100w solar panel on the stern rail. Using Bimini Hardware, it's going to be about 20" above the stern rail.

The plane of the solar panel will likely be somewhere in the middle of the windvane blade. I'm concerned that it might affect the performance of the windvane when sailing to windward, because there will be a lot of turbulent air coming off the panel. There is not a lot of space back there, so it's hard to separate the two.

On the other hand, I'm thinking it might not be too much of a problem because the wind will never becoming directly forward, it will be coming at an angle when going to windward, which would lessen any affects of the panel. And my understanding is that going to windward is the easiest for the windvane to control. I assume there would be little to no affect when the boat is on a reach or run.

Any thoughts on this?
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Old 18-07-2014, 12:23   #2
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Re: Solar Panel draft affecting wind vane function?

It might work. Have seen a lot of boats with unbelievable clutter in the stern that have wind vanes. You aren't blocking the wind just disturbing it's flow over a portion of the vane. Your boat will probably sail itself to windward without the vane in any case. Vane comes into its own as you fall off the wind. Still, would look into other possible location like on the stern pulpit/lifelines for the panels. Another possibility would be a rigid dodger with the panels on top.
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Old 18-07-2014, 16:07   #3
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Re: Solar Panel draft affecting wind vane function?

We've got a lot of clutter on our stern, including a mizzen sail. What I've found, even with the mizzen covered, is that the eddies and vortices made the vane unstable on a beat, as the boat heels the air changes direction, there is a wind shadow created and you go slowly insane.
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Old 19-07-2014, 09:32   #4
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Re: Solar Panel draft affecting wind vane function?

That's not very reassuring. What kind of boat?


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Old 19-07-2014, 10:28   #5
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Re: Solar Panel draft affecting wind vane function?

Quote:
Originally Posted by sully75 View Post
That's not very reassuring. What kind of boat?


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Old 19-07-2014, 12:34   #6
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Re: Solar Panel draft affecting wind vane function?

IMHO all and any turbulence will affect vane's performance (and hence wind steering) upwind. From beam reach onwards, you should notice little if any influence.

The good news is upwind most boats self steer pretty well without vanes.

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Old 19-07-2014, 16:18   #7
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Re: Solar Panel draft affecting wind vane function?

I had a reasonable amount of solar around the stern. Didnt noticably effect the windvane. A longer windvane might help to get it up into clear air. I made a tall tapered blade. Worked great.
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Old 10-08-2014, 12:42   #8
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Solar Panel draft affecting wind vane function?

I have a similar set up on an Alberg 30, but with a 60 watt solar panel. It is a lot of windage aft and I keep the height of the panel below the the bottom of the vane to avoid interference with the vane. The vane is the most important system on the boat, so should get priority, me thinks.

At some point I will get rid of the big solar panel and mount two or three smaller panels (long and narrow) on the side of the boat, off the life lines.


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