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Old 09-04-2013, 12:42   #1
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Windpilot wind-vane self-steering gears

I am looking for evaluations for either of the Windpilot 'Pacific' and 'Pacific Light' wind-vane self-steering gears. My 30 foot sloop is right on the border between recommendations for the two systems, and I'd like advice on choosing between them.
Comments welcome on either gear from users of same - not necessarily comparisons. I would also like comments on how well remote control functions - how easily is setting and changing course accomplished from the far end of the cockpit?
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Old 17-04-2013, 07:00   #2
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Originally Posted by Billy Higgins View Post
I am looking for evaluations for either of the Windpilot 'Pacific' and 'Pacific Light' wind-vane self-steering gears. My 30 foot sloop is right on the border between recommendations for the two systems, and I'd like advice on choosing between them.
Comments welcome on either gear from users of same - not necessarily comparisons. I would also like comments on how well remote control functions - how easily is setting and changing course accomplished from the far end of the cockpit?
I bought a well used Pacific and installed in Fiji on a 39ft Corbin ketch. One of the best things Ive done. Had several days of 35 plus knots between Fiji and Vanauatu, the autopilot quit so I was forced to rely on the vane. It steered well down wind even with worn bearings. I machined new ones out of delrin and installed in the Solomons. It has steered well on all points in light and heavy air. The only problem was getting the servo blade in the right position for balance. Since I have a center cockpit changing course settings is a bit of a pain, but I have an old model. The new onea look easier.
Joe
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Old 19-04-2013, 00:57   #3
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Re: Windpilot wind-vane self-steering gears

I used to own a S&S Swan 40 fitted with a Pacific vane gear. Not very responsive below 12kts of wind and 4kts of boat speed. Gained the nickname, "The Sulky Hun". I considered it inferior to the Monitor that I had on the previous 2 boats, but superior to the Hydrovane which is attached to my current boat.
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Old 19-04-2013, 01:20   #4
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Re: Windpilot wind-vane self-steering gears

I've got a WindPilot Paciifc Plus that I bought used. It's an auxiliary rudder unit with the Pendulum Servo providing the power to steer the auxillary rudder. It's worked very well though I've had a few issues. The mounting bolts keep loosening even though they are fitted with NyLok nuts. Will add lock washers before my next long passage.

Vane steered DDW in force 2-3 relative wind without a hitch all the way to Hawaii. Did change the wood wind vane for a lightweight 8"x48" corrugated plastic one which made the wind paddle steering input way more sensitive for light air sailing. The rudder will steer the boat from ghosting conditions with barely a ripple of a wake all the way up to 40k winds.

A family came through on a 45-50' fin keel steel boat that had the WindPilot Pacific. Said it steered the boat well but was probably as large a boat as you'd want to use the vane on.
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Old 19-04-2013, 03:09   #5
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Re: Windpilot wind-vane self-steering gears

I am also looking for a vane and have settled on either a second hand Fleming or new Windpilot Pacific. I have only seen positive feedback for either of the vanes installed on smaller yachts.

On the Windpilot website the Pacific Light is listed as being suitable for boats less than 27 ft and 2,500 kgs. As my boat is 30ft and about 4,000kgs I discounted the Pacific Light in favour of the Pacific. I suspect that a long keeled boat could get away with a lighter vane than a fin keeled yacht.

I'd send an email to Windpilot and ask his opinion as to whether the Pacific Light product is powerful enough for your type of boat and the sailing you wish to do. Peter, the guy who manufactures the Windpilot products is a good guy and very approachable.
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Old 26-04-2013, 16:57   #6
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Re: Windpilot wind-vane self-steering gears

Installed a Windpilot Pacific on our Pacific Seacraft 37 and am most pleased with the entire experience.

First, I also had some questions about sizing. Got directly in touch with Peter Foertmann (peter@windpilot.com) who's both the brain and brawn behind the product. He's extremely responsive and I took his advice -- based on installing hundreds of these units on all manner of boats -- with complete confidence.

Second, the unit is quite straight forward to install. Everything is well thought out to minimize through-hull penetrations and maximize adjustability (both for different transom designs and to cope with any variations in hole placement). Once installed, the unit is surprisingly compact, much smaller physically and visually than, say, a Monitor.

Third, operation is pretty simple. It's helpful to build yourself a continuous loop of line to turn the main horizontal control knob. Then you just balance up the sails (like any windvane, too much weather helm will overpower it), crank the loop until the unit is facing into the wind, and lock it down. You then use the same control loop to tweak the boat's orientation -- more upwind, downwind, whatever. I sail mostly single-handed and use it on all but the shortest tacks.

Fourth, performance is terrific. It loves high winds, on any point of sail. And it does very well in light conditions, too, including broad reaching under geneker and running dead downwind with genoa poled-out wing-and-wing.

Best of luck.
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