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Old 30-12-2016, 20:04   #1
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Cape Horn Wind Vane autopilot

I installed this and have for short periods of time have gotten it to work. Can anyone with direct personal experience with this equipment tell me about their experience and the sequence they follow when they engage it both for sail and when using a tiller pilot. Sometimes it works great. Most times it just drifts off to port. Your help will be much appreciated. Thanks.
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Old 31-12-2016, 06:21   #2
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Re: Cape Horn Wind Vane autopilot

There are several ways to install this vane depending on boat type. Describe how it's installed, where the lines engage the vane.Whether your control lines are hooked directly to the steering quadrant or directly to the tiller. If properly installed these vanes are usually fairly easy to engage and working well assuming it's in good condition and installed properly.
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Old 31-12-2016, 08:38   #3
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Re: Cape Horn Wind Vane autopilot

The lines are attached directly to the steering quadrant. My question is the sequence of acts that engage the sytsem both with the wind and the tiller pilot.
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Old 31-12-2016, 09:07   #4
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Re: Cape Horn Wind Vane autopilot

Tiller pilot aside..I'm assuming the lines come up into the cockpit and both are installed with some form of cleat stopper, jamb cleat, that sort of thing. Steer your boat to the desired heading ensuring your sails are properly set and the helm is balanced and try to hold it, turn the windvane so that it lines itself with the wind and tries to remain upright. Now pull both engage lines equally and cleat them. At this point in time the vane will be driving the boat. You can now make small adjustments to the vane to get closer to your original heading. Remember these vanes follow the wind only so if the wind varies in direction so will your heading. Offshore the winds are usually steady so your course stays within 10 degrees or so. It's very important to have your sails very well balanced to help the vane do its job. Vanes are especially sensitive to large degrees of helm so make it a habit to reduce the main when your in stronger winds.

Your tiller pilot replaces the windvane so once the vane is removed and you've attached a tiller pilot the game is exactly the same except the tiller pilot will be feeding the vane compass headings rather than wind direction so you'll stay on a compass course. The tiller pilot allows you to use a cheap pilot to drive the boat when there is no wind or maybe your just coastal cruising but either way the set ups are the same. Let me know how it goes or if you need more info. Cheers, R
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Old 01-01-2017, 09:19   #5
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Re: Cape Horn Wind Vane autopilot

Last winter I installed the smaller Jean du Sud Cap Horn vane with extended windvane post to raise it above the bimini on our J42. The horizontal tube is mounted just to starboard of the midships stern swim ladder, and the oar is the standard length for that unit. It does a superb job of sailing closehauled, and reaches well on port tack if the helm is balanced, with a bit more wander on starboard as the oar loses some area. Broad reaching is more challenging as the apparent wind is less in moderate conditions, and tends to oscillate forward as she begins surfing down waves as it breezes up.

I engage as Yves Gelinas and Robert S suggest by engaging the hydraulic autopilot on the desired course, trim sails to balance the helm (reefing the main early to have no more than 1/2 spoke of weather helm), then first tension the bear-away tail of the quadrant control line in the jam cleat under the helm seat to dial in some weather helm neutralization, finally taking the slack out of the round up control line tail. Then the autopilot can be switched to standby of shut off. One of the nicest things about the vane sailing down east is that you can manually head up or bear away to dodge lobster pots without disengaging the vane, and it comes right back to the dialed in apparent wind angle.
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