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Old 19-07-2018, 08:09   #1
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DIY self steering ?

Hi folks, regarding self steering:
I have been trying to design a system that would use my main rudder, being transom hung, with an added trim tab - the trim tab being activated by either a horizontal or a vertical windvane. "Inca" being a bilge keeler would, I think, be better steered with a horizontal windvane, as they are supposed to be more sensitive and faster acting.
The vertical windvane has simpler mechanics, but does anyone know of or heard of a 29ft bilge keeler been steered by that system ? The Hasler windvane of this type uses a " differential linkage" that overcomes possible oversteering troubles...
Am I wasting my time trying to design and build something that could turn out not appropriate for my boat, a Sadler29, instead of buying a tried and tested one (2nd hand) ? of course, it's a matter of money...
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Old 19-07-2018, 08:23   #2
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Re: DIY self steering ?

Assuming you have a tiller, why not do a py/tinypilot instead? It use minimal power and is much less expensive than making or purchasing a windvane.

It is run on a small computer (RPi) that can also be used with OpenCPN to give you a very powerful electronic navigation system.

Just a thought.


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Old 19-07-2018, 08:38   #3
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Re: DIY self steering ?

You'd better to get the "Self-Steering for Sailing Craft by John S Letcher Jr".
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Old 19-07-2018, 15:30   #4
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Re: DIY self steering ?

The Autohelm windvane works this way and has the simplest linkages of any windvane I've seen, utilising 2 bike brake cables to transfer the vane movement to the trimtab.


The Tiny Pilot suggestion is also a good one but at this stage IMO only relevant to programmers and Linux gurus. Hopefully this will change as more info gets out there on how to implement this.
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Old 20-07-2018, 05:02   #5
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Re: DIY self steering ?

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Originally Posted by CGirvan View Post
The Tiny Pilot suggestion is also a good one but at this stage IMO only relevant to programmers and Linux gurus. Hopefully this will change as more info gets out there on how to implement this.

Actually there is a ton of info out there on how to set up an RPi with the base Linux programming. If you are not a "programmer", then download OpenPlotter

With that said, we are not anything close to programmers and only found out about the RPis a couple of years ago. Even with our limited knowledge in this subject, we could find enough info out there to download OCPN from source. IMO this is just as powerful as any of the commercial navigation systems, but can be easily customized to fit the application at a fraction of the cost.


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Old 20-07-2018, 05:39   #6
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Re: DIY self steering ?

See if you can find bill belchers book. Windvane self steering. If not PM me.

Ive sailed a few boats with vertical axis vanes to trim tabs. It worked ok but a fair bit of wandering about downwind. A horizontal may work better. Only one way to find out!

You can hook a cheap Tillerpilot to the trimtab provided you understand the feedback issues, but I've found the propwash causes a fair bit of problems to the trimtab, it generally flutters badly when the engine is running. If I was going to go a trimtab Id look at making it hinge or slide out of the water. Prehaps something like the old quartermaster unit.

Here is a sadler 29 with what looks like a trimtab unit.
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Old 20-07-2018, 10:19   #7
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Re: DIY self steering ?

If you have a lot of time to waste and excellent fabricating skills you might come out ahead. For the rest of us, buy a used commercial unit. With a little patience you can find a good one for under 2 boat units. The time it was will take to design, fabricate and fine tune your efforts will be a hol in the water.
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Old 20-07-2018, 10:28   #8
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Re: DIY self steering ?

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Originally Posted by Bill O View Post
Actually there is a ton of info out there on how to set up an RPi with the base Linux programming. If you are not a "programmer", then download OpenPlotter

With that said, we are not anything close to programmers and only found out about the RPis a couple of years ago. Even with our limited knowledge in this subject, we could find enough info out there to download OCPN from source. IMO this is just as powerful as any of the commercial navigation systems, but can be easily customized to fit the application at a fraction of the cost.


Bill O.

Totally agree with openplotter, not so much with pypilot. I'm unfortunately neither a programmer or a linux guru and was able to sort out a working basic openplotter setup. Getting a working pypilot setup is I think still not as well documented and would be much more of a challenge for noobs.
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Old 20-07-2018, 10:30   #9
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Re: DIY self steering ?

I agree with Roverhi. The price of a Hydrovane is probably out of budget but there are cheaper alternatives. You mention a horizontal vane because you have bilge keels, but actually a bilge keel yacht will turn on a sixpence compared to a long keeled yacht, certainly ours does.

Some of the cheaper windvanes available in Europe are:

Prices For Neptune Windvane Self Steering Yacht System UK

https://windvaneselfsteering.com/catalog/1

Or how about a UK one from a kit?

http://www.windvaneselfsteering.co.uk/
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Old 20-07-2018, 10:44   #10
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Re: DIY self steering ?

Over moderate time periods (no more than a few hours) I wonder what the difference in function is between a simply tiller pilot on magnetic and a wind vane is?


First, off the wind I have found that a compass setting is generally more stable that app wind, since the wind changes to quickly with the passage of waves. (App wind is better up wind, but that is more complex and expensive. You can still use mag upwind by bearing off a few degrees.)



Second, windvanes always allow a fair amount of wandering, particularly on smaller boats.



Yes, a tiller pilot uses some power, but solar is cheap. It uses less if the sails are well balanced. It is easy to carry a spare. Overall, I doubt the cost or reliability of a wind vane (they break too) will beat a cheap tiller pilot.


----


In other words, explain how a wind vane is better. I'm not getting it. Maybe, for a long sleep, but that's wrong.
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Old 20-07-2018, 11:16   #11
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Re: DIY self steering ?

The two windvanes I quoted above are 1600 - 1800. Todays price for an Raymarine ST2000 is 600. So a couple of them would be an interesting option. However, mulitple reports of them not being waterproof could be a problem, though ours worked faultlessly for a decade before I sold it.

For coastal sailing then the tiller pilot is simple and quick to install. For crossing an ocean? hmm. Hand steering was hard enough with a crew, I wouldn't want to do it single handed.

There is also another side of course, that's the fun side of building or leaning how to use a windvane.

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Old 20-07-2018, 11:18   #12
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Re: DIY self steering ?

I own a beneteau first 26 with transform hagging rudder , i fixed my own trim tab windvane and works fine , follow Bernard montesie design .
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Old 20-07-2018, 11:41   #13
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Re: DIY self steering ?

Larry Pardey built a trim tab wind vane to work off his transom hung rudder, i allays like the looks and simplicity of the system, the rudder of coarse supports the rudder and the back stay supports the wind vane, very nice and clean setup, with minimum weight, with some research, you should be able to locate some plans, and build it without breaking the bank.
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Old 20-07-2018, 12:19   #14
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Re: DIY self steering ?

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T... However, mulitple reports of them not being waterproof could be a problem, though ours worked faultlessly for a decade before I sold it....
I had two--both lasted over a decade. I'd like to say I covered them in the rain, but I didn't. But you could.

That said, the repair record of windvanes is hardly unblemished. Just look at the most recent Golden Globe Race.


I can't help feeling this is like the sextant; interesting, but ultimately obsolete. This from a guy that hates electronics.
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Old 20-07-2018, 14:21   #15
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Re: DIY self steering ?

I built one of those Bill Belcher wind vanes using the plans in his book. It worked well on our Roberts 25.
Not sure I would build one again now that we have internet shopping and the ability to look at thousands of ads via Gumtree and Craigslist. I managed to pick up a Monitor wind vane for $1000 here in Oz.
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