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Old 11-02-2013, 22:42   #16
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Re: Downwind Running On A Windvane - How Do You Get It To Work?

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when we want to reef the main it's convenient to heave-to with the poled out jib backed.
Yay! at last ! someone who tries the same quirky sh*t as me, (and finds out how unexpectedly well it works !)

Proviso : strong pole if it's blowing. (and why else would you reef the main, unless you've got a weather helm piglet)

I like to make beefy telescopic running poles with an acetal "piston" like a hydraulic cylinder at the inboard end of the inner tube, but instead of oil, using 16 or 25mm webbing running around internal flat-sheave pulleys at the outboard end, in the annular space between ID of outer pole and OD of inner pole - to extend - 4:1 for big boats, 2:1 for small - works sweet.

I then take the webbing along the outside of the pole to the inboard end- which thrums a bit when it blows, unless you slap a bungy round it ... then through a purpose-built cam cleat, and then it dives inside.
Thence round a mirror image tackle running to the aft end of the piston, which makes the webbing self-stowing. And acts as an inhaul. It's useful to design the cam cleat to be bi-directional.

PM me anyone who wants to build one - I probably could dig up some drawings

With a telescopic pole, if it's shortened down, it becomes really strong because it's double-skinned.
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Old 11-02-2013, 23:45   #17
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Re: Downwind Running On A Windvane - How Do You Get It To Work?

I have had 3 cruising boats. One with a Quartermaster vane (Contessa 26) , two with Aries (37 foot steel boat) and (Peterson 44) . Dead down wind is my favorite point of sail. The Contessa didnt roll badly and we averaged 110 miles a day from Mexico to the Marquesas. As much as possible of that trip was DDW. I didnt really like broad reaching with it since it would accelerate and slow down so much that it was not a comfortable ride. The Quartermaster never gybed once on the whole trip. Main was prevented and jib was poled out. Reef and reduce sail as needed for wind strength. Never got the steel boat into trade wind conditions, so I cant say how it was DDW. I installed an Aries on the Peterson with the intent of taking it into the Pacific, but that plan was given up on in Panama. The ride from Antigua to Panama was a heavy air DDW run with the Aries doing all of the steering. Much of the trip was the reefed main prevented, and a number 2 poled out. I ran both of the steering lines up the port side so that I could get around the wheel, and that didnt seem to effect the steering. Yes I used ball bearing blocks. I didnt realize how windy it was until I saw a large tanker pass us going the opposite way, and it was taking green water and spray 2/3 of the way down its deck. Aries was wonderful, Peterson was comfortable, and we did some real high mileage days. I have never played with an adjustable pole, but Andrews idea sounds very good.___My 2 cents worth,____Grant.
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Old 12-02-2013, 00:27   #18
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Re: Downwind Running On A Windvane - How Do You Get It To Work?

I dislike pure downwind sailing. So as daddle said, we bear off 10 or 15 degs and take long tacks, much more comfortable and a lot less work and on our colvin with a aries vane it worked well doing that ! found in the long run we ran a little longer distances then the downwind sailors, but got there at pretty much the same time as they did and were a lot more rested and better able to enjoy our sailing !! We believe in being comfortable when we sail, so mostly wont run stright downwind or beat hard into it ! just sayin we are cruiseing not raceing !!
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Old 12-02-2013, 00:34   #19
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Re: Downwind Running On A Windvane - How Do You Get It To Work?

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It is also possible to construct a light air vane for your system. Depending on the specific design of your rig, a larger area but similar weight vane made of "doorskin" veneer or other very light material can increase its response to the small apparent wind speed downwind. You may have to change the counterweight as well... some are adjustable.
Thanks, that also was my idea.

Taco.
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Old 12-02-2013, 00:50   #20
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Re: Downwind Running On A Windvane - How Do You Get It To Work?

We use a monitor wind vane and it came with 2 vanes, one for use in light/downwind sailing. We love it and have had great success direct downwind crossing both the Atlantic and Pacific. But I agree with bobconnie, very often it is much more comfortable to bear off 15 degrees and make long tacks and if it gets rolly we will do this. In fact John Neal, who has crossed all the oceans and sailed close to 300,000 miles only does this.
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Old 12-02-2013, 02:49   #21
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Re: Downwind Running On A Windvane - How Do You Get It To Work?

Still on the twin headsails theme - although we may be straying a little from the original question - rather than setting the leeward one flying, if you have a twin luffgroove foil you can furl them together when you need to reduce sail.

But when hoisting the second headsail, make sure that the luff groove is facing forward - if it isn't, a gybe will ensure that it is.

Why? Well, if you try to hoist the sail with the groove facing aft, the wind will blow the sail around the foil and the resulting friction will be such that you won't be able to hoist the sail. This illustrated article explains...
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Old 12-02-2013, 04:36   #22
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Re: Downwind Running On A Windvane - How Do You Get It To Work?

Jibs are much cheaper than mains so, if there is a choice, the main stays stowed in the Trades. On a ketch we found the mizzen stays'l a good puller in daylight but took it in at nightfall for peace of mind.
The Twizzle rig was brilliant. No chafe. Reef/shake out single-handed. No fancy, expensive special gear needed. Kills some rolling. Works through +-150 degrees.
Just two jibs + two poles + rope. My Twizzle rig experience here.

Aries (my only experience) work well on a balanced yacht but I'd rather have davits as a cruiser. You spend much more time at anchor and shuttling ashore than crossing oceans.

I would rather spend the money on a towed generator and solar panels and spares for the autopilot. We all have an autopilot?

It's what I love about cruising - we all have different ideas based on our expereiences. It makes great reading!
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Old 12-02-2013, 05:44   #23
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Re: Downwind Running On A Windvane - How Do You Get It To Work?

I'm using Windpilot windvane (WINDPILOT: selfsteering under sail) for years and very happy with it. Works great in all conditions and any point of sail for as long as vessel does at least 2 kt thru the water.
There also is an excellent book "Self Steering Without A Windvane" by Lee Woas. Hard to find and was expensive when I bought it ...
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Old 12-02-2013, 07:04   #24
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Re: Downwind Running On A Windvane - How Do You Get It To Work?

If nothing else works, try hooking a small tiller autopilot to the vane gear (with the wind paddle removed), you get the power of the vane gear while keeping the power draw low.
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Old 12-02-2013, 10:49   #25
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Re: Downwind Running On A Windvane - How Do You Get It To Work?

Smacksman, I agree that cruisers spend far more time at anchor than off shore, But I have never heard of people at anchor getting to the stage of mind numbing fatigue and making dangerous errors that comprimise safety. There are many tales of that sort of thing when auto pilots or even the whole electrical system packs up on a passage ,and the small crew, or single hander has to steer in all conditions. Auto pilots are wonderful, but they are not as reliable as a vane. I would put a vane above an auto pilot on the(What am I going to spend my money on?) list. Having both is ideal if you can afford it. A coastal cruiser is a whole different situation, and I would go for the auto pilot first. As you said different opinions (and that is what all of this is) make for interesting reading. ______Grant.
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Old 12-02-2013, 11:20   #26
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Re: Downwind Running On A Windvane - How Do You Get It To Work?

I've found that the best downwind ring for my boat is: Wing and wing with the genoa poled out as normal. Then set your heavy weather jib on the removeable forestay and sheet it hard to leeward.

Suddenly the boat starts tracking straight and stops rolling. Works like magic! No need for expensive "roll your brains out" twin headsail/twistle rigs, Even my crummy hydrovane can steer the boat in a straight line (just!)
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Old 12-02-2013, 12:49   #27
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Re: Downwind Running On A Windvane - How Do You Get It To Work?

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Smacksman, I agree that cruisers spend far more time at anchor than off shore, But I have never heard of people at anchor getting to the stage of mind numbing fatigue and making dangerous errors that comprimise safety. There are many tales of that sort of thing when auto pilots or even the whole electrical system packs up on a passage ,and the small crew, or single hander has to steer in all conditions. Auto pilots are wonderful, but they are not as reliable as a vane. I would put a vane above an auto pilot on the(What am I going to spend my money on?) list. Having both is ideal if you can afford it. A coastal cruiser is a whole different situation, and I would go for the auto pilot first. As you said different opinions (and that is what all of this is) make for interesting reading. ______Grant.
I go along with never put your life on the line for one system.
Good to plan on everything breaking.
And wind vanes break as well and with some makes, spares are difficult to replace. Give me a stainless construction anytime - it can be repaired most places. Break an ally casting and you may be stuck. Oh, and don't go to sleep too long. The wind can change and pile you up ashore. Remember Gypsy Moth?
I did one delivery with 150gals of fresh water in the tank and no means of easily getting it out when the pump broke. Yep. If it can break, it will.
My 44ft smack had no engine and no electrics, no GPS, no winches, and still things broke! haha.
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Old 12-02-2013, 14:05   #28
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Re: Downwind Running On A Windvane - How Do You Get It To Work?

We've gone around the Pacific and the world on our cutter rigged Endurance 35 using an Aries connected to a vertical tiller in the lazerette then to a cable quadrant on the rudder post - open a ball valve to let the hydraulic steering fluid circulate freely. As soon as the apparent wind goes aft of the beam we get rid of the main and run on head sails only - still using hank ons so can match sail area from 3 to 50 knots. We have 2 poles and like to sail 10 degrees one side or the other of dead down wind. Nanamuk is heavy so never have the problem of boat speed getting too close to wind speed! In big winds and seas we have had problems when surfing down into a trough the vane gets out of the true wind and sees the boat speed wind confusing the heck out of it - I either hand steer in these conditions or sit where I can manually tip the vane if we get surfing - you can hear the rumble of the really big waves coming so know when your help is going to be needed.
You will put far less stress on your steering gear by pulling a boat through the water(head sails) as compared to pushing it (main and or mizzen) and you won't break your boom or goose neck if you happen to gybe.
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Old 12-02-2013, 17:12   #29
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Re: Downwind Running On A Windvane - How Do You Get It To Work?

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I've found that the best downwind ring for my boat is: Wing and wing with the genoa poled out as normal. Then set your heavy weather jib on the removeable forestay and sheet it hard to leeward.

Suddenly the boat starts tracking straight and stops rolling. Works like magic! No need for expensive "roll your brains out" twin headsail/twistle rigs, Even my crummy hydrovane can steer the boat in a straight line (just!)
i'll try this - more solid gold!! What i particularly like about this is it suits my rig perfectly, i'll just be using whats already there in a different way - fantastic!
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Old 12-02-2013, 17:21   #30
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Re: Downwind Running On A Windvane - How Do You Get It To Work?

A tidbit of advice to anyone considering an Aries, or if you already have one. The Aries has what is called a breakaway sleeve that connects the paddle to the upper part of the shaft . It has a groove in the aluminum breakaway sleeve so that if the paddle gets caught on a line, or kelp, or backs into a dock, the sleeve breaks instead of the much more complicated upper parts. That is a great safety factor, BUT, many of the sleeves are so corroded onto the upper shaft that if you had one snap out at sea, you would never be able to remove the broken sleeve and put a replacement on. Both of my Aries came to me used, and they both had breakaways so stuck that I had to cut them off. When I replaced them I gave everything a good coating of lanolin and did that every year. I never had to change one at sea, but at least I knew it would only be a miserable job, and not an impossible job. I carried 2 spare sleeves and one spare plywood vane, and never broke anything at sea, but was prepared. Aries are wonderful, but they do require maintenance, just like everything else in a salt water environment.____Hope this helps someone._____Grant.
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