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Old 02-02-2013, 23:53   #1
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Fleming Wind Vane - Wont work ?

We installed an old Fleming Minor wind vane this week on our 35' cutter. In the sea trials we could not get it to work

While motoring it would steer the boat through about 90 degrees before correcting. At least that worked. But sailing was a different matter. We had the sails balanced but it would just shoot off in one direction and not correct regardless what way we set it.

The instructions for this heritage unit are scant to say the least, written by someone who well knew how they worked, but could not relate it to others. The manuals for the latter models are better written but we are still in the dark as to how to set this thing properly.

We have taught but not guitar tight lines with minimal pulleys (2) from the unit to the wheel.

There is a small pulley on the top of the unit that runs a small cog meshing into the bigger ring gear. We imagine that it controls the course direction and tried to use it to set the course, but that did not work either.

If anyone has experience with these metalurgical masterpieces than we would love to hear what you have to say. Tips, tricks, etc.

PS: it is the first series of Fleming units produced.
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Old 03-02-2013, 00:26   #2
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Re: Fleming Wind Vane - Wont work ?

Here are some images to peruse.
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Old 03-02-2013, 00:31   #3
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Re: Fleming Wind Vane - Wont work ?

Decrease the tension in the lines until the start to sag. The lighter the winds the more sag you should have.
Replace all the blocks with ball bearing blocks
Use a silicon lubricant on anything you can on the vane gear.
Lube the steering wheel gear and all items in the power train back to the quadrant
Make sure the wheel brake is off.
Make sure the control lines aren't reversed.
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Old 03-02-2013, 01:30   #4
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Re: Fleming Wind Vane - Wont work ?

Thanks for the tips.

We will decrease tension, though we did have some slack lines on some runs as the knots were slipping at first.

Wheel brake is off, steering is not tight it can be done with one finger.

Tried reversing the control lines latter in the day when we were getting frustrated, they were correct the first time.

The vane was freshly lubed all over.

We did not use ball bearing blocks, but did choose the smoothest blocks we had out of an arsenal of dozens. BB blocks sure are a possibility though we are hesitant to run out and buy blocks in the hope that is a significant factor in the problem. If we had some steering then adding BB blocks to make it smoother and more responsive would be fine. But it is not steering at all when sailing.

Many of these things are mentioned in the install guide for the newer models and we have applied as much as we can to the temporary set up pre sea trials.

based on this, a few questions:

Do these older Fleming units work OK ?
How does one set the course on the unit once the sails are balanced and we are heading in the right direction ?
That pulley and small cog on the top of the unit, how should that be rigged ? We could not find anything on that in the manual or even searching the web for images of installed units.

PS: We did runs in wind speeds ranging from 10 to 20 knots so there was plenty of puff.
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Old 03-02-2013, 03:00   #5
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Us. You need large ball bearing blocks (for everything on the boat). Smaller harder line would help too. Best if the line is one tenth the block diameter. I used hi-tech double braid of about 4mm to great advantage.

You should be able to steer the boat by motoring slowly while manipulating the windvane by hand. It is easy to get the lines backwards ... so I have heard ... And it won't steer for beans when it is backwards.
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Old 03-02-2013, 03:58   #6
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Re: Fleming Wind Vane - Wont work ?

Let's assume you know how it is meant to work .

Now check to see if it is working without any wind input.

So with the air blade angled directly into the imaginary wind, push the air blade over to port, this represents the wind veering (going clockwise), this should turn the wheel to steer the boat to starboard i.e the boat is chasing the wind. Pushing the blade the other way should give the opposite effect.

Now try

1. If it is steering correctly, then go for a sail (or motor) and operate the air blade by hand (push it over either way) and see if it will turn the boat with only a "small" force on the air blade. If it doesn't, you have a problem like too much friction or not enough ratio on the wheel or something similar. This must be sorted out before going any further.

And then

2. However if it does work correctly by using a small hand force on the blade, now find out why the blade is not responding to a real wind situation.

Set the boat up on a constant heading under motor or sail (with sails nicely balanced) and the helm as light or as close to a sweet spot as you can get it.
Set the blade so that its leading edge is directly facing into the apparent wind and engage the steering lines. Induce the boat off course by say 20 or so degrees and see if the new apparent wind is trying to push the blade over. If it is, then the movement of the blade "should" steer the boat back to the original heading (the one were the blade was vertical and aligned to the breeze).

If it isn't the blade is not being pushed over and No.1 above has been carried out satisfactorily, then the blade is in dirty air and not in a clean airstream. Find out what is causing the disturbed airflow and fix (if possible )

If set up correctly it is all about balance and fine tuning. The boat must be balanced, the forces on the blade balanced, the airflow over over the blade clean, the steering loads light and so on.

I am not that familiar with your model but do check to see if there is a leading and trailing edge to the blade (and blade pivot assembly) and that these are not reversed.

Hope this helps

EDIT: Opps... just realised this is servo pendulum unit so the above is not correct - close but not correct .

But follow the idea except that moving the air blade will move the pendulum to the side that in the waterflow will cause the force on the pendulum to move the wheel accordingly .

I am assuming the small cog is there so that the air blade assembly can be disconnected in order to align the air blade directly into the airflow and then be re-engaged
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Old 03-02-2013, 17:20   #7
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Re: Fleming Wind Vane - Wont work ?

Thanks for the detailed guide, just what we were looking for.

"Opps... just realised this is servo pendulum unit so the above is not correct - close but not correct ." What bits do we ignore in the above details ?

The small cog is permantely engaged to the larger ring gear.

We will try to assess the system friction. Perhaps if we disconnect the lines from the vane unit and try pulling them to see how easy it is to get a response at the wheel while motoring at say 5 knots. The question will be how much friction is too much ?
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Old 03-02-2013, 19:28   #8
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Friction in a control system is the enemy. There's never too little. Fix it wherever you find it.
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Old 03-02-2013, 19:39   #9
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Re: Fleming Wind Vane - Wont work ?

Will do. Might borrow some BB blocks as well to test the system with.

The rope we are using is spectra, it is about 7mm and very slippery on the outer.

Anyone know how to set a course on these old Flemings ????






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Old 03-02-2013, 21:54   #10
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Re: Fleming Wind Vane - Wont work ?

Is it a pendulum servo vane?? I'm having problems figuring out how the steering lines get pulled by the servo rudder to steer the boat. In any case, the wind sensing vane should have the lead weight facing the wind. From your pictures it looks to be set for running DDW. Assume the multi block set up at the vane serves to either increase the amount of line pulled or increase the force on the steering lines. In any case, it looks to be a spot where I'd look for resistance in the line.

Cheap blocks don't work well for the long run. Burned through a set of plain axle blocks on our first long passage with the Aires. Switched to Harken ball bearing blocks and they worked forever. Believed they cruised SoPac with us and two cruises south for the subsequent owners.

In the harbor, disconnect or raise the servo rudder and move the wheel. There will be resistance but it shouldn't be excessive. Try and isolate each component that can cause resistance and try and eliminate it. For light air, the least friction in the system the better it will work. Actually could be the difference between it working or not working. As boat speed increases, the servo rudder generates ever increasing force and will usually handle most any boat once the speed is up.

There was a Monitor on my current boat when I bought it. Wouldn't steer below about 4k boat speeds. Boat had increasing force required to steer as boat speed increased and was downright painful to hold on course at hull speed. The Monitor steered fine even though the boat speed greatly increased the force required once we got above 4k.. The PO had routed the steering lines rather circuitously from the vane to the wheel to keep them from interfering with use of the cockpit. Thought that was the slow speed steering problem. I ended up getting rid of the wheel and going with a tiller. When I pulled out the wheel steering system, discovered that one of the idler sheaves was seized up and would not turn. It wasn't apparent sitting at the dock as the wheel turned the rudder almost effortlessly or under way as there was no 'stick' in the feel. Since the steering pulleys were in nearly inaccessible places, pulling the whole steering system out was the only way to discover the problem. One additional surprise was that two of the four bolts fastening the pedestal to the cockpit sole were nearly rusted through. Probably would have ended up with the pedestal flopping around in a couple more years of use.
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Old 03-02-2013, 22:25   #11
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Re: Fleming Wind Vane - Wont work ?

i think the small cog/big cog you are asking about is the continuously variable windvane blade angle setting mechanism - lots of vane systems have lock settings at 5ish degree intervals but the system you have is continuously variable. usually theres a small line from around the small cog which means you can adjust the angle of the windvane to the wind from the cockpit - how is the unit holding its position without a control rope?. How many turns lock to lock does your wheel have - any more than 2 could cause problems with this type of unit because it doesnt have a lot of scope - they work best onto a tiller (yikes, i can hear the protests, the point is this installation isnt working as it should yet so i think its a valid point) Sounds like you know what you are doing, might take a while before you find the right combination of sail balance etc.
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Old 03-02-2013, 23:02   #12
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Re: Fleming Wind Vane - Wont work ?

It is a servo pendulum vane.

The steering lines are as straight as we could make them, sacrificing some access to the wheel but the alternatives were to use a lot of blocks and a very roundabout route.

Re the control rope: We ran a rope around the small cog and then around two nearbye stauncions, the friction was enought to hold the vane in position. We took a guess at that process, it seemed to work. Could not find an image anywhere that showed a fully set up vane of this vintage with detail on that control area.

The steering wheel takes 2.25 turns lock to lock.
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Old 04-02-2013, 02:07   #13
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Re: Fleming Wind Vane - Wont work ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ribbony View Post
Thanks for the detailed guide, just what we were looking for.

"Opps... just realised this is servo pendulum unit so the above is not correct - close but not correct ." What bits do we ignore in the above details ?

..........
The bits that don't make sense

OK, back to basics, the air vane should face directly into the apparent wind when on desired heading and the servo blade should be vertical in the water. When boat moves off this heading the air vane should be forced over one way or the other. This movement should cause the water servo blade to rotate (around it's vertical axis) one way or the other.

If the boat is moving through the water i.e. there is water flow over the servo blade, then this rotation of the servo blade around its vertical axis should cause the servo blade to move to one side of the stern or the other i.e. now rotating (a bit) around its horizontal axis. This movement of the servo blade to one side should cause the steering lines to move thus turning the wheel - hopefully in the right direction to move the boat back onto the heading so that the servo blade is again aligned with the water flow which allows it become vertical again and the air blade to return to its vertical position and everything is balanced again.

Note, the reference to vertical is assuming no heel on the boat; perhaps better said as perpendicular to the deck .

So try out each part of the system at the dock and make sure that it is working as per the theory. If not, fix before going to sea trials

If so, then trial it in calm conditions under motor with about say 5 knots of boat speed and by hand move the air blade over one way and the other to see how the boat responds. If it responds correctly and it doesn't require much hand force on the air blade then all is good and proceed to sailing trials in moderate winds say 12 to 18 knots.

However if not, try to work out which aspect of the system is giving trouble before doing the sailing trials.

Quote:
Originally Posted by charliehows View Post
i think the small cog/big cog you are asking about is the continuously variable windvane blade angle setting mechanism - lots of vane systems have lock settings at 5ish degree intervals but the system you have is continuously variable. usually theres a small line from around the small cog which means you can adjust the angle of the windvane to the wind from the cockpit - how is the unit holding its position without a control rope?. .........
Yes, probably although perhaps on this model it is not continuously variable in the that you can't go around the clock so as to speak, maybe just 270 degrees or so - mind you I could be talking out my a*^e at this point as I am not familiar with this model and only going by the photos posted

Quote:
Originally Posted by ribbony View Post
It is a servo pendulum vane.

The steering lines are as straight as we could make them, sacrificing some access to the wheel but the alternatives were to use a lot of blocks and a very roundabout route.

Re the control rope: We ran a rope around the small cog and then around two nearbye stauncions, the friction was enought to hold the vane in position. We took a guess at that process, it seemed to work. Could not find an image anywhere that showed a fully set up vane of this vintage with detail on that control area.

The steering wheel takes 2.25 turns lock to lock.
I can't quite tell from the photos but something doesn't look right. I can't see how the movement of the servo blade around its horizontal axis causes the steering ropes to move.

EDIT: with a closer looksee at the photos (and cleaner specs ), I now see the horizontal pivot of the servo blade. The forward one is just near the steering line on the photo isn't it.

As for the control lines, what you did seems to be doable.

EDIT: You used the small drum below the small cog for the course setting line - yes??. This makes some sense. As you pulled on the course setting line, the small cog rotates to move the big cog and thus the air blade assembly to face directly into the apparent wind - yes??

Again, there is usually only one correct edge for the air blade to face and it is possible to get back to front on some units.
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Old 04-02-2013, 03:00   #14
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Re: Fleming Wind Vane - Wont work ?

Opps... ran out of edit time.

Check again at the dock that the system is operating in the correct sense.

If the air blade is vertical with its forward face facing the bow (thus aligned fore and aft) and the servo blade is vertical and its foil is aligned with the boat's centreline (also thus for and aft), then when the top of the air blade is pushed over to port, the servo blade should turn about its vertical axis one way or the other i.e. CW or CCW (when looking from above).

I don't think it matters which way () as long as the next bit works correctly.

In turning say CW, and pretending there is water flow over the servo foil, the bottom of the blade will want to rise to starboard. This rising of the servo blade (really rotating about its horizontal axis) must now cause the steering lines to turn the wheel to starboard.

However if the same movement of the air blade caused a CCW turn of the servo foil, the the bottom of the foil should want to rise to port and must still cause the steering lines to move the wheel to starboard.

The bottom line is that a moving the top of the air blade to port must result in the wheel moving to starboard. Whether the servo foil moves CW or CCW depends in part on how the levers work between the air blade and servo blade and how the steering lines are rigged.

Can someone please check all the above to confirm that is correct or perhaps a*^e about or even just BS .
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Old 04-02-2013, 03:25   #15
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Re: Fleming Wind Vane - Wont work ?

That is an awesome rundown ! Thanks

Will print out the whole thread and ponder the details on the boat when we next go to Sydney.

The control ring on the top can turn 360.

Our one and only vane (at this stage, we need to make some more) is symmetrical but it sits in a housing on top that does have a windward direction, at least from what we could see in the old photos of other units and the original units displayed by Fleming.

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