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Old 03-12-2016, 20:06   #1
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Monitor windvane questions?

I have been offered an older Monitor and the seller said that the older ones were known for cracking problems. Is that just another sailing myth or is there a built in weak point on older Monitors. I Emailed Scanmar asking about it and didnt get an answer. I have had 2 boats with Aries and loved them but the Monitor is about 20 lbs lighter which could make a difference on a 34 foot boat. Anyone familiar with this (possible) problem? ______Grant.
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Old 03-12-2016, 20:22   #2
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Re: Monitor windvane questions?

I have a newer Monitor (~8 years) so do not have direct knowledge of any problems with earlier ones, but it would seem logical to very closely inspect the welds of the one you are considering. If it is of the appropriate age any possible cracking should have appeared by now.
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Old 04-12-2016, 11:37   #3
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Re: Monitor windvane questions?

The monitors are stainless steel with the problems that come with that metal. The Monitors that reported cracking problems, that I heard of, were all units with a bunch of miles on them like 10's of the thousands. The vane were probably welded without an inert gas and suffered cracks at the welds. The vanes didn't actually break, at least ones I heard, but had cracks discovered while they were still in use and working. The vanes were repaired with the bad welds redone or tubing replaced. If the vane has had light use and/or stored out of the marine environment wouldn't be too concerned. Might want to do a dye penetrant test of the welds before buying to be sure but probably over kill.

If you didn't see them there were some vanes listed in the latest Latitude 38. That Aires in Mexico would be worth a plane trip to pick up or find someone coming north who'd transport it for you. Those SS and Bronze Aires were a work of art.
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Old 04-12-2016, 14:31   #4
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Re: Monitor windvane questions?

Roverhi, I just looked at lat 38 and that is a good price for an Aries, but not at 1500 miles away. I would prefer an Aries, but I am getting a bit weight sensitive and the Monitor is 20 lbs lighter on the end of the boat. Maybe it is silly to worry about weight when I am putting a monster Ideal windlass and 200+ feet of chain on the bow. After having been on James and Ronnies boat with the Ideal, I couldnt pass up a good deal on one. I have a die penetrant kit stored someplace. Maybe I will take it with me when I go look at the Monitor. If I found a good deal on an Aries I would probably ignore the weight difference. Such is life! _____Grant.
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Old 04-12-2016, 14:58   #5
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Re: Monitor windvane questions?

The older Monitors were made from 304 ss and will have more issues with corrosion than the ones built with 316 ss. Cracking at welds were somewhat common with these vanes as they aged and stressed but in most cases they can be repaired but everything will eventually wear out given enough service. I have owned a variety of vanes over the years and all of them had issues from time to time but they are great for crossing oceans, no power no noise and in some cases emergency steering, gotta love a good vane.
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Old 04-12-2016, 15:59   #6
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Re: Monitor windvane questions?

Honestly there is not a lot of force applied to the Monitor when it is working. The paddle swims side to side and the lines turn the wheel.

In addition to the cracking issue in older tubes there were also issues with the gears but I believe the newer models have corrected that.

I'm a big Monitor fan. Very simple, very reliable.
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Old 04-12-2016, 16:20   #7
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Re: Monitor windvane questions?

We've a '97 Monitor and whilst the Websites suggest that 1996 saw the last of the 304 models, I suspect that ours - based on the amount of corrosion it collects was 'old-stock'? The corrosion is just cosmetic, a quick wipe over with oxalic soon shifts it and having done 5 trans-Ats that we know of, the only crack/weld-break ours has suffered was were the control-rod joined the wind-blade clamp and that only broke when someone used it as a handhold to climb onboard! Oh, we had a control line break (Ok, it's time for a reef) and once had a mounting bolt shear too, but those are hardly Scanmar's fault. Ours is mounted on a 36' long keeler and we rate it as the best performing & probably the most important bit of kit on the boat.

As noted previously, the loads placed on it are immense, so ensure that any turning blocks and the like are sized for strength, not just looking neat & pretty.
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Old 04-12-2016, 16:33   #8
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Re: Monitor windvane questions?

So I have a 1997 316 Monitor. I have ordered the bearing kit to replace all the bearings. Has any one had any experience doing this (first hand). I am doing the World Arc so I want things tuned up as best I can.
I also hear that the windvanes are choice items on a boat for a long haul
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Old 04-12-2016, 16:57   #9
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Re: Monitor windvane questions?

Monitors are better than Aires, but stainless welds do crack sometimes.
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Old 04-12-2016, 17:11   #10
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Re: Monitor windvane questions?

OK , I had heard about early and late model Monitors but I didnt know if it was true or rumors. 304 to 316 makes sense about less corrosion and weld problems. Are there serial numbers, so you can determine what model it is? Yes RDW a vane will be the best crew you ever had. It doesnt eat, doesnt cuss or smell and will do 12 and 12 watches without complaining. Realistically the most important reason to have a vane is the quiet and the freedom from the evil seagoing electrons. You can have a lightning strike or a starter motor failure or a wave ruin your solar panels and you just carry on without electricity. If you have a small crew and half way across an ocean your electrics or auto pilot pack up, you will learn huge lessons in fatigue. If you have a big enough budget have auto pilot and a vane that is fine, but if you have limited money to spend and want to cross oceans, buy a vane. And yes, I am opinionated after many thousands of miles with vanes that always worked and never gave an ounce of trouble. _____Grant.
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Old 04-12-2016, 17:19   #11
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Re: Monitor windvane questions?

Cheechako, I have not used a Monitor, so please tell me what you think is better about a monitor compared to an Aries. I loved both of my Aries, one tiller steered and one with a wheel but I am willing to try a Monitor. I am curious. _____Grant.
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Old 04-12-2016, 18:07   #12
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Re: Monitor windvane questions?

Scanmar who makes monitor has excellent customer support. The serial number is ingraved on the top of a cross member and with it you can know when it was made. My sedrial number is 56031097 and it was one of the early 316 vanes.
They also keep the specifications and drawings of the boats they were made for.
I found them very helpful.
They will also refurbish an old vane. Not cheap though.
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Old 04-12-2016, 18:59   #13
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Re: Monitor windvane questions?

Quote:
Originally Posted by RDW View Post
So I have a 1997 316 Monitor. I have ordered the bearing kit to replace all the bearings. Has any one had any experience doing this (first hand). I am doing the World Arc so I want things tuned up as best I can.
I also hear that the windvanes are choice items on a boat for a long haul
rdw
The bearing kit does require care but it is quite doable. I would be reluctant to do it over the water though. There are a lot of tiny parts that could end up swimming. Perhaps you could get your inflatable under the unit when you are doing the work.
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Old 04-12-2016, 19:21   #14
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Re: Monitor windvane questions?

I emailed Scanmar a week ago and havent had a reply. I figured when I said I was considering buying a used one that they didnt see enough dollar signs to bother with a reply. I have their phone number but I think I will go and inspect the vane before I call. _____Grant.
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Old 05-12-2016, 04:56   #15
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Re: Monitor windvane questions?

I have called twice last week. Talked to Susie. Got my stuff in mail in a few days.
They do provide parts, will refurbish, have online instructions on how to refurbish(not the best) and will sell you a new one.
510-215-2010 was the number I used. You could have a dead email address.
I am going to take the windvane off the boat to work on it.
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