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Old 02-10-2014, 18:28   #16
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Re: Wind vane for our 44ft Van de Stadt centre cockpit

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Originally Posted by ALAIN97133 View Post
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Based on my experience & on never ending talks with fellow sailors around "ti-punch" tropical cocktails a fin keel/spade rudder configuration sailboat is far more efficient when sailing upwind AND demanding when steering downwind than a full keel sailboat. In a previous life, I skippered a brand new Swan 43 across the Atlantic: Three days out of Canary islands, the Swan Aries** gave up & we had to steer the rest of the way... Luckily, we were 4 on board & 2 hours on, 6 hours off were not very demanding (Like driving a Audi R8 from NY/NY to LA!)
Why did the Aries not work or 'give up' on the Swan 43?? The Swan 43 Mark 1 had a reputation as a very easy boat to steer and quite directionally stable. Would seem like an ideal fin keeler for an Aires. Boats that have very little directionally stability and will round up rapidly in a gust of wind can be a problem for P/S self steering vanes going to windward. These boats are so quick to go out of control that they'll tack before the vane can correct. Had that problem with an autopilot many years ago largely because the autopilot was very slow to make rudder corrections.

Off the wind, self steering systems can have a problem with sailing out from under the wind. Surfing or just a very fast boat usually with a spinnaker can have periods where the relative wind nears zero. The wind vane suddenly doesn't know where to tell the rudder to steer which can make for interesting sailing. Believe it or not, had it happen on our Westsail 32 surfing DDW with the spinnaker up. Dropped the spinnaker and continued on with Reacher/Drifter poled out maintaining hull speed and the vane steered just fine. If you demand sailing on the ragged edge with every last bit of boat speed, a self steering vane probably isn't for you. Having said the above, saw several surfing runs on the sail to Hawaii that went over 9k with my Pearson 35 in about 10k relative wind and the WPPP vane had no problems.
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Old 03-10-2014, 04:30   #17
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Re: Wind vane for our 44ft Van de Stadt centre cockpit

With some trepidation I dare to contribute - well, can't resist. I am a member of the Curry Family who owns Hydrovane – trust you can discount my comments for my natural bias.

For those that are not familiar with servo pendulum systems – a background: Essentially the system pulls a line by about 10 inches/25 cm. – not much. That line is either wrapped around a small hub on the ships wheel or better yet fixed to a tiller. The movement of that line moves the wheel by typically half a turn. A standard wheel has one and half turns to each side – about three turns from stop to stop. Although the wheel doesn’t move that much it is enough to do the job. The power to pull the line comes from boat speed. The faster the boat goes the more power it has. Sufficient speed to turn the wheel varies considerably from boat to boat – all depends on the amount of muscle it takes to turn that hub on the wheel. Reminder that the smallish hub doesn’t have the leverage of a big wheel. The balance of the rudder and nature of the mechanics all play a part. For a center cockpit boat the length of the line is quite long as it must go up and back. Stretch and sag of that line is the issue as well as the rest of the boat’s steering mechanics. The new synthetics are a big help. Any reduction of that 10 inch or so push and pull will affect performance.

The big question is what speed is required to make the system functional. The expression ‘the harder it blows the better it goes’ is true for all systems. But so much sailing is in lighter airs. Some boats need as much as 4 knots of boat speed to perform – requires a decent wind – definitely not a light air performer.

Many of the servo pendulum manufacturers have developed systems that eliminate the inherent weaknesses of applications on certain boats. The servo driven auxiliary rudder systems perform equally well on any boat. Those manufacturers are:

1. Windpilot – Germany
2. Fleming – Australia
3. South Atlantic – Argentina
4. Royal Perfect – Germany
5. Sailomat – US – terminated production some years ago

.... and Hydrovane offers an even simpler solution which needs only 4 to 6 knots of apparent wind to do its job.
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Old 03-10-2014, 04:45   #18
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Re: Wind vane for our 44ft Van de Stadt centre cockpit

Our van de stadt is very different than yours . . . But I will say that I did not find the pacific plus very satisfactory for three reasons:

1. The aux rudder broke off three times
2. The various sleeve bearings jammed up with salt and dust quite quickly and then it would not steer in light air - I would not buy any vane with important sleeve bearings, look for ball or roller bearings.
3. Even when it was all clean it would really only steer the boat to 7kts, if we were going faster than that we needed to reef the main - has to do with the aux rudder size (and I don't think the hydrovane rudder is any bigger) and the response rate.

We used a monitor with perfect success on our prior boat, but it was a rather smaller (37') slower boat, and a centerboard ketch - so a whole different situation.
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Old 03-10-2014, 05:58   #19
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Re: Wind vane for our 44ft Van de Stadt centre cockpit

Last winter I spent many hours looking at and reading up on the various systems. They all have their upsides and downsides. The main ones mentioned in this thread are all good systems, I believe.

We went with a Hydrovane and have been very happy with it.


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Old 03-10-2014, 09:50   #20
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Re: Wind vane for our 44ft Van de Stadt centre cockpit

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Originally Posted by roverhi View Post
Why did the Aries not work or 'give up' on the Swan 43?? The Swan 43 Mark 1 had a reputation as a very easy boat to steer and quite directionally stable. Would seem like an ideal fin keeler for an Aires. Boats that have very little directionally stability and will round up rapidly in a gust of wind can be a problem for P/S self steering vanes going to windward. These boats are so quick to go out of control that they'll tack before the vane can correct. Had that problem with an autopilot many years ago largely because the autopilot was very slow to make rudder corrections.

Off the wind, self steering systems can have a problem with sailing out from under the wind. Surfing or just a very fast boat usually with a spinnaker can have periods where the relative wind nears zero. The wind vane suddenly doesn't know where to tell the rudder to steer which can make for interesting sailing. Believe it or not, had it happen on our Westsail 32 surfing DDW with the spinnaker up. Dropped the spinnaker and continued on with Reacher/Drifter poled out maintaining hull speed and the vane steered just fine. If you demand sailing on the ragged edge with every last bit of boat speed, a self steering vane probably isn't for you. Having said the above, saw several surfing runs on the sail to Hawaii that went over 9k with my Pearson 35 in about 10k relative wind and the WPPP vane had no problems.
Nautor made 2 Swans 43 very different: A 1967 Sparkman & Stephens SWAN 43 (S&S) sailboat specifications and details on sailboatdata.com & a newer 1985 from Ron Holland. I'm talking about the 1985 Ron Holland one
SWAN 43 (HOLLAND) sailboat specifications and details on sailboatdata.com

Westsail... That's an interesting sailboat... In the 60's there was a famous French sailor, Bernard Moitessier, who went around the world several time aboard a steel "Colin Archer" type of sailboat, heavy as a pregnant whale; he got rolled, punched, tortured by heavy seas from the roaring forties & the screaming fifties On the other hand, some 50 years later, a young British sailor, Ellen Mac Arthur (110 pounds when wet), went -also non stop- around the world in her super light & super fast 60 footer, surfing from wave to wave, using speed to avoid the kind of punishment Moitessier got... Sometime speed is an asset
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