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Old 28-09-2014, 08:49   #1
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Wind vane for our 44ft Van de Stadt centre cockpit

Hi there,

We are trying to decide which wind vane to buy for our Van de Stadt 44, centre cockpit, aluminium yacht Sula (18 tonnes).

We are familiar with the Aries and the servo-pendulum system, as we had one on our previous boat, but now, with a centre cockpit, we are not sure whether it would still work fine.

We are still drawn to the servo-pendulum system (perhaps a Monitor this time) over the servo-pendulum/auxiliary rudder type (WindPilot Pacific Plus) but would appreciate some views from people who actually used a servo-pendulum one on a centre cockpit first.

Thanks in advance.
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Old 28-09-2014, 13:41   #2
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Re: Wind vane for our 44ft Van de Stadt centre cockpit

Have a WPPP on our 35' boat. Steers it very well including DDW in 8k or less of wind with confused following seas. Vane came off a 40' plus boat and skipper said it sailed there boat well from the Right to Left Coast. The pendulum servo system is extremely responsive able to steer the boat even when their is not enough wind to deflect the wind vane.

Went with the WPPP when I couldn't get the Monitor to steer below about 4k boat speed. Boat had friction issues in the steering. The boat required increasingly heavier input to the wheel as the speed increased but the Monitor was able to handle it with no problems. It was just lower speeds that it didn't generate enough force to move the wheel.
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Old 28-09-2014, 16:02   #3
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Re: Wind vane for our 44ft Van de Stadt centre cockpit

If you have a centre cockpit boats, both the Hydrovane and the WindPilot Pacific Plus maybe better bets as they do not need lots of friction inducing ropes attached to the helm in the centre of the boat

We have a heavy 40 foot steel boat, centre cockpit with a Hydrovane

Another way I have seen the Monitor/Aries work in centre cockpit boats is to have a small tiller or emergency tiller aft and attach the steering ropes to that
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Old 28-09-2014, 16:10   #4
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Re: Wind vane for our 44ft Van de Stadt centre cockpit

Another thought is to have a small tiller pilot connected to a servopendulum such as an Aries. The power draw is very little, unlike when attached to the main rudder/tiller as there is little resistance. Hope this gives you an idea.
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Old 28-09-2014, 16:18   #5
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Re: Wind vane for our 44ft Van de Stadt centre cockpit

We have a heavy, 20 ton, steel cutter, center cockpit.

We have a permanently mounted emergency tiller, it is pretty short with an extension when you need to use it fir hand steering. The Aries hooks to the tiller to steer the boat.

I also use a tiller Auto pilot yo drive the Aries. Not great but certainly an inexpensive approach. The disadvantages are less if you are not single handing.
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Old 28-09-2014, 16:55   #6
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Re: Wind vane for our 44ft Van de Stadt centre cockpit

I used an Aries on my Peterson 44, and it worked great, but I didnt get to use it much in light winds, so I dont know about that. I ran both steering lines up one side of the boat, with a double block where it turned to go to the wheel. I recently read that you should not use a double block, but should have individual blocks for that purpose. I dont know the reason, but have stuffed that bit away in the back of my mind. Aries, Fleming, Monitor, would probably all work. I put all roller bearing blocks. Hope this helps. ______Grant.
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Old 28-09-2014, 17:07   #7
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Re: Wind vane for our 44ft Van de Stadt centre cockpit

We have a 50' Van de Stadt Centre Cockpit.
We ordered a Monitor based on a LOT of research back in 1998.
We placed our deposit, and then our currency devalued by a factor of 6, so we could not afford it any more. Scanmar gave us the deposit back, and we actually made some money on the refund. (They had not cut any metal yet, and were very kind)

Then the "Around Alone" race came through Cape Town.

Just about every boat had a monitor, and we were lamenting our situation to some of the competitors who were berthed on either side of us because of deep keels (We are 2.6m and 28 Tons metric)

Both Isabelle and George of the boats Aquitane and Rapscallion suggested that, unless we were going to spend 90% of our time underway crossing oceans, we should put the refunded money into the autopilot instead.

We took their advice, and they were right. Our AP has never failed.

However, that was not your question, I apologise for the digression. Fact is a heavy, Centre Cockpit, Steel Van de Stadt, demanded a Monitor back then. Today, with newfangled non stretch lines and low friction pulleys, it can only be better.

As an aside, a friend who single-hands, has on one of his lines to the monitor, cant remember exactly where, a bungie tied to the line. A smaller cord is trailed astern, which is attached to a peg through a loop. I forget the details but, it was designed to head the boat up into irons if he fell OB and pulled the line...
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Old 28-09-2014, 17:14   #8
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Re: Wind vane for our 44ft Van de Stadt centre cockpit

I recently installed a monitor on my Valiant. Has lots of power, but do you have hydraulic steering? If so, you cannot steer the through the wheel. At least that is what I have heard.
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Old 30-09-2014, 01:17   #9
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Re: Wind vane for our 44ft Van de Stadt centre cockpit

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Originally Posted by Sula View Post
Hi there,

We are trying to decide which wind vane to buy for our Van de Stadt 44, centre cockpit, aluminium yacht Sula (18 tonnes).... We are still drawn to the servo-pendulum system (perhaps a Monitor this time) over the servo-pendulum/auxiliary rudder type (WindPilot Pacific Plus) but would appreciate some views from people who actually used a servo-pendulum one on a centre cockpit first.

Thanks in advance.
The best windvane for your type of sailboat is Hydrovane... but it's also one of the most expensive $6500 It's a rudder all by itself, which means no lines going back to your wheel or your rudder I used an Aries with my full keel Camper & Nicholson 31 sailing the Atlantic & the Pacific with no problem, but I wouldn't use it with my Ericson 34 fin keel/spade rudder configuration... Have a look at hydrovane.com
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Old 30-09-2014, 01:24   #10
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Re: Wind vane for our 44ft Van de Stadt centre cockpit

Another possibility is the Autohelm wind vane now sold by Scanmar Marine in Sausalito, CA. It is an auxiliary rudder/trim tab device which can act as an emergency rudder just like the Hydrovane. There is even one offered for sale here on CF as we speak, and for 1500 bucks, supposedly just refurbed. If it is in good shape, that is a good deal.

I built a homebrew vane similar to the Autohelm on our previous boat and it steered us for thousands of sea miles. I really miss it!

Cheers,

Jim
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Old 30-09-2014, 12:47   #11
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Re: Wind vane for our 44ft Van de Stadt centre cockpit

Alain, why would you not use an Aries on the Ericson? I understand if you want the aux rudder, but is there some other reason? Just curious. _____Grant.
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Old 02-10-2014, 00:51   #12
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Re: Wind vane for our 44ft Van de Stadt centre cockpit

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Originally Posted by gjordan View Post
Alain, why would you not use an Aries on the Ericson? I understand if you want the aux rudder, but is there some other reason? Just curious. _____Grant.

My father used to say "Experience is like toothpick, most people don't want to use it after somebody else!", anyway, here it is:

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!).
When you use an "Hydrovane" type self steering, the sailboat rudder is locked amidships or with a little lee or weather helm depending on your sail trim and your self steering windvane does all the work .
Fin keel + locked rudder give much better longitudinal stability downwind. The wind-vane, being beyond the far end of the sailboat, it has greater leverage than the main rudder & doesn't need to be as big. Remember also that when sailing downwind -typical of ocean crossing along the Trade winds- the apparent wind is weaker than the true wind & therefore less powerful on the windvane aerial... of course you can then switch to a canvas type bigger "aerial" but that's true for any type of selfsteering windvane
Last but not least: No lines going from the windvane to the tiller or wheel... That's even a bigger plus when you have a center cockpit; moreover you get a spare rudder in case the main one gets damage or blocked, but I never had that problem over a 47 year sailing period !

**The owner didn't ask me what type of self steering to buy when he ordered his Swan 43, I would have told him....
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Old 02-10-2014, 06:18   #13
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Re: Wind vane for our 44ft Van de Stadt centre cockpit

Thanks for all the replies and sorry for not responding sooner as we have been at large in the Baltic.

Definitely some food for thought from your experience (toothpicks notwithstanding!).

I have considered using our emergency tiller, but thought that there would be too much friction in having to turn the rest of the (Whitlock) steering back to the wheel, but I will get it out and try it.

The "spare rudder" advantage of having a Hydrovane or Windpilot etc, does not interest me particularly as we have a heavy skeg mounted rudder which is relatively bulletproof..... but the absence of extra knitting leading back to the cockpit is a big plus.

Then again, the Monitor would be cheaper and lighter and I do wonder sometimes how well one of the auxiliaries would cope with a quartering sea when I think of the effort that the main rudder has to put in.

We do have a pretty good autopilot, but have an inherent distrust in things electrical.
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Old 02-10-2014, 13:27   #14
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Re: Wind vane for our 44ft Van de Stadt centre cockpit

Sula, if you dont want to deal with an older vane that might need re-building, I believe that Fleming is still in production, and is a very strong vane. As far as lines to the cockpit, My Peterson 44 had both front and back companionway hatches off set to starboard, so I ran the lines up the port side. I very much like the "one click at a time" adjustment of the Aries, but I have never used a Monitor, so maybe it is as easy. I cant find any fault with Alains thinking, but my own experience with 2 different boats (both fin keel) that I owned and sailed with Aries, was that they steered on all points of sail. As I said before, I didnt get any light air DDW with the 44, so I dont know about that, but I had a cheep wheel pilot if it was needed. Best of luck. ______Grant.
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Old 02-10-2014, 13:41   #15
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Re: Wind vane for our 44ft Van de Stadt centre cockpit

I would call Scanmar and ask them about issues with an install on your particular boat. They do suggest that the runs of the control lines be as short as possible due to fairlead friction and line stretch, but they show some installs on center cockpits.

I know a couple of people who have hooked up Monitors to tiller pilots with great success. That might be a good option for you...keep knitting off the deck and shorter runs, but you have the added expense of the pilot.

Also, Scanmar makes an emergency rudder for the Monitor, which turns it into an emergency tiller, but it's fairly pricey.
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