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Old 30-03-2011, 19:41   #31
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Re: Auto Pilot vs Self-Steering Vane

Umm, hate to say it, it's new, and old school. HTD style belt is an improvement though.
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Old 30-03-2011, 20:31   #32
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Re: Auto Pilot vs Self-Steering Vane

I buy the windvane first then find a boat to put it on. Wouldn't go anywhere more than a few hours away without the vane. Had an Aires on our tiller steereed Westail and would steer the boat if the boat would sail. It did more than 10,000 miles with us and double that with the next owner all with very few complaints. We didn't have an A/P on that boat so powering was a bit of a pain. We solved that by sailing almost all the time.

My current boat, Pearson 35, came with a Monitor. The Monitor didn't work well with the wheel on this boat. The vane's servo rudder just didn't generate enough power to turn the wheel and steer the boat under about 4 knots. The faster we went, the better the vane steered despite the increased forces required on the wheel.

Came across a used WindPilot Pacific Plus auxillary rudder vane before I had a chance to see if there was any way to make the Monitor work. This vane has a servo rudder that turns an auxillary rudder that steers the boat. The boats rudder is just used for trim or centered depending on my mood. The WPP has worked a charm in both light and heavy winds, upwind and down. Steered all the way to Hawaii with most of the way DDW with seldom over 8k of relative wind and usually less. I made up a larger lightweight plastic windvane that helps out in the light air downwind condtions.

I bought a Tiller Pilot to work with the vane but have to make up brackets to connect it. Once it is up and telling the WPP vane how to steer, will have an extremely low drain A/P for very light air sailing and when I want to maintain a compass course.

Also have a Raymarine X5 wheel pilot that has worked well under power steering for up to 36 hours at a stretch. It does not have enough power to steer the boat under sail with any speed on the boat, unfortunately. The motor just doesn't have the oomph to fight the weather helm as speed climbs much above 4 knots.

Personally, I've found vanes extremely reliable and easy to live with. Both of my boats have had a pretty strong weather helm at speed and the vanes handled it without complaint. Can't imagine how much juice an autopilot would require. Usually make a couple of course tweaks a day to keep the boat on the Magenta line. Basically, it's set the vane and forget it.
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Old 31-03-2011, 08:30   #33
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Re: Auto Pilot vs Self-Steering Vane

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Originally Posted by capnorv View Post
Umm, hate to say it, it's new, and old school. HTD style belt is an improvement though.
I didn't know CPT was still being made. Fair enough. Good luck with it.
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Old 31-03-2011, 14:00   #34
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Re: Auto Pilot vs Self-Steering Vane

Im very interested in some day adding a wind vane to my Amphitrite Ketch but I also love my davits. Here is an Amphitrite like mine with a Monitor set up:

Scanmar International

What Im wondering is could the vane be set up to be installed with pins such that it was removeable when not on passage thereby making the davits useable again? I have no problem with storing the dinghy on deck when on passage. Are there other windvane systems that might work better with a CC boat with davits?

I currently have a belowdecks autopilot. It is an older Ray version with a hydraulic linear drive. It works well and I am able to keep up with its electrical demands but it is noisy when in a seaway. I am considering enclosing the hydraulic pump with some sound deadening material I have but the ultimate solution for me is to have both options for steering.
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Old 31-03-2011, 14:19   #35
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Re: Auto Pilot vs Self-Steering Vane

get a caphorn it'll fit closely enough to the stern that you can still use the dinghy on davits.
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Old 31-03-2011, 14:26   #36
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Re: Auto Pilot vs Self-Steering Vane

We have put well over 1000 KM under our keel with our wind vain doing most of the streeing. When we motor we use a tiller pilot in lew of wind input(wind vane still doing the streeing). This set up has worked well for us.
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Old 17-07-2011, 19:57   #37
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Re: Auto Pilot vs Self-Steering Vane

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Originally Posted by HappySeagull View Post
You can make a windvane.
I'd love to hear from someone who has done this, using designs found online or of their own making.

My boat is simple - stern mounted rudder, tiller steer
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Old 17-07-2011, 20:36   #38
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Re: Auto Pilot vs Self-Steering Vane

Autopilot steers when there's no wind...

When you are underway with no wind, engine is replenishing amps.. no loss of stored power.

Auto pilots DO consume power under sail, but hold a more reliable course.

Why choose?... get both!
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Old 17-07-2011, 21:42   #39
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Re: Auto Pilot vs Self-Steering Vane

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Originally Posted by colo.sail View Post
I'd love to hear from someone who has done this, using designs found online or of their own making.

My boat is simple - stern mounted rudder, tiller steer
Walter Murray did a lot of DIY development late 1990's thru mid 2000's when he died. His site was still up until about a year ago.

A number of people Mirrored his site and have put it back up for the time being.

These links are currently good though I don't know how complete they are.
Walt Murray's website | Mister Vee wind vane self steering
http://web.archive.org/web/200606151...Self-Steering/

I copied all his pages and photos before the site went down because he wasn't responding to emails and I wondered if he might have died. If you find something missing that you want let me know and I'll see what I can do.
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Old 17-07-2011, 21:53   #40
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Re: Auto Pilot vs Self-Steering Vane

my simrad is a hydraulic unit with electrical assist of some kind and the usage is very low. i can replace that easily on a daily basis with my solar. steers well even in 60 kt winds off cabo san lucas. awesome. best unpaid crew i ever met.
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Old 17-07-2011, 22:52   #41
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Re: Auto Pilot vs Self-Steering Vane

If you generate apparent wind motoring you can use the windvane. Since it works in 3knots of wind you can just set it to keep the wind straight ahead. I have done this under electric power because my autopilot was too slow to correct.

I think the best thing would be an intelligent autopilot. Unfortunately all of the cheap autopilots I know of are stupid. They would need inertial sensors, not just a compass to work correctly, and also probably a GPS to optimize overall speed. They are also more likely to fail. I use a wind vane.
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Old 18-07-2011, 00:46   #42
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Re: Auto Pilot vs Self-Steering Vane

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If you generate apparent wind motoring you can use the windvane. Since it works in 3knots of wind you can just set it to keep the wind straight ahead. I have done this under electric power because my autopilot was too slow to correct.
Are you sure about this??? When I motor in extremely light air, the apparent wind is always from the bow, regardless of which direction the boat happens to be pointed.

I suppose if there is some breeze this might work. If the wind is a significant fraction of your boatspeed, then the windvane will maintain your desired heading even when motoring. However, if the wind dies, you may very well end up going in circles.
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Old 18-07-2011, 01:30   #43
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Re: Auto Pilot vs Self-Steering Vane

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Are you sure about this??? When I motor in extremely light air, the apparent wind is always from the bow, regardless of which direction the boat happens to be pointed.

I suppose if there is some breeze this might work. If the wind is a significant fraction of your boatspeed, then the windvane will maintain your desired heading even when motoring. However, if the wind dies, you may very well end up going in circles.
Yes, sorry I think I worded that with the wrong meaning. Of course with completely dead air the vane will be useless. but with as little as 3knots true wind it will work, and I meant to say motoring into it amplifies the apparent wind to make the vane work even better.
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Old 18-07-2011, 02:22   #44
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Re: Auto Pilot vs Self-Steering Vane

I use a Raymarine wheel autopilot. 60,000 miles through storms or no wind. It can follow a route, a heading or wind direction. It can take you directly to the exact point you want to go and has an alarm for course error. It uses insignificant electrical power.
The wind vane can follow the wind, if there is any. You can't follow a course or a heading. It's alarm is the sails flapping and the boat in irons. JMO
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Old 18-07-2011, 09:13   #45
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Re: Auto Pilot vs Self-Steering Vane

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Autopilot steers when there's no wind...

When you are underway with no wind, engine is replenishing amps.. no loss of stored power.

Auto pilots DO consume power under sail, but hold a more reliable course.

Why choose?... get both!
Exactly. They'll both fail on passage, but at different times, if you're lucky!
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