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Old 18-07-2011, 10:39   #46
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Re: Auto Pilot vs Self-Steering Vane

thanks Adelie
I downloaded the Murray designs and have a few books recommended here.
Just curious if anyone is cruising with these designs and what modifications they made to the plans to make them work better or with their particular boat.
I'm a derelict boat owner (not the boat, me!) and simply can't afford the off-the-shelf designs.
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Old 18-07-2011, 11:48   #47
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Re: Auto Pilot vs Self-Steering Vane

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Originally Posted by defjef View Post
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!
Very true on all points!

Proper sail trim requires less electrical consumption from the autopilot.
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Old 18-07-2011, 12:38   #48
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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
G'Day C.C,

Well, I did design and build one for our previous boat. After reading some books and looking at existing designs I decided on an auxiliary rudder/trim tab approach. This boat (an old IOR one-tonner) was wheel steered, and the weak point of the servo pendulum designs is in the attachment to the wheel.

The final design I built was a blade rudder, properly balanced, with a trim tab on its aft edge. All built from Plywood, glassed over. Area about 1/3 that of the main rudder. Trim tab was actuated by push-pull cables driven by an inclined axis wind blade, much like the Auto-Helm design. All pretty simple to build, if you can do the welding and simple machining yourself.
It took some fiddling around to get the rudder balance just right, but once that was done it steered quite well from about 5 knots apparent to storm force. We did 86K miles in that boat, and the vane steered approximately 75% of them. It broke twice -- once a pintle failure due to a corroded weld, once the rudder broke clean off when we had a big knockdown in a storm on the Tasman. In both cases our puny old Autohelm 3000 wheel pilot saved the day and got us in to a place where I could make repairs.

IN your case, adding a trim tab to your existing transom hung rudder would be fairly easy, and building the vane part not impossible, depending on your skills and equipment. Alternatively, I believe that Scanmar Marine in Sausalito CA still makes the Auto-Helm vanes, and could sell you the upper parts to drive your trim tab.

Our current boat doesn't have a vane, and I miss it every time we go to sea. We have three separate a/ps and we've managed around 40K miles so far without being forced to hand steer when we didn't want to... and I still miss the vane!

Cheers,

Jim
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Old 16-08-2011, 18:31   #49
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Re: Auto Pilot vs Self-Steering Vane

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Why choose?... get both!
Rig up a cheap tiller pilot to the selfsteering system in place of the vane for motoring, might work?
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Old 16-08-2011, 19:00   #50
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Re: Auto Pilot vs Self-Steering Vane

I had both and found that each was used for a different purpose. The wind vane sails to the wind and there is a sense of enjoyment as you move from place to place the old fashion way.

The auto pilot guides the boat from point A to point B and uses battery power...
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Old 19-09-2011, 21:50   #51
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Re: tiller pilot to drive a wheel?

I have nto seen this anyplace but why couldn't you use a tiller pilot to connect to one of the spokes of a wheel to make adjustments? I am normally making only small adjustments when hand steering. My boat has 3 steering boxes between the wheel and the rudders, so a lot of drag on the system. But really easy to turn the wheel. Anty reason this woulod not work?
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Old 19-09-2011, 22:35   #52
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Re: Auto Pilot vs Self-Steering Vane

It might work. I thought about that myself but then I found a good deal on a used Monitor. I installed it and a Simrad T-22 tiller pilot.
My boat is a 48' heavy, full keel, wooden ketch w/canoe stearn, w/Edson worm gear steering, 4 turns lock to lock.
I use the wind vane when the wind blows and the tiller pilot drives the servo-pendulum gear when the wind doesnt blow.
It took awhile to get it all working right but it works great!!
The tiller pilot burns next to nothing in energy.
My 60 watt panel does a fair job when the sun is out - I plan to double that soon.
I dont know if this will work on another type of wind vane but if it is a servo-pendulum type, I don't see why it would'nt.
I know some guys have had trouble driving these through a wheel and have rigged up aux tillers just for the tiller pilot.
I installed the Monitor & pilot in one day and the whole deal was under $2500.
Have fun!!
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