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Old 31-12-2015, 11:13   #1
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Need-to-know info about older Fleming Wind Vanes

I'm posting this because i'm hoping that it will pop up if someone is thinking of buying an older Fleming vane. I bought a 'brand-new second-hand' vane from someone on CF a little while ago. It is an early model (probably 2000) but had never been fitted to a boat so was still very shiny and nice and new looking. I wasn't particularly impressed with the quality of the finer points of construction when i opened the boxes but i fitted it, did some trials, sorted out a few teething issues and set sail fro Bermuda to St. Martin a few weeks ago. 250 miles from St. Martin the auxiliary rudder simply fell off and disappeared into the depths of the Nares Abyssal Plain. Since i'm on my own it was rather inconvenient to say the least as my electric autopilot is a tiller pilot that i attached to the wind vane rudder.

Anyway, the weld failed due to a very clear manufacturing defect. I have attached a picture of the stub that is left.

I contacted Fleming and the guy essentially said that he purchased the company in 2008 and that all the Fleming vanes made prior to that are junk. In his words, and i quote directly, "it was a hopeless expectation for such a connection to withstand the rigors of offshore sailing".

I have no idea what the new ones are like (post 2007), but i'm posting this so that hopefully if anyone is thinking of buying a second-hand Fleming vane from 2007 or before and does a search then they will see this post and not do it! For me, excluding the days of work I put into it but including the costs of getting local machinists to modify things, it has been a $4.5k mistake.

edit: CF has rotated the image by 90 degrees to the left. You should be able to figure out the proper orientation by looking at the water in the background.
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Old 31-12-2015, 11:23   #2
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Re: Need-to-know info about older Fleming Wind Vanes

$4,500 on a 15 year old wind vane??

I fail to see peoples love of the things.
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Old 04-01-2016, 06:46   #3
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Re: Need-to-know info about older Fleming Wind Vanes

Quote:
Originally Posted by MarkJ View Post
$4,500 on a 15 year old wind vane??

I fail to see peoples love of the things.
Well, i paid $2500 but then there was about $600 in shipping to Bermuda from Florida, plus 22.5% duty, plus getting some bits machined for the mounts, plus loads off little bits and pieces like bolts and stuff. Yea, it might even be more than $4.5k come to think of it. Lesson learned.

I'll always be an advocate of wind vanes though having done a few crossings with them. I find them to be generally more reliable than electric autopilots (this case notwithstanding!) and give a greater range of options regarding what you can do with them. Each to his (or her) own however!
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