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Old 09-04-2014, 10:07   #1
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Windvane Selfsteering Unit - Old Windpilot?

Hi there,

I bumped into this reasonably priced second-hand windvane selfsteering unit. I know most of these units preform well even though they operate with a different concept. I also know most of them last a lifetime. This particular one however I've never seen before. The owner knows little about it, but it's supposedly an older windpilot...

Does anybody know what this is, how it preforms, how reliable it is and how it's mounted?



















Thanks!
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Old 09-04-2014, 10:19   #2
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Re: Windvane selfsteering unit - old windpilot?

It appears the nylon gears and parts are deteriorated, keep that in mind.
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Old 09-04-2014, 10:26   #3
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Re: Windvane selfsteering unit - old windpilot?

I noticed. He does state there being a second set in the package-deal, as seen in picture 6.
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Old 12-04-2014, 13:02   #4
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Re: Windvane selfsteering unit - old windpilot?

Anybody else? :s
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Old 12-04-2014, 15:28   #5
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Re: Windvane selfsteering unit - old windpilot?

Verify that second set prior to purchase.

Sent from my SPH-L710 using Cruisers Sailing Forum mobile app
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Old 12-04-2014, 16:03   #6
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Re: Windvane selfsteering unit - old windpilot?

Right now I'm not even sure this is what I want for a windvane autopilot... So little info available =/
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Old 12-04-2014, 16:28   #7
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Re: Windvane selfsteering unit - old windpilot?

Hi Orchidus,

There are various schools of thought on the different designs of wind vane steering systems, and one of the first hurdles from my reading seems to be boat size. I cannot see from your profile what sort of boat you have, size, displacement, keel shape are all factors.

That particular Windpilot seems to be an auxiliary rudder type of wind vane with a direct drive "V" vane, rather than trim tab. If that is the case, then according to what I have read it will not suit a boat much larger than 36 feet, and a boat with a relatively light helm at that. I stress, I don't KNOW this for a fact, but it comes up again and again in what I have been reading. Also, some authors are critical of the V Vane type because they say they are less sensitive than the H Vane.

The book I found most helpful was Self-steering Under Sail by Peter Christian Forthmann. From what I have read here on C.F. most (not all) of his views are shared by CF members with serious sea miles under their belts.

I am building an auxiliary rudder with trim tab and H vane for various reasons, mostly to do with layout constraints on our particular boat, even though much of the literature suggests I should be using servo pendulum for a boat our particular characteristics.

It's a vexed and tricky field to navigate and I only wish I had practical experience to back up what I recommend, rather than a lot of reading. In this manner, I am only and an armchair enthusiast.

Matt
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Old 12-04-2014, 16:47   #8
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Re: Windvane selfsteering unit - old windpilot?

The boat is a 6,5 ton and 29ft steel classic. Not a longkeeler, but no skeg-hung rudder either.

I've done a lot of reading, and I'm very much in favor of a system with an auxiliary rudder. Ease of mounting and less clutter on the stern and in the cockpit as primary reasons. Apart from those aspects I hear good things about all major types and I'm sure I'll be happy with the preformance of any major brand name vane that's sized right for the boat.

The newer monitor systems fit the bill, but I haven't seen/read much about this older version of the system. It's price is very appealing, but since I'm taking it transatlantic I want to be sure to get something that preforms well and is reliable.

Since my boat is only 29ft it seems it would be alright, but the 6.5ton weight when fully loaded might push it then...
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Old 12-04-2014, 17:36   #9
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Re: Windvane Selfsteering Unit - Old Windpilot?

I have a Windpilot Pacific Plus - heavier than the one you're looking at I think and a different vane type.

It has a barn door of an auxiliary rudder that looks like your photo. Being abaft my main rudder the auxiliary has relatively more leverage and there's no quick way of getting it out of the water. Manoeuvrability is much reduced, especially going astern.
If the rudder would turn through 360 degrees I'd let it spin free but the transom prevents that so I have to lock it straight ahead.

Currently thinking of the easiest and quickest fix for tight spots on windy days.
I could make it work with the main rudder using, say, a toothed belt & pulleys or I could modify the transom mount to let me swing the rudder out of the water without dismantling the whole thing.

Still thinking... and I do have that stern thruster just lying around
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Old 12-04-2014, 18:17   #10
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Re: Windvane Selfsteering Unit - Old Windpilot?

Use the WPPP to help steer the boat In tight quarters. All you have to do is tie two lines to the weight on the vane and run through some fairleads on each side of the boat. Pull on one line or the other to trick the vane into thinking the wind is telling the auxiliary steering rudder where to steer. Makes maneuvering in small spaces a piece of cake especially when wind is working against you.

Free wheeling the steering rudder doesn't work. Tried that and it caused great embarrassment always flopping over to the wrong side going backwards. Put it in the locked straight ahead position when going backwards and try and push off or use mooring lines to get the boat moving where you want in reverse.



Quote:
Originally Posted by bornyesterday View Post
I have a Windpilot Pacific Plus - heavier than the one you're looking at I think and a different vane type.

It has a barn door of an auxiliary rudder that looks like your photo. Being abaft my main rudder the auxiliary has relatively more leverage and there's no quick way of getting it out of the water. Manoeuvrability is much reduced, especially going astern.
If the rudder would turn through 360 degrees I'd let it spin free but the transom prevents that so I have to lock it straight ahead.

Currently thinking of the easiest and quickest fix for tight spots on windy days.
I could make it work with the main rudder using, say, a toothed belt & pulleys or I could modify the transom mount to let me swing the rudder out of the water without dismantling the whole thing.

Still thinking... and I do have that stern thruster just lying around
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Old 23-05-2014, 04:39   #11
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Re: Windvane Selfsteering Unit - Old Windpilot?

I have a series 1 WP pacific plus that does not look like your unit. Anyway, I just sailed over the pond last year with a WPPP on a Swan 40. Great piece of kit until a false killer whale rubbed up against it.. Anyway it really surprised me running down wind in less than 10 n apparent it steered like a dream... It handled the steering for over 9k nm. We also ran into the tail end of a hurricane, 3 days winds over 50 gusting to 60. WP and storm jib.. No worries..I was amazed... I like the PP as there are no lines in the cockpit and the boats steering system is not used saving cables etc.

Third crossing coming up and I will not leave home without it (;-).

Mike from Stormsvale
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Old 23-05-2014, 11:49   #12
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Re: Windvane Selfsteering Unit - Old Windpilot?

Hi Mike and welcome, sorry to pick your brain before you've even sat down...

Saw online a drawing of a tiller steered Swan 40 - beautiful - the counter's height above the waterline seems enough that your auxiliary rudder could rotate 360 and therefore be allowed to follow the water flow when going astern. Is that correct and does it still interfere with manoeuvring at all?

I'm thinking of attaching a new arm to the auxiliary rudder's shaft on my WPPP and using a heavy Morse type cable to link both rudders when going astern.
I have Whitlock wheel steering so the rudder quadrant seems the obvious place to mount the cable. Maybe use nylon ball & socket connections both ends so I can remove the cable's extra friction at all other times.

Not married to this idea yet, still looking for opinions, cautions & better ideas.
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Old 23-05-2014, 23:02   #13
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Re: Windvane Selfsteering Unit - Old Windpilot?

We do love our lady! We do not have the interior space of the newer boats but she makes up for it in other ways. There were very few of the tiler steering versions produced. Ours has wheel steering.

Anyway, to your question. You could do as you suggest. I am a KISS guy. The more complex it is the more likely it is to break. WPPP the versions I have has a bolt going through the shaft that the rudder rotates in. This bolt is tightened to clamp the rudder in place so it does not move when backing up. Works perfectly.

The very early WPPP did not have this option but I do not see why it could not be retro fitted. You would need a welder to build up the tube wall for strength then drill and tap it. You also would need to notch the shaft so the bolt does not slip on the shaft.. there is a lot of force there.

The biggest problem with these units is corrosion.SS and aluminium do not get along. I use a lot of Lanokot on all the connections but I still get it.

Hope this helps!!!

Happy to answer questions!

Mike
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Old 24-05-2014, 02:46   #14
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Re: Windvane Selfsteering Unit - Old Windpilot?

Sorry My last message was useless to you"!!!
Looking closely at your pictures I see you have a very different system take a look at this website. WINDPILOT - Tips

I think yours is the first example and is very different from the WPPP I have. Looks like you may have an arm which you can use to control the WP rudder. Nice idea. I think you may be able to lash this to control the movement of the WP rudder. As for mounting, I can't see the pieces in your collection corresponding to the mounts in the pictures on the WP site. You could contact Peter at WP to discuss it. Beware...he really wants to sell new units. I bought mine used and he was helpful to a point...to quote it is old technology you really should get the new and improved version (I have WPPP version 1). As far as getting new bushings and stuff from him he was not all that helpful. I snapped a servo rudder in a cross sea off Cape Finnisterre. I had a spare so it was not critical. When I asked for a replacement for a spare he wanted over 250. Two in plywood cost me 20 and some time.. they are identical to the original just stronger..

Maybe a bit more useful.

Mike
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Old 30-05-2015, 14:54   #15
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Re: Windvane Selfsteering Unit - Old Windpilot?

Hi, old thread. this appears to be a windpilot atlantic from the 1970's. made by the founder of windpilot, john adam, before peter took over. peter then undertook a lot of study, developing the more powerful pacific servo-pendulum systems and phased out the less powerful hasler type

cruising boats were getting bigger and bigger and the 1st gen vertical systems were simply not powerful enough

the atlantic appears to have come as 3 types - 2,3,4 ...maybe sizes? and were for boats less than 10m long

many are still working and seem to suit smaller, lighter helm boats

sometimes modern horizontal servo types can be too powerful for such boats and have them hunting around

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