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Old 21-03-2018, 05:51   #1
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Does a power boat need a wind sensor?

How useful is a wind sensor for a mid-size power boat?

Can I assume that the plotter will take the motion of the boat into account when it reports the wind speed and direction?

How does the boat know the speed and course through the water? Obviously it would need to know this in order to correctly calculate the wind speed and direction.
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Old 21-03-2018, 05:59   #2
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Re: Does a power boat need a wind sensor?

Without an awareness of the wind you’ll end up doing goofy things with docks and anchors.

That said, if you only display apparent wind data, you’d be miles ahead most other powerboats
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Old 21-03-2018, 06:30   #3
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Re: Does a power boat need a wind sensor?

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Originally Posted by jsc7 View Post
How useful is a wind sensor for a mid-size power boat?
Nice info but far from neccessary.

Can I assume that the plotter will take the motion of the boat into account when it reports the wind speed and direction?
Plotters don't normally report wind info. That said, speed and direction can be incorporated to determine true vs apparent wind.

How does the boat know the speed and course through the water? Obviously it would need to know this in order to correctly calculate the wind speed and direction.
The boat doesn't know anything. The chart plotter typically uses GPS which gives you speed over ground. Most wind systems use the speed wheel to calculate true wind speed and direction.
Google Apparent vs True Wind Speed to get more details on how the calculations work but it's really not needed for power boats. Heck, even cruising sailors don't really need to know the difference. Usually just keep an eye out for flags or the wind instruments on sail boats and it will give you plenty of info as a power boater.
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Old 21-03-2018, 07:31   #4
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Re: Does a power boat need a wind sensor?

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Originally Posted by valhalla360 View Post
Plotters don't normally report wind info. That said, speed and direction can be incorporated to determine true vs apparent wind.
I think most modern MFD's (chartplotters) will calculate and display wind speed and direction, real and apparent, if you have wind data input via NMEA.

The problem is, a NMEA 2000 wind station is outrageously expensive. You can buy a home weather station at WalMart for one-tenth the price.

And on a power boat, it's hard to justify anything fancier than that. I find wind speed and direction a handy thing to know at anchor, or for bragging rights after the storm has passed. Beyond that, it's fun, but far from necessary.
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Old 21-03-2018, 07:54   #5
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Re: Does a power boat need a wind sensor?

That's funny, I just bought one of those weather stations on Amazon for my power boat. I like to know things about the weather and conditions, though it is not really necessary on a power boat. My last trip had 30+ knots of wind for a few days. I didn't have the weather station yet, so that is just an estimate, but it kept us in our anchorage for 3 days. I think that the more information that you have, you might make better decisions based on that information. YMMV.

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Old 21-03-2018, 08:49   #6
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Re: Does a power boat need a wind sensor?

Airmar
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The best of the best with no moving parts We got one 3 years ago and find it very helpful on our 90 footer.
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Old 21-03-2018, 09:50   #7
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Re: Does a power boat need a wind sensor?

I think it's a really good idea, especially if you have a networked instrument system already. I had a wind sensor on a 21' RIB, which I used for regattas, and it was tremendously helpful. In your case, you tend to lose track of increasing wind speeds or wind shifts since you operate the boat from an enclosed space, as opposed to most sailors who are forced to experience the wind by the nature of their cockpits.

If you have a GPS that has a NMEA 2000 output, it should be able to take COG and SOG and compute True Wind Direction, True Wind Angle, and True Wind Speed as well as the apparent wind and speed functions.

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Old 21-03-2018, 09:59   #8
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Re: Does a power boat need a wind sensor?

I have been watching this forum for a while, and this is the first reply I have posted. I am surprised that no-one commenting on this question has said that an instrument for wind strength and direction is useful regardless of the boat you have or its speed through the water. I would not want to go to sea in any small boat, power or sail without having a good idea of wind (and tide) strength and direction before setting out - ie as part of passage planning. Wind and tide direction and strength clearly significantly affect wave form and direction, and thus motion and comfort at sea. A F5 downwind is completely different than bashing away upwind. And especially if you have wind-over-tide conditions. So being able to watch your local wind direction and strength will give you a very good idea of what it might be like at sea. Who would not want that?
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Old 21-03-2018, 10:01   #9
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Re: Does a power boat need a wind sensor?

Hell my sailboat doesn't have wind instrument and it hasn't been an issue in the 8 years I've been using it.

But, like any device on a boat if ones spends their money on it they will defend it as a needed item.
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Old 21-03-2018, 10:19   #10
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Re: Does a power boat need a wind sensor?

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Airmar
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The best of the best with no moving parts We got one 3 years ago and find it very helpful on our 90 footer.
i sort of like knowing if the winds are increasing and the direction
Sometime you get a blow that hasn't whipped up the waves the waves yet and it just gives you a better idea what maybe coming later in day or next morning
Also anchoring in a tight spot you might drop it a little closer to windward
At the time if you know its increasing you might just put out more chain.
there is a ton of reasons
i sort of believe the more toys and knowledge you can amass makes you a little smarter and prepares you before sh*t hits the fan
We all have been there when it does
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Old 21-03-2018, 10:22   #11
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Re: Does a power boat need a wind sensor?

Yes, a wind instrument is a good idea for most of the above reasons. Even a low profile powerboat has surfaces affected by the wind, generating waves, chop, etc., all with an impact on navigation and ride. And, that breeze that doesn't show much on the surface when you're in the harbor might be pushing harder above, especially if you have a flybridge, making getting in and out of a slip, on or away from a dock, or moving down a narrow channel a varsity experience.

The instrument doesn't need to be expensive or particularly high tech. A Windex and ribbon can get you started.
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Old 21-03-2018, 10:26   #12
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Re: Does a power boat need a wind sensor?

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Originally Posted by CaptTom View Post
I think most modern MFD's (chartplotters) will calculate and display wind speed and direction, real and apparent, if you have wind data input via NMEA.

The problem is, a NMEA 2000 wind station is outrageously expensive. You can buy a home weather station at WalMart for one-tenth the price.

And on a power boat, it's hard to justify anything fancier than that. I find wind speed and direction a handy thing to know at anchor, or for bragging rights after the storm has passed. Beyond that, it's fun, but far from necessary.
For $125 Acurite make a weather station you might consider?
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Old 21-03-2018, 15:04   #13
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Re: Does a power boat need a wind sensor?

Unless you are a real weather geek, why do you care about knowing the wind data to instrumented precision or accuracy?

I am a sailor, but those instruments on my boat died many years ago and I never replaced them. Why should I, when all I need to know can be learned by my five senses and a bit of experience?

Racers do require highly repeatable and accurate wind data to make necessary adjustments. Not so much for us cruisers and same holds for power boats IMHO.
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Old 21-03-2018, 16:09   #14
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Re: Does a power boat need a wind sensor?

I have wind speed/direction instruments on my powerboat, speed is always useful, but for some strange reason when I am at anchor the wind is ALWAYS coming from dead ahead!!!!!!!! I wonder if my direction sensor is faulty?
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Old 21-03-2018, 16:16   #15
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Re: Does a power boat need a wind sensor?

Wind instruments measure apparent wind, relative to the boat. If you have boat speed through water data, most chartplotters will allow you to show true wind relative to the water you are sailing in. If you have GPS speed and heading, some chartplotters will allow you to show ground wind, relative to the ground or shore.

For a sailboat wind data is critical as it allows the autopilot to steer to a wind angle. It could also be relevant to a motorboat if you want to steer at an angle to the waves (sort of). I would definitely install one on any boat.
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