Cruisers Forum
 


Join CruisersForum Today

Reply
 
Thread Tools Rate Thread Display Modes
Old 05-01-2013, 03:22   #61
Registered User

Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 239
Re: Windvane Steering? Autopilot or Both for Offshore Cruising

We left Europe 10 years ago fitted the boat with a Monitor windvane and 2 autopilots, one hydraulic and the other electric.

Hit by lightning in the middle of the Atlantic we lost BOTH autopilots. The Monitor broke it's sacrificial tube in the same storm . We were unable to fix the autopilots. We had the Monitor up and running again in an hour.

The thought of the two of us hand steering for the next 1,800 miles is horrific.

In St Maarten we replaced both autopilots, at vast cost!

We learned to trim the sails(cutter rig) so that the Monitor can cope with pretty much any weather conditions. We have had it working in winds from less than 3 knots to over 70 knots(that wasn't nice). It coped very well BUT you need to know your boat well and what sail configuration works with the windvane. We find that the Monitor likes the boat to pull from the front and by understanding that we can configure our sail plan for optimum performance.

Fast forward 6 years and we were hit by lightning again(!), folks don't anchor near us now. Once again BOTH autopilots bit the dust. This time we did not replace them and for the past 4 years have sailed solely with the Monitor, just the two of us, ocean and coastal.

Our newest purchase is a tillerpilot for the,for us, rare times when we need to motor in no wind. Something that we avoid doing at all cost. We can usually manage to keep moving in our chosen direction in under 5 knots of wind so those motoring events are pretty rare.

A lot depends on how you sail, do you slam on the engine and want to go in a straight line a lot of the time? That's not often an option in ocean sailing particularly if, like us, you try and conserve as much fuel as possible.

Ideological arguments aside our experience with lightning strikes proves that there is no such thing as back up electrical systems in some situations!

I would not cross and ocean, or sail in a remote location, without the windvane.
__________________

__________________
annk is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-01-2013, 04:03   #62
Registered User
 
lateral's Avatar

Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: NZ
Boat: S34 Bob Stewart - 1959 Patiki class. Re--built by me & good mate.
Posts: 703
Re: Windvane steering? Autopilot or both for offshore cruising

Quote:
Originally Posted by rebel heart View Post
That about sums it up.

If you're not swimming in money, get an autopilot first. We have an X5 and it's worked out fine for us. The autopilot will work in wind and no-wind, and you can't say the same for the wind vane. Not in any way knocking the vane, but if it's the difference between sailing this year or next, just grab an X5 on sale somewhere and bail.

This is the first disagreement I can remember with what you expound RH.
I can get a good wine vane second hand for 500--> $1500. (I have)
(I also have the tp32= toy pilot backup) I wouldn't buy a second hand electric autopilot & a new one equivalent to the wv will cost me 3.5k+$ So they must be only for the well heeled folk!
__________________

__________________
lateral is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-01-2013, 05:00   #63
Registered User
 
SimonV's Avatar

Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Brisbane, Australia.
Posts: 1,316
Re: Windvane Steering? Autopilot or Both for Offshore Cruising

I use both but mainly wind when on passage. I also have a Raymarine tiller pilot that is connected to the wind vane when winds are light and abaft the beam (abaft what a lovely word) If ever I stop ocean sailing I may give up on the wind vane but until then wind rules. And the under deck pilots do make an annoying noise, not so much being loud but annoying in its random actuation.
Oh and aside from the wind vanes being more fool prof, they also allow less sail adjustments on long trade wind passages as long as you dont mind 5 to 10 degrees of course change during the night but this evens itself out as the sun comes up.
__________________
Simon

https://svgoodonya.blogspot.com.au/
SimonV is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-01-2013, 05:58   #64
Don't ask if you can't handle it
 
sailorboy1's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: On the boat somewhere
Boat: Hunter 410
Posts: 12,305
Re: Windvane Steering? Autopilot or Both for Offshore Cruising

Seems this thread parallels others in that:

Whether you have wind vane or an autopilot..........it wouldn't fix stupid.

You are either the paranoid or the just normally prepared sailor in your "events" planning.

I have to wonder, which one is best for whale collisions?
__________________
jobless, houseless, clueless, living on a boat and cruising around somewhere
sailorboy1 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-01-2013, 07:41   #65
Senior Cruiser
 
colemj's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Presently on US East Coast
Boat: Manta 40 "Reach"
Posts: 10,049
Images: 12
Re: Windvane Steering? Autopilot or Both for Offshore Cruising

Quote:
Originally Posted by SimonV View Post
Oh and aside from the wind vanes being more fool prof, they also allow less sail adjustments on long trade wind passages as long as you dont mind 5 to 10 degrees of course change during the night but this evens itself out as the sun comes up.
AP's allow that also - just press the "Wind" mode button. In fact, Jimmy Cornell recommends using this mode at night.

Lightning strikes, or other electrical system issues, are valid concerns and should be taken into account with risk assessment, system design and mitigation strategies - just like those for hitting whales and other non-routine bad stuff.

For electrical problem planning, you also will be assessing navigation systems, charging abilities, communications and basic living needs like water, refrigeration and light. The AP may be the least of your worries. We too were hit by lightning and lost our AP. We also lost every single electronic item on the boat except our refrigeration (go figure) and the SSB (which is on its own dedicated electrical system). This included half our battery bank, two battery chargers, an alternator, the windlass, all navigation equipment, the inverter, the solar regulator (but not the panels), and basically everything else you can think of. We were lucky enough to be spared a complete battery bank meltdown, the solar panels themselves (charging could be done by connecting/disconnecting them directly to the remaining batteries), the refrigeration, the SSB and the watermaker, so food, water, communications were not problems and electricity could be easily managed. Navigation was picked up by a computer with a hockey puck gps. And we were only 100nm away from facilities, so none of this was as critical as being 2000nm from landfall.

To summarize my long point about this: if one gets a windvane solely because of the chance of lightning, then one must equally prepare for a complete loss of electricity and electrical generation ability, navigation capacity and possibly much of the water, food and food preparation ability. Again, your AP going down in a strike may be the least of your problems.

Ripping off mounts and other things like that are installation issues and no different than those encountered with windvanes. People severely underestimate the forces applied by an AP drive. They could equally underestimate those for windvanes also, except that windvanes LOOK like they have the possibility of tearing off the transom, so they are mounted with the respect and attention they require. AP drives just look like small cylinders and are often simply screwed onto existing weak structures or a insufficient mount is made for them.

Mark
__________________
www.svreach.com

You do not need a parachute to skydive. You only need a parachute to skydive twice.
colemj is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-01-2013, 07:51   #66
Senior Cruiser

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Jul 2005
Boat: Outbound 44
Posts: 4,560
Re: Windvane Steering? Autopilot or Both for Offshore Cruising

Mark,
Given your brushes with lightening, what's your offshore plan for loosing your primary AP from a lightening strike while multi-days from a port?
__________________
Paul L
http://svjeorgia.blogspot.com
Paul L is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 05-01-2013, 08:13   #67
Registered User

Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Toronto area when not cruising
Boat: Bristol 45.5
Posts: 668
Re: Windvane Steering? Autopilot or Both for Offshore Cruising

We have a Monitor and a below decks Raymarine and overwhelmingly rely on the Monitor. It takes some practice to get the most out of it, but is worth it to avoid the mechanical noise and power use. We rarely have to use our genset which is nice.

If you can afford both, great. If only one, a vane for long passages.

BTW, in South Africa at least half of the foreign cruisers, who are all rtw, have vane steering. Monitors are most common followed by Hyrdovane.
__________________
Still looking for our next boat. Have decided we want to have something that will keep us happy for the next 10 years or so. By then I will be pushing 80 and if i am still sailing that will be a very good thing.
AiniA is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-01-2013, 11:45   #68
Registered User

Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: San Francisco Bay
Boat: Olson 34
Posts: 59
Re: Windvane Steering? Autopilot or Both for Offshore Cruising

I am building a electric drive for a monitor wind vane. The function is the same as what one achieves by using a tiller pilot on the vane. I will attach an actuator to the counter weight on the air blade, likely with a small dyneema line or a push rod. Question for the wind vane users: Could you roughly estimate the pressure/load that the counter weight sees under typical conditions, say up to 30 kts of wind ? I am wondering how much torque or pressure I need to generate from my drive motor. I plan to mount the drive on the stainless frame elements on the monitor just below the counter weight.
Thanks,
Brian
__________________
brianb00 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-01-2013, 12:04   #69
cat herder, extreme blacksheep
 
zeehag's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: furycame alley , tropics, mexico for now
Boat: 1976 FORMOSA yankee clipper 41
Posts: 17,761
Images: 56
Send a message via Yahoo to zeehag Send a message via Skype™ to zeehag
Re: Windvane Steering? Autopilot or Both for Offshore Cruising

i agree for a change with rebel heart---here in pacific one has either too much wind or not enough--there is never just right amount ....
ray marine wheel mounted stuff is junk. wont work in seas, wont work in storms, so , what is the use???????
i sailed way too many legs of cruises with wheel mounted rm--and did so much more hand steering than when we were learning to sail the hudson river in youth with a tiller tied to the coamings for tracking ....
zeehag is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-01-2013, 12:38   #70
Registered User

Join Date: Sep 2012
Posts: 4,915
Re: Windvane Steering? Autopilot or Both for Offshore Cruising

One thing to keep in mind is that adding a tiller pilot to a vane works very well in the light stuff but I think you'll find most of the vane manufacterers don't support motoring while the vane is in the water due to prop turbulence. I know lots of folks do this anyways.
__________________
robert sailor is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 05-01-2013, 15:57   #71
Registered User
 
svmariane's Avatar

Join Date: May 2007
Location: Currently in South Pacific. Home Port: Vienna, Austria
Boat: Celestial, Stay'sl-Rigged Sloop, 48 ft
Posts: 1,163
Re: Windvane Steering? Autopilot or Both for Offshore Cruising

Quote:
Originally Posted by MarkJ View Post
Anyone else count, too, and tell us where you are.
American Samoa, anchored out with others for the hurricane season.

Having chatted with the others and sticking my head out the hatch, I count:

Cats= 2, Both w/AutoPilot

Mono= 13, of those we've 7 w/WindVane, 3 w/AP, 3 manual steer (or sheet/tiller/jib bungee-cord steer)

Less than 10 yrs old = 3 Mono w/WindVane and 1 Cat.

Windvane types = 5 Monitor, 2 unknown. Well, unknown to me, anyway

Monos are sized from two in the 27-30 ft (ish) range (both single handed) with most others in the 38 to 48 ft range. One 85 ft ketch with like 3 AP systems, dual gensets, twin freezers, twin fridges, and, and, and.

By the way...The manual/sheet steered boats are ALL single handed, with 2 having younger lads of late 20s to mid 30s, and one being an old salt of approx 70, rather than couples/family boats (one AP mono is single handed). Just noted that & it's now got me wondering... Is it a money thing (because, yes, the four single-handers are the ones looking for work ashore, or willing to hull-clean for a few bucks) or is it real-world simplicity? For when there is no wife/partner to grab the helm whilst hubby crawls around doing repairs?

Also here, but IMO not really relevant to the counting, are 3 monos that are med-moored to the docks with elderly gents as live-aboards who make no bones about having "dropped anchor" forever. They seem pretty well stripped down. The boats, not the old geezers!
__________________
"Being offended is not the same thing as being right." Dave Barry.
Note: Offense is always taken, never given.
When life hands you lemons..... add gin & tonic!
svmariane is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-01-2013, 17:30   #72
Senior Cruiser
 
roverhi's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Kona, Hawaii, Carlsbad, CA
Boat: 1969 Pearson 35 #108 & 1976 Sabre 28
Posts: 6,002
Send a message via Yahoo to roverhi
Re: Windvane Steering? Autopilot or Both for Offshore Cruising

Most people take off the wind paddle when they attach an autopilot to the windvane. No more force required than what it takes to lift the lead weight at full throw. If you are going to leave the wind paddle on, it will take a lot of force to counteract it in a strong wind. No reason to be fighting that.




Quote:
Originally Posted by brianb00 View Post
I am building a electric drive for a monitor wind vane. The function is the same as what one achieves by using a tiller pilot on the vane. I will attach an actuator to the counter weight on the air blade, likely with a small dyneema line or a push rod. Question for the wind vane users: Could you roughly estimate the pressure/load that the counter weight sees under typical conditions, say up to 30 kts of wind ? I am wondering how much torque or pressure I need to generate from my drive motor. I plan to mount the drive on the stainless frame elements on the monitor just below the counter weight.
Thanks,
Brian
__________________
Peter O.
'Ae'a Pearson 35
roverhi is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-01-2013, 17:54   #73
Long Range Cruiser
 
MarkJ's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Australian living on "Sea Life" currently in England.
Boat: Beneteau 393 "Sea Life"
Posts: 12,828
Images: 25
Re: Windvane Steering? Autopilot or Both for Offshore Cruising

Quote:
Originally Posted by svmariane View Post
American Samoa, anchored out with others for the hurricane season.

Having chatted with the others and sticking my head out the hatch, I count:
What bizarre results!
I need you to up anchor and go to the other Samoa and check there and report back

I wonder.... Wonder if its got to do with Samoa being more off the cruisers "normal" coconut run?
Tonga isn't far away and I really don't think there was many there at all.

By the way, American Samoa gets dusted up by cyclones... Are you safe there? Wasnt there one there just recently? As in this season?
__________________
Notes on a Circumnavigation.
OurLifeAtSea.com

Somalia Pirates and our Convoy
MarkJ is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-01-2013, 18:42   #74
Registered User
 
PamlicoTraveler's Avatar

Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Depends
Boat: SB 43' Cutter
Posts: 679
Images: 13
We use a Monitor Windvane and have rigged a Raymarine ST1000 "tiller pilot" to steer via the Windvane when there is no wind. It's the best of both worlds. If you can steer relative to wind as you do with an autopilot, it is much better.

I think the Monitor Windvane was the smartest purchase I ever made. It is more important to me than a Watermaker or generator.

[IMG]

http://www.google.com/search?q=monitor+windvane+st1000&hl=en&tbo=d&sourc e=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ei=ONboULjcE4uK0QGZuoEg&sqi=2 &ved=0CAYQ_AUoAQ&biw=768&bih=928#biv=i%7C0;d%7CF51 wKMYVBdGlcM:[/IMG]
__________________
The next best thing to playing and winning
is playing and losing ...
[I]
PamlicoTraveler is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-01-2013, 19:40   #75
Registered User

Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: San Francisco Bay
Boat: Olson 34
Posts: 59
Re: Windvane Steering? Autopilot or Both for Offshore Cruising

Thanks for the feedback. To the "paddle" is so well balanced that the force to turn it is very slight, without the wind paddle attached ? It must be very well balanced indeed, along its chord.

Regards,
Brian

Quote:
Originally Posted by roverhi View Post
Most people take off the wind paddle when they attach an autopilot to the windvane. No more force required than what it takes to lift the lead weight at full throw. If you are going to leave the wind paddle on, it will take a lot of force to counteract it in a strong wind. No reason to be fighting that.
__________________

__________________
brianb00 is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
autopilot

Thread Tools
Display Modes Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
NORVANE WINDVANE Performance / Reliability review kirkalittle Product or Service Reviews & Evaluations 19 30-01-2014 05:33
Cruising on $500 per Month . . . goprisko General Sailing Forum 3094 24-03-2012 23:32
For Sale: VHFs, Offshore Medical Kit, Cruising Guides, Chart Cards, etc. svdreamkeeper Classifieds Archive 0 04-12-2011 18:10
For Sale: Cruising Guides and Sailing Resource Books svdreamkeeper Classifieds Archive 3 23-11-2011 12:24
World Cruising Club at Annapolis Boat Show Hud3 Cruising News & Events 4 13-10-2011 04:55



Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -7. The time now is 19:53.


Google+
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Social Knowledge Networks
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

ShowCase vBulletin Plugins by Drive Thru Online, Inc.