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Old 06-01-2013, 13:15   #91
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Re: Windvane Steering? Autopilot or Both for Offshore Cruising

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Originally Posted by Jim Cate View Post
And perhaps the worst area (not form personal experience) is a bit further on... SE Asia and the PNG/Indonesia area. A shocking number of our friends have been struck in Indonesian waters...
Good to know: we had very intense lightning in Indonesia, in the waters South of Borneo. It was like a strobe light, I remember lashing down a sail on the foredeck and not needing to turn on my flashlight to see what I was doing. But when we got in later someone told us we were squashed between two hurricanes (one far to the North and another far to the South). So until now I thought it was a rare weather pattern that made that much lightening, and not something that's endemic to those waters.

It would have been pretty dangerous to have gotten hit then. We were in a gale with a lot of shipping and other small boats nearby, had little visibility in the rain, low clouds, and weird square big waves you get in shallow water, and felt boxed in by the coast of Borneo and numerous islands around us (and to our lee). So losing our nav lights, radar, and GPS would have been stressful. I wonder how people in the 70's did it!

I used to carry a pump up kerosene camping style lantern as a backup nav light, which was great since it worked in a lot of wind, but it was so bright it would mostly ruin our visibility (it had two settings -- bright and very bright) and needed to be refilled every four hours. I'm glad that LED flashlights are so bright these days, for our next set of voyages we can probably not even think about that and just wrap clear shopping bags around some flashlights and lash them to the shrouds.
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Old 06-01-2013, 13:55   #92
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Re: Windvane Steering? Autopilot or Both for Offshore Cruising

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Originally Posted by Andrew Troup View Post
Regarding windvanes on walk-through sterns, you can mount them on a swinging frame, like a spare tyre on an SUV.

- - - - -

Anyone reading this thread in search of enlightenment should bear in mind that there are ideologies at play here.

If, from familiarity with someone's opinions on other relatively unrelated matters, you can reliably predict what they will write on this one, then I think that's something to factor into your assessment.
I have gone cold on endless net searching for product performance reports as the results are often not particularly objective or are skewed by the reporters motivations.

As an unrelated example of the syndrome I'm alluding to: If someone's views on, say, guns, or climate change, can be reliably predicted from their views on (say) religion, then I think it's suggestive that their intellectual processes are being held hostage in some way.

On the other hand, it's great to knock ideas around with people who are persuaded, sometimes in ways which surprise themselves, by the unique merits of individual cases.

Everyone has a guiding ideology or set of them, some more than others, and if that's a sin I'm guiltier than most.

What I'm edgy about is those who offer prescriptive advice to others, based on their own ideologies, without knowing enough about the other's situation and guiding principles.

I don't have a problem with "This is what I do, for these reasons" but I'm not so enthused about "This is what you should do, because that's what I do"


"This is what you should do, because that's what everyone does" -- appealing to the supposed wisdom of the masses -- is a modification of this, which put in an appearance further up this thread.

I'm underimpressed by where that leads, especially in a world where marketers have become sophisticated hostage-takers of consumers' minds. Ratings-led TV is an extreme example.

However it's also a problem in non-commercial contexts: think Germany after WW1
Excellent insight, clarity & thought provoking examples. (As usual)

One needs to remind one self when "just trying to make decisions" not to be lazy & engage neurons for your specific application, rather than going with peoples past popular decision.
There is the other side of the coin tho', for me, Brighter minds have been here before, why should I bother...... My life is too short obsessing over this.
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Old 06-01-2013, 14:02   #93
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Re: Windvane Steering? Autopilot or Both for Offshore Cruising

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Originally Posted by msponer View Post
So losing our nav lights, radar, and GPS would have been stressful. I wonder how people in the 70's did it!
I dunno.
It sounds dismissive to say but, maybe they didnt know any better?
Also I don't think there were all that many out there in the 70s. Some, sure, but not many.

Worst lightning we had was in Colon, Panama on the Flats waiting for our transit. Every night seemed we would be fried. Never happend to anyone else, but you hear stories.

That that's emergency stuff, I wouldn't cut off my swim platform for a wind vane costing $3,000 on the off chance I get hit by lightning. I mean, really, what's the stats on this stuff? $3 k is a lot, a LOT of money once your cruisng. Converted into Happy Hour Beers and Pot Luck share dinners on the beach with other cruisers....
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Old 06-01-2013, 14:35   #94
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Re: Windvane Steering? Autopilot or Both for Offshore Cruising

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I've been going back and forth between a CPT autopilot or simrad pilot but am wondering if a self steering windvane is the better solution. Any ideas
We have a Simrad pilot and love it. No experience with a windvane.

General observations though - an autopilot can be more versatile. It will steer the boat on a compass heading when there's wind or no wind.

Interfaced with other instruments, it can steer to a waypoint, or apparent wind angle. The SImrad will also steer to a true wind angle, it can execute search patterns, automatically tack or gybe. It'll even steer to a depth contour. It can automatically find your boat's best VMG to windward sailing angle. It can even tell you when to tack to reach an upwind waypoint.

A lot of this stuff isn't neccessary, but it's fun to play with.
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Old 06-01-2013, 15:05   #95
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Re: Windvane Steering? Autopilot or Both for Offshore Cruising

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Interfaced with other instruments, it can steer to a waypoint, or apparent wind angle. The SImrad will also steer to a true wind angle, it can execute search patterns, automatically tack or gybe. It'll even steer to a depth contour. It can automatically find your boat's best VMG to windward sailing angle. It can even tell you when to tack to reach an upwind waypoint.
Isn't all this stuff is way cool? I never single hand because Ray Jr. always comes with me and never seems to get tired of steering. He is blind but seems to get around pretty good with the help of his brother CP, who seems to be able to keep track of where we are a lot better than I can.

Between the 2 of them I get to relax and play attention to other stuff around me, like watching out for the speed boats.

I admit that I have to feed them. But for the most part the eat electrical power scraps from other boat operations.
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Old 06-01-2013, 15:54   #96
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Re: Windvane Steering? Autopilot or Both for Offshore Cruising

Monitor will mount the windvane on a swing arm to accommodate a sugar scoop stern. Saw one on a boat in the Caymans that was headed for Australia a couple of years ago. It was a very neat arrangement and the owners were delighted with it.
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Old 06-01-2013, 18:13   #97
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Re: Windvane Steering? Autopilot or Both for Offshore Cruising

msponer - your story reminded me of a mate of mine who went halves on a small plywood yacht when still a schoolboy and sailed from Nelson around the top of d'Urville through Stephens Passage and into Cook Strait in their first "school holidays"
(For the 99.9% to whom this means nothing, this is fairly much tiger country)

For navigation they were using an Automobile Association map - which was remarkably uninformative, not least because there were no roads on d'Urville Island.

When it got dark they realised they should have navigation lights. They were punching into reasonably big seas and seemed to be taking forever to get anywhere (not realising their dinghy had swamped until they came to anchor and went to the counter to find the painter hanging vertically down !)

Anyway, they didn't have nav lights, so they wrapped a pair of red underpants around one nominally waterproof torch and a lettuce leaf around another, lashed them to the pulpit (sole concession to keeping the masses onboard: there weren't any lifelines, nor a pushpit) and proceeded gently into that not-so-good night.

Note to readers: a lettuce leaf does NOT contribute any discernable green in a previously white light. Red underpants do in comparison rather better, but still not so's you'd notice.
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Old 06-01-2013, 18:29   #98
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It would have been pretty dangerous to have gotten hit then. We were in a gale with a lot of shipping and other small boats nearby, had little visibility in the rain, low clouds, and weird square big waves you get in shallow water, and felt boxed in by the coast of Borneo and numerous islands around us (and to our lee). So losing our nav lights, radar, and GPS would have been stressful. I wonder how people in the 70's did it!
Well I started sailing in the 70 s. and one of my uncles started in the 50s ( ex ships lifeboat converted ) I teach navigation etc and am always surprised to find quite large gaps in knowledge amongst that generation. Just because your older doesn't mean you learned anything. !!!

I once taught a elderly sailor the finer points of chart-work to find that he only then realised there was a big rock in the bay where he regularly sailed in and out of for many years !!
Dave
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Old 06-01-2013, 18:35   #99
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Re: Windvane Steering? Autopilot or Both for Offshore Cruising

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Question for those who have crossed the Pacific - how frequent is lightning during the long passages on this run and how difficult is it to avoid storm cells when they do occur? I imagine the ITCZ has some activity, but nothing much outside of it. Most of the lightning we have encountered has been coastal, and everyone we have met that have been hit have been hit around coastal areas. I haven't read any accounts of people being hit on passage in the Pacific, although I admit my research is pretty short in this area.

Mark
There are others that have more experience in the Pacific than us (Jim Cate, Bob/Connie, Atoll etc) that can probably answer your question with more reliable statistics. Because it is really just personal anecdotes...

However, after spending 5 months in the San Blas and then 6 months across the Pacific last year, I can say that we saw much, much more lightning in the San Blas than the Pacific. While sailing down the trades, we sometimes see lightning but most squalls had none. In the day we would see the squalls with our eyes and usually alter course slightly to avoid them. Same at night using the radar. It seemed easier to avoid the squalls and avoid sail changes, especially when you consider that there are seldom islands or reefs around. Same at night using the radar to track a squall if there is no decent moon. Couldnīt always avoid 100% of them but those that hit us never had lightning.

In the Pacific anchorages, there is no avoidance when a squall comes through. But I canīt remember any of those truly spectacular lightning shows that we used to get in the San Blas. So if you are prepped for the San Blas, in our limited experience, you are definitely ok for the Pacific.
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Old 06-01-2013, 22:33   #100
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Re: Windvane Steering? Autopilot or Both for Offshore Cruising

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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?
Apia - Great place for those (like us) who like a little night life within walking distance.

Wind vanes and the coconut run - you might have a point. My foggy memory has it that there weren't too many wind vanes mounted on the boats of the "gotta get around the world or at least to Australia right now" crowd.

Cyclones... Yeah, we almost got hit in December, but muddled through. Some boaters moved ashore to hotels. In addition to my normal anchor, I rigged two anchors on an all chain rode and suspended the anchors from the bow with cord. Figured my wife would drive us forward, I'd cut the outer anchor loose, drift back, set, then cut the second anchor loose, drift and set. Because of the old volcano walls here the winds are either easterly or westerly. Didn't know what we'd get when the cyclone came so couldn't pre-drop. In the event, we got easterlies when "logic" might have predicted otherwise. (I'm sure there's a name for that dble anchor technique...)

Evan was a Cat 3 and heading east when she hit Samoa. She crossed the eastern isle (only 60-odd miles away) then hooked north, then back west. After passing Samoa again she slowly turned south, built to a Cat 4, then nailed Fiji. More info:

Tropical Cyclone Evan hits Samoa - Weather - Al Jazeera English

We'll probably meander down to Vava'u in Tonga after the cyclone season. Great anchorages, with clean/clear water for swimming. One does not swim in Am/Samoa due to polluted waters. Alright, some people do swim. Even when the "beaches" have health warnings posted.

Too much chat.... Sorry.
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Old 07-01-2013, 08:11   #101
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Re: Windvane Steering? Autopilot or Both for Offshore Cruising

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I'd have to say having a lot of long distances. I dont see the need for windvanes any more. Not to mention they are awkward to fit to sugar scoop sterns.

Dave
Are there any pics of a windvane fitted to a sugar scoop stern by any owner on this forum?
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Old 07-01-2013, 09:07   #102
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Re: Windvane Steering? Autopilot or Both for Offshore Cruising

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Are there any pics of a windvane fitted to a sugar scoop stern by any owner on this forum?
Scoops and Platforms - Centerline - Hydrovane
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Old 07-01-2013, 09:15   #103
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Re: Windvane Steering? Autopilot or Both for Offshore Cruising

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Thanks for that link:
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Old 07-01-2013, 09:29   #104
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Re: Windvane Steering? Autopilot or Both for Offshore Cruising

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Too much chat.... Sorry.
Not at all! Thank you for the great picture
2 anchors off the same chain is called Tandem, I think.

Have fun in American Samoa and Vava'u. I loved it.
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Old 07-01-2013, 13:10   #105
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Re: Windvane Steering? Autopilot or Both for Offshore Cruising

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Are there any pics of a windvane fitted to a sugar scoop stern by any owner on this forum?
Also have a look at the WindPilot web site... heaps of such installations.

Cheers,

Jim
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