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Old 09-08-2019, 06:49   #1
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Is self steering possible or practical?

Looking for the broad and helpful knowledge I usually get here. I'm working toward doing some extended cruising, and quite a bit of it will likely be solo. I recently purchased a 40 ft schooner which if done correctly, I show below. No brain could be further from an engineering type than mine.

I do have an Autohelm, but If the cruising works out I'm going to want self steering and I'm not even sure that with the severe overhang and the rudder being so far forward it is even possible. Admittedly I've never sailed on a boat with anything other than the most rudimentary self steering, so maybe the typical wind vane set up doesn't even use the rudder, but it's own "rudder" (if that's what it's called) so it's irrelevant where the rudder is?

Thanks in advance!
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Old 09-08-2019, 07:46   #2
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Re: Is self steering possible or practical?

With this much overhang systems based on pendulums or on independent rudders driven directly will be lifted out of the water when you need them most. Such a system will be limited then (too fair weather use).


The point is to have a system that will work when (---) hits the fan. The system doing the work and you saving your stamina in that sweet doghouse.


So my answer is yes it can be done BUT why not stick to a HQ autopilot system.


You have said A when you chose this specific hull shape, Now say B and buy a bulletproof AP system.


Cheers,
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Old 09-08-2019, 07:51   #3
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Originally Posted by barnakiel View Post
With this much overhang systems based on pendulums or on independent rudders driven directly will be lifted out of the water when you need them most. Such a system will be limited then (too fair weather use).


The point is to have a system that will work when (---) hits the fan. The system doing the work and you saving your stamina in that sweet doghouse.


So my answer is yes it can be done BUT why not stick to a HQ autopilot system.


You have said A when you chose this specific hull shape, Now say B and buy a bulletproof AP system.


Cheers,
b.
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Old 09-08-2019, 07:58   #4
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Re: Is self steering possible or practical?

Having an auto pilot that works when Mother Nature is a bit riled up is a must. In my admittedly limited cruising adventures our Monitor vane has been the one hell of a great piece of kit. So I would go with what barnakiel said.

Fair winds,
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Old 09-08-2019, 08:13   #5
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Re: Is self steering possible or practical?

There are several windvanes that would steer that boat. You will probably need to modify the mounting to fit your transom because of the overhang.
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Old 09-08-2019, 08:23   #6
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Re: Is self steering possible or practical?

What kind of cruising do you plan to do? (Ex: voyaging vs coastal cruising)

If your existing AP works and steers the boat then why do you want a wind vane? Mostly for backup?
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Old 09-08-2019, 09:09   #7
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Re: Is self steering possible or practical?

Thanks to all of you and what great dialogue. It isn't likely to be(at least for the first year or two)to be anything where more than two maybe three nights at sea at a time. I want to do Nova Scotia down to the BVI's with maybe Bermuda in there on way down. To that point I understand that with my current system of the Autohelm, Yanmar, and fuel storage I just make sure I run the engine enough to keep at least one battery charged. Likely being solo I'd love to have a backup alternative but with the exception of maybe the Bermuda part, were I to have a malfunction I can hand steer long enough to duck into a port for repairs id need be, and even hove to should I need rest and continue to the destination.

That is if I can get her to hove to well enough. I haven't had the chance to play with that yet. Being a Schooner I suspect with all the sail options I can find a way to make her maintain reasonably well with minimal slippage and steerage way.
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Old 09-08-2019, 09:40   #8
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Re: Is self steering possible or practical?

You really don't want to put a wind vane on that beautiful stern, look at the "pelagic auto pilot" minimum amp draw, wireless remote, ect, also has a wind direction attachment.
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Old 09-08-2019, 09:57   #9
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Re: Is self steering possible or practical?

A lot might depend upon how the boat sails. It looks like the long keel and balanced sailplan would tend to make her hold a course pretty well with minimal corrections by the tiller. That would make using an autopilot (rather than a vane system) advantageous, because the power draw on recent autopilots - much improved over what you might read about in books - would be quite low. It might be low enough to enable use of a solar panel to keep the batteries topped up instead of running the engine. Hooking the autopilot up to the rudder quadrant would keep the system out of the weather; away from the winds and waves that you always hear are tearing vanes and self-steerers off or bending them into nonfunctional pretzels. Try the boat out and figure out what you need first.
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Old 09-08-2019, 10:08   #10
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Re: Is self steering possible or practical?

For solo cruising you need a decent sized below deck system. These are generally sold to match the weight of the vessel, i.e. for a boat up to 20,000lbs. That is for MODERATE conditions so add at least 50% to you weight. For a boat that size under light to mod conditions you will need very little power as she will easily hold a course. However running with a steep following sea grabbing hold of the counter you could well be peaking at 20 to 30A and that is when you will really want it to be working so make it bomb proof. On the other hand with a boat like that just hove too, stoke the stove and put you slippers on till its over, she is a great looking boat
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Old 09-08-2019, 10:09   #11
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Re: Is self steering possible or practical?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tatheelrod22 View Post
...............................
...I understand that with my current system of the Autohelm, Yanmar, and fuel storage I just make sure I run the engine enough to keep at least one battery charged.

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

You need to make an energy budget and then start understanding boat electrical systems. Really. None of us was born an electrician. We ALL had to learn. I believe it is a basic safety issue to KNOW this stuff. Your plans as expressed demand that you do so.


Here's a good place to start reading:


Electrical Systems 101 Electrical Systems 101


Good luck, safe journeys.
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Old 09-08-2019, 10:09   #12
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Re: Is self steering possible or practical?

I have a good, strong electrical AP. Having been out there and seen the failure rate of AP's I bought a wheel AP as a backup. Push 2 buttons for left and right. That is it's capabilities but if the main one dies, or it's calmer the other one will work fine and use less electricity.

And now I'm installing my HYdrovane wind vane. That is what I plan to use the most. Call them up, they will tell you if their system will fit on your boat and they have so many mounting options. It's also an external separate rudder so you have one more back up.
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Old 09-08-2019, 10:36   #13
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Re: Is self steering possible or practical?

Please, PLEASE, go sailing with an experienced schooner sailor. The "self-steering" system on a schooner is known as the "sails" and it is all about balance. A good schooner will steer itself on any point of sail except dead downwind if her sails are trimmed properly. The worst case is downwind in heavy air and big seas, in which case the sail plan look like: Mains'l furled and stowed, fores'l set deep-reefed with a preventer, clubfoot stays'l sheeted in hard to hold the bow off. All other points of sail are relatively easy and depend on wind/sea conditions. If you need a wind vane on a schooner, it is because of a poor design or lack of knowledge about schooner sailing. The main boom will remove it at the first jibe anyway. This is your boat telling you to "Get that thing off my a$$ and learn how to sail me!"
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Old 09-08-2019, 11:44   #14
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Re: Is self steering possible or practical?

With that type of stern, I would suggest you look at a Hydrovane. They are designed to fit in ways others will not, and they are not as huge and cumbersome as a Monitor type vane. Send them the photo and they can advise you.
www.hydrovane.com

They are very helpful people, small company.
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Old 09-08-2019, 11:58   #15
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Re: Is self steering possible or practical?

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Originally Posted by Dougtiff View Post
You really don't want to put a wind vane on that beautiful stern,
My thoughts too.

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