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Old 16-04-2014, 11:52   #16
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Re: Understanding Windvane capabilities and limitations

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Originally Posted by Guy View Post
Just about anything you said. You need a full keel? What difference does the keel make? I can think of but 1 vane gear that does not need a your rudder so you have few choices there. But, if you loose your rudder like some boats seem to do, (Hunter, Catalina ) having an independent system would be pretty nice.
A full keel balances better and you need that for good wind vane performance in ALL conditions and ALL points.

I totally agree with what was said.
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Old 16-04-2014, 11:56   #17
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Re: Understanding Windvane capabilities and limitations

Assuming a boat of 35-45 feet I would take a windvane over an autopilot in rough weather. I have used several different vanes and I prefer the servo pendulum vanes. The Hydrovane I owned did an OK job but wasn't as powerful as a SP.
Now I will put in a caveat in that I have not owned the latest and greatest autopilots with gyro compasses that the racers use and are available now to the cruising crowd.
I have had 2 autopilot failures and had to hand steer for over 2 weeks on the way back from Hawaii so that was the end of my autopilot experiment and every boat since has had a vane and pilot.
I'm now taking another risk this go around and am going with a below decks pilot with spares and a CP wheel pilot for back up so we'll see if lightning strikes the same place twice.
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Old 16-04-2014, 11:56   #18
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Re: Understanding Windvane capabilities and limitations

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But what good is servo when you lose your steering/rudder?Trimtab systems have plenty of power if built right.Not so nice for backing,but boats are usually going forward.
I'll take the better system for the 99.999% of the time that I have a rudder. I'd rather that than have a less capable system just in case. You can carry an emergency rudder if you like (transom hung), or the Monitor has an M-Rud system that converts their servo pendulum into an emergency rudder.
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Old 16-04-2014, 11:58   #19
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Re: Understanding Windvane capabilities and limitations

Also, a cheap tiller pilot hooked up to a windvane instead of the actual blade makes a very capable back-up autopilot that will draw very low current and can be used in very light winds or when motoring.
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Old 16-04-2014, 11:58   #20
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Re: Understanding Windvane capabilities and limitations

Thanks Salty.Guy,I never said you needed full keel,I said they work better with full keel.I sailed 10,000 miles across the Pacific on full keel with a homemade trimtab system,built for less than $300. ,no AP,no GPS or radar.Never really handsteered at all.You can hookup a tillerpilot to trimtab arm,for fingertouch steering,totally independent from main rudder.
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Old 16-04-2014, 12:01   #21
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Re: Understanding Windvane capabilities and limitations

Hydrovane can act easily as a backup rudder which is attractive. Also being independent of the main rudder you don't have a tangle of lines running around the cockpit.

Downside: since its attached to the transom and independent, it contains a lot of force which adds stress to the boat.
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Old 16-04-2014, 12:03   #22
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Re: Understanding Windvane capabilities and limitations

The idea that a full keel boat is best for a vane is hog wash. Any well balanced boat will steer real well with a good vane. The issue of a full keel boat is when they get pushed off course they take much longer to recover because the steering is not as effective. Sure in normal conditions they track very well and most vanes will steer them well but when the seas really get up and starts to really push the boat around (any boat will get pushed around in larger seas) then steering them becomes more of an issue. Its not uncommon for sailors to try and slow the full keel boats down in big seas because the barn door rudders simply are not that effective. A fin keel boat will steer much better in larger seas and react better to a windvane. I'm not knocking full keel boats, just slow them down when in big seas.
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Old 16-04-2014, 12:06   #23
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Re: Understanding Windvane capabilities and limitations

what cwyckham and high seas says about tiller pilot is attractive for those moments when light winds just won't make the wind vane work, or while motoring.

I'd still want the full kebob of having a hydraulic or whatever ram based Simrad or whatever etc
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Old 16-04-2014, 13:31   #24
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Re: Understanding Windvane capabilities and limitations

Here is a great link to boat systems by Estarzinger
Systems.

My parents went RTW with a vane, didn't hand steer very much at all. I think they started out with both, the electric AP bit the dust and they carried on without it. I was aboard for about 1000 miles, the vane worked beautifully. The boat was a great sailing vessel, and we knew how to trim her to get the best out of hull speed and vane steering. The vane was then given to our friend who solo circumnavigated. Both vessels were Tartan 37, centerboard with skeg hung rudders.

We have a monitor. We plan to buy a couple tiller pilots to aid in funky/fluky winds, and when we motor.

Below is the windvane that did two circumnavigations. The boat has only done one so far
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Old 16-04-2014, 13:40   #25
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Re: Understanding Windvane capabilities and limitations

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Below is the windvane that did two circumnavigations. The boat has only done one so far
Nice vane! I particularly like they went around on a centerboard boat! +1
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Old 16-04-2014, 13:46   #26
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Re: Understanding Windvane capabilities and limitations

had this happen a few times,when the paddel in the water broke off and i watched it drift away in the distance.........then the fun started,it is very difficult to get a modern boat to steer downwind by it self in all but flat calm conditions.

virtually impossible if the vessel has a wheel,rope to tiller can work as long as you can tend it,but in any sort of a sea with wave action again virtually impossible.
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Old 16-04-2014, 13:55   #27
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Re: Understanding Windvane capabilities and limitations

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had this happen a few times,when the paddel in the water broke off and i watched it drift away in the distance.........then the fun started,it is very difficult to get a modern boat to steer downwind by it self in all but flat calm conditions.

virtually impossible if the vessel has a wheel,rope to tiller can work as long as you can tend it,but in any sort of a sea with wave action again virtually impossible.
I guess that's why every windvane I've seen (which I'm sure is far, far fewer than the ones you've seen) have a break-away and lanyard so you don't lose the paddle.
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Old 16-04-2014, 14:12   #28
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Re: Understanding Windvane capabilities and limitations

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Originally Posted by cwyckham View Post
I guess that's why every windvane I've seen (which I'm sure is far, far fewer than the ones you've seen) have a break-away and lanyard so you don't lose the paddle.
Lanyard was already taken to use as a belt, me thinks
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Old 16-04-2014, 14:13   #29
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Re: Understanding Windvane capabilities and limitations

Sorry to barge in, as chance would have it I am in the process of helping a friend fit a South Atlantic 440 to his boat and rather than start a different thread hope I thought I might try and squeeze in here with a quick question.

As far as I can tell the 440 is at the bottom end of cheap, before you condemn, it's my friends boat and he does the best he can with what he has.

To cut to the quick there's a thumb screw at the end of the arrow where the aluminum shaft, that holds up the vane, connects to the casting.

As far as I can tell this is how you are supposed to trim the vane. Is this correct? Are you supposed to reach out like 4 feet from the stern railing to adjust a thumb screw to trim the vane?

Seems like some modification is in order. Any insight would be appreciated.

Thanks!
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Old 16-04-2014, 14:23   #30
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Re: Understanding Windvane capabilities and limitations

That doesn't seem right. I believe it would be closer to the vane as you want the edge of the vane pointed into the wind to hold course.
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