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Old 09-09-2008, 07:31   #1
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Which Wind Vane?

OK,

We have saved a couple of grand, We want a wind vane, we sail a Gaff Schooner some 63 feet long and around 30 tons. She has a slight boom overhang and a tiller that is some 7 feet long. The rudder is transom hung and has around 18% balance.

The Monitor looks and feels right, however I have just seen the "Royal" and there is also the Autohelm. There could be an Aries or the German Pacific Plus.
It must drive a big heavy Schooner on both long and short passages. I would like it to handle a small autopilot aswell, what are your thoughts?

Simon
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Old 09-09-2008, 11:31   #2
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The Monitor is built out of light gauge SS tubing which makes it relatively light but somewhat fragile. Know that many report cracking of the welds after long term use. They are easily repaired, however, but not at sea. Question their robustness for a boat your size.

Did many thousands of miles with the Old Aries. A very strong gear. The new model looks just as robust, if not more so than the old.

Sailomat makes an excellent heavy duty vane that is very easy to mount on a transom. May not be so easy with an outboard rudder but then no vane is. One thing I like is the raked rudder of the SailoMat that looks like it will shed crud like kelp that you might run into.

I've currently got the Windpilot Pacific Plus and it's an excellent, strongly built gear. It's an auxiliary rudder steering system, unlike the pendulum servo systems that steer by the boats rudder, however. Windpilot makes Pendulum Servo systems that attach to tiller believe they are called the Windpilot Pacific without the 'plus'. One thing I can say about the Windpilot is they are a tribute to German engineering, strong and very well designed. It's nice to have the separate rudder of the Pacific Plus but it's a real problem to manuever with the vane disconnected. The vane rudder is locked straight ahead when disengaged. On my rudder challenged Pearson 35, boat is nearly impossible to make a turn to port in confined area. Turns to Starboard better but only by backing and filling using prop walk.

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Old 11-09-2008, 01:57   #3
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My two pennyworth....

I've been shipmates with a Monitor, WindPilot Pacific and now a Hydrovane.

The Monitor is a first class bit of kit. I used it on two different boats, an Albin Ballad and Contessa 33. I appreciate that these are rather different from a 65' schooner!

Racing double handed the Monitor helped us to a win in an RORC race. It steered whilst we trimmed the spinnaker like demons. When I sold the Ballad, I just had Scanmar make up a new set of tubes to suit the Contessa. This time it took SWMBO and I on an Atlantic Circuit without a moment's worry.

The Wind Pilot came attached to an S&S Swan 40. Not for nothing did it rapidly acquire the nickname, "The Sulky Hun". Primitive bushes rather than ball bearings meant that it wouldn't work with less than 10kts of wind and 4kts of boatspeed. Mixing aluminum castings and stainless steel fastenings with no Duralac is never a good idea.

The Hydrovane is on my current boat, The gear is robust and does what it says on the box. Light winds it struggles a bit, but never as much as the Windpilot. Also getting the rudder on and off without dropping it or falling in is bit of a pain.
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Old 11-09-2008, 16:30   #4
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I got rid of the Monitor on my current boat because it wouldn't steer unless the boat was approaching hull speed with a goodly wind. The monitor just didn't have the oomph to overcome the force of the helm. Of course, it's a wheel which is a problem in itself. Was it a problem with the Windpilot or the boat that caused your steering problems?? Sleeved bearings are by far the norm on vanes. They have no more drag, under load, than fancier bearings and are a lot less complicated.

I had a problem with the plastic sleeve bearings with our Aries. Had to ream out the bearings as they grew restricting movement of shafts. Disassembled it, carved out the bearings with a sharp knife and was good for another 10,000 miles. Could that have been the problem with the Windpilot??

FWIW, the WindPilot Pacific Plus steers our boat as long as the boat moves. It's uncanny how little boat speed is needed for it to begin to work.

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Old 13-09-2008, 02:15   #5
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Monitor Seems Strong

Scanmar say that it is all s/steel, so should be no corrosion problems. It has pleanty of good feedback. I have not heard of the wealds cracking under stress over the long term.
Thye Windpilots do look good, I think that the servo pendulum will produce enough power for Talisman however.

Has any one used or seen the "Royal" range of vanes? I saw them at last years Southampton Boat Show on the "Mactra" stand. Now Mactra only sell good tested and tried gear so these should be OK? But before I spend some thousands of pounds I need to know. . . .

Thanks for your input and experiences so far.

Simon
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Old 13-09-2008, 02:31   #6
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I did a lot of research for our HR 40 and finally decided on a Monitor. It will arrive here (Southern Spain) next week and I'll see if it is as easy as they say to install.
The Scanmar people were great, answering lots of questions, doing drawings, sending pictures, etc. If the Monitor works as well as their customer service I'll be real happy.
Jim
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Old 13-09-2008, 04:22   #7
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I am building my own. Because I want most of the components "in board". This is not a compromise, although I couldn't afford any of the commercial ones anyway. Full SS construction, high quality marine bearing material,. Time to learn HUGE....time to build a fair bit. My system runs everything back into the steering locker. No, I am not going to sell it in the future !! I just wanted a built to size solution. No towers or bits off the back of the boat. Just a VERY strong servo pendulum wind vane system that can use an auto tiller to drive it. A low power solution to the vexed auto pilot problem.
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Old 13-09-2008, 06:15   #8
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Cooper:

Is the system that you are building similar to the Cape Horn system.

Do any others have experience with the Cape Horn ( www.capehorn.com )
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Old 20-09-2008, 10:39   #9
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Cooper,
I'd be interested in what you come up with. I'm also considering building. Please post updates when you get going on it.
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Old 20-09-2008, 17:28   #10
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...pieces are being machined as we speak (type) . I will try and post some pics when I put the first bits in.
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Old 20-09-2008, 22:49   #11
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I haven't used the Cape Horn myself, but have heard some glowing reviews.
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Old 21-09-2008, 11:03   #12
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End of season, northern hemisphere...

It must be, because we're talking about windvanes and other long-term projects...

I'm also looking for comments about the Cape Horn, especially the integrated models. I frankly don't understand how the darned thing is mounted, but it looks so nice and clean on the transom...

Simes: how well does your boat balance, and how experienced are you with the rig? I don't intend that in any way insultingly. The schooner rig is extremely flexible, as are gaff sails, so it's easy to tune the trim and set to get exactly the right balance to help your windvane. Likewise, easy to end up stressing the dear thing or getting poor performance. If you think you're style of sailing will suit you can avoid over-engineering the windvane.

I second the interest in a method of attaching the tiller pilot to the windvane. It *should* allow the tiller pilot to use less energy to keep the boat on track with the option to sail by the compass (or even a gps plot).
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Old 21-09-2008, 13:26   #13
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The Cape Horn mounts via a large diameter tube through the transom. The tube is supported on the inside by cross bracing. You can run the control lines internally if you have a stub tiller on the rudder shaft. The tube can be run through the lazerette to the cockpit to give a really short run for the control lines. I really like the options for running the lines with the Cape Horn. If I hadn't found the WindPilot Pacific Plus, would have gone with the Cape Horn as it was the only vane that allowed me to get the control runs unobtrusively to the forward mounted wheel on my boat.

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Old 22-09-2008, 03:07   #14
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Hi Amgine,

We have sailed the boat back to the UK from Southern Spain, the rig is fairly complex with lots of options for balance. Talisman is a "Stay'sl Schooner" she has a gaff main, topsl', two fishermen staysl and a yankee twix the masts, three head sails and a square for down wind work. It is not easy to over stress a rig like this, big wood masts and a 17 foot long bow sprit.
The rudder / tiller combination is unbalanced at present (I have a Naval Architect working on a balanced design for the rudder, about 15% he says).

I gave up racing a long time ago and enjoy passage-making far more The windvane is the best form of selfsteering, it just depends which windvane gear do I buy? The monitor looks so very good, the Pacific Windpilot also look very good, I like that it is all one piece, servo and aux rudder in one unit, might not be big-enough to drive Talisman.
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Old 22-09-2008, 15:38   #15
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When I said over-stress, I meant the windvane. If the boat isn't well balanced, with relatively low loads on the tiller, the vane has to work too hard. Most likely you're already set up pretty good in that regard, just a matter of tweaking things as the winds change. But I'm sure you know the difference between jumping up for every puff and being a bit more relaxed about it. If you're more relaxed, well, maybe you want to go a bit beefier than "just barely big enough".

Sounds like a nice slice of heaven you're sailing there...
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