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Old 05-01-2016, 13:26   #1
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inexpensive weather station

Does anyone have any experience using one of the inexpensive home weather stations like one of those from Davis Instruments or AcuRite. They run from $100 to a couple hundred and I was wondering if mounted well, could it be a viable alternative to a masthead mounted marine wind instrument.
I just purchased a fantastic 78 Islander 28 and unfortunately it came only with the basic instruments like compass and depth.
After shelling out for a new Natures Head toilet and various other necessities,
I just don't have room in the budget for a $500-$1000 dedicated wind instrument.
Layne Z.

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Old 05-01-2016, 13:32   #2
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Re: inexpensive weather station

Thanks for asking this question as I was just thinking the same.

I bought an $80 home weather station for my folks for xmas. Battery powered and wireless signal to digital display can be up to 300 feet. Works great at the house. Why not on a boat?


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Old 05-01-2016, 13:41   #3
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Re: inexpensive weather station

That was my idea. Mount the wind vane maybe high up on my split backstay. Not as good as the mast head and I wouldn't expect it to last more than a few seasons but if it does the job, why not?
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Old 05-01-2016, 13:56   #4
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Re: inexpensive weather station

I had just read a post, I forget where, that someone had done exactly that. They purchased a wireless unit, put the sensor on their bow rail with it facing North so it could give an accurate (at deck level at least) wind speed and direction. They use the main unit in a waterproof box and just remove it and take it inside when they aren't on the boat. However, I will also link to this site, which has another option for a wind indicator. It's not as cheap as a weather station can be, but for an actual instrument, it's not bad at all.

Clipper: NASA Marine Instruments

Take that, the masthead unit, mount it up, and even converting currencies was a bunch cheaper than many others I have seen. Just tossing it out there.
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Old 05-01-2016, 15:07   #5
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Re: inexpensive weather station

Regardless of what you buy, you really do need your wind readings to be taken in undisturbed air at the mast head.
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Old 05-01-2016, 16:01   #6
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Re: inexpensive weather station

I brought up this topic about two years ago on another forum. One respondent said he had tried it and the thing had been destroyed in the first decent wind.

I bought Tacktick MN100.
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Old 05-01-2016, 18:28   #7
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Re: inexpensive weather station

We have a Davis weather system, and have had two previous LaCrosse ones (pieces of crap - avoid that brand).

They work fine for basic weather info, but be aware that the wind direction function is useless on a boat. Since they don't have a compass, all of these systems require that the wind instrument be permanently pointed south to give wind direction.

Besides, none of them have a cockpit-friendly display, so they would be kind of useless as boat instrumentation anyway.


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Old 05-01-2016, 18:42   #8
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Re: inexpensive weather station

I had an Acurite unit at home for years. It is excellent. But you have to align it with one end pointing north. Wouldn't work too well on a moving boat... shame too because it was wireless to the indoor reader, and that connected to your computer. All for $100 or so.
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Old 05-01-2016, 18:57   #9
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Re: inexpensive weather station

WADR, wind direction should be apparent from the wind waves. Speed from the Beaufort scale basic photos. I sailed for more than half of my 35+ sailing years without w/s/d instruments. Bought our boat in 1998 with it, rarely bother looking at it. Why bother?
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Old 05-01-2016, 21:37   #10
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Re: inexpensive weather station

I can't disagree with Stu. While we do enjoy our speed and depth and wind instruments (I think the D is the most important of the three) the wind instrument is really not necessary. Its a nice to have and when we lost our second one to malfunction we have not yet replaced it. I see no reason why a cheap one wouldn't work just as well. They even have hand held ones that hook to an iphone and will not only tell speed but direction.

With that said, we have a nice autopilot that will steer to the wind angle rather than a specific course.
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Old 05-01-2016, 22:16   #11
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Re: inexpensive weather station

I would be surprised if you could get any of the cheap ones to talk to your auto-pilot computor or even a tiller pilot. Apart from the Nasa. Do any of them output nmea0183?
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Old 06-01-2016, 03:48   #12
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Re: inexpensive weather station

The ones for household use can usually not distinguish between apparent and true windspeed and direction. Houses do not travel normally.
The remaining stuff should work.
Not sure how well they last in salty air though.
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Old 06-01-2016, 04:02   #13
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Re: inexpensive weather station

Never had wind instruments in 20 years of sailing, never felt a need for it either.
After a short while you should be able to judge wind speed, direction is easy, point your face in the wind.
If you are on a limited budget, spend the money on something useful instead.
A recording barometer is a good thing to have onboard, a few years ago one could be had for $40-50, not sure if they are produced anymore.
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Old 06-01-2016, 04:26   #14
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Re: inexpensive weather station

Now I am new to sailing so take this with a grain of salt, and you will probably laugh.
But I have a three foot or so piece of yarn on one of my stays one each side of the boat, I do have wind instruments, but find the yarn is at least as useful.
I would not want to have to do without my depth though, so much so that I have two of those.

I want a recording barometer, an electronic one, not an old mechanical paper drum type, but haven't been able to find one that is not real expensive
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Old 06-01-2016, 05:15   #15
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Re: inexpensive weather station

I have an Accu-Rite #2010 home weather station, which indicates indoor / outdoor temperature and humidity (/w trend arrows), barometric pressure history chart (12, 6, 3, 2, 1, 0 Hrs) & trend arrow, Forecast of high/low temperature, cloud cover and precipitation ( 4-hour, 4 to 8-hour and 8 to 12-hour ), Time clock and calendar.
$59.99 ➥ AcuRite Professional Digital Weather Center with Forecast / Temperature / Humidity

It works pretty well.

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