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Old 13-10-2009, 04:40   #1
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Self-Steering ?

Hi all,
we are considering a wind self steering system possibly hydrovane, the boat has already got a electric auto helm which works fine (we think)
We dont really want to rely on one unit and think it prudent to have a back up.We are also aware of the power some of these units use.
The boat is a 50' centre cockpit well balanced yacht.
Should we buying a second auto pilot dc and which one (Low power use)
or would you reccomnend or go with the expensive Hydrovane and loose a lot of a good bathing platform.
We have a wind vane and 4 solar panels on board.

Cheers
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Old 13-10-2009, 04:46   #2
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Personally I would not take on a long passage without a windvane.... Aries would be my choice.... or possibly a Cape Horn.
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Old 13-10-2009, 05:52   #3
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We have a Cape Horn and love it . We would consider it one of the most importent pieces of equipment on board . But beware these fantastic inventions are only as good as how well they are installed .

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Old 13-10-2009, 07:11   #4
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Personally I would not take on a long passage without a windvane.... Aries would be my choice.... or possibly a Cape Horn.
I agree. The windvane is essential, in my opinion. Throw Monitor into the mix.
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Old 13-10-2009, 07:11   #5
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I've also been thinking about the Hydrovane since it has the option for an aux rudder and also I'm a bit nervous about that large hole needed to install the Cape Horn. I noticed in looking at the demo Hydrovane at the Annapolis show that there's a component of the gear mechanism that appears to be made of plastic. What's the deal with that? Does anyone have any information concerning longer term longevity of that component and/or other general feedback on the Hydrovane based on significant use, that the OP / I should consider in selecting a steering vane?
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Old 13-10-2009, 07:21   #6
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I agree that the Cape Horn requires a rather large hole in the transom, but the ease of interfacing with a small auto pilot does make it very attractive..... it is also a little more pricy...
Checkout the website: www.capehorn.com
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Old 13-10-2009, 07:45   #7
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Unfortunately, none of these will fit on a yawl. Decided on a wind function autopilot (B&G) and big batteries.
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Old 13-10-2009, 07:55   #8
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Unfortunately, none of these will fit on a yawl. Decided on a wind function autopilot (B&G) and big batteries.
I have zero experience on a yawl, but some on a ketch, which balanced very nicely on most points when the sails were properly tweaked. Assume yawl would be similar. I would think that would go a long way toward reducing the power draw on an electric autohelm.
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Old 13-10-2009, 08:05   #9
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I have zero experience on a yawl, but some on a ketch, which balanced very nicely on most points when the sails were properly tweaked. Assume yawl would be similar. I would think that would go a long way toward reducing the power draw on an electric autohelm.
Yep, same thing- Trim the mizzen to bring the steering neutral and then set the autopilot.
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Old 13-10-2009, 11:59   #10
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I bought a Voyager windvane to interface with my transom-hung rudder. This means bypassing the hydraulic steering, which will be connected to a Comnav autopilot. This way, I have two entirely separate ways of steering the same rudder. The windvane is for on passage, while the AP is for motoring, as I don't begrudge the power it draws when I'm making plenty via the alternator.

I do not plan on interfacing the AP with the windvane because I feel that part of watch-keeping is performing those small adjustments to the vane that may be necessary while on passage. I also like the idea of having all the parts out in the open to check for chafe and strain.

Not all boats could be set up as mine is, but with some imagination, many can. Duplication of functions, broadly based in "mechanical backed by electrical", is a big part of our cruising planning.
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Old 13-10-2009, 12:22   #11
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After a summer of autopilot problems I am even more convinced that a windvane is essential for offshore cruising. Ours saved the day when the autopilot finally failed, and steered faithfully for the rest of the season, and is now our number one choice before the (now) fixed autopilot.

Have a look at the Windpilot - we have a Pacific, but they make a specific model for bigger boats, the Pacific Plus. Nice example of solid German engineering, and not too heavy. If the Pacific Plus is as good as the Pacific it would certainly be worth consideration.
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Old 13-10-2009, 12:25   #12
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I noticed in looking at the demo Hydrovane at the Annapolis show that there's a component of the gear mechanism that appears to be made of plastic. What's the deal with that? Does anyone have any information concerning longer term longevity of that component and/or other general feedback on the Hydrovane based on significant use, that the OP / I should consider in selecting a steering vane?
Gave the Hydrovane a good look over at the Southampton Boatshow in Sep. Can't remember any plastic other than the rudder (some sort of nylon moulded material) and the short manual handle cover which you could attach a tiller pilot to if you wanted. What I did see was a very nicely engineered piece of kit. for us at 31 feet it would only require the two single arm mounts rather than an A frame so would take little sugar scoop, particularly if offset. What appealed was its simplicity and its ability to act as a rudder if required.

Its a major purchase, a trip to one of the larger boatshows could be a good move.

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Old 13-10-2009, 15:05   #13
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Unfortunately, none of these will fit on a yawl. Decided on a wind function autopilot (B&G) and big batteries.
So, from one of your posted pictures, it looks like your mizzen boom extends almost 3' / 1m aft of the transom. On our ketch, it's a bit less than 2'. Right now, I'm considering a Saye's Rig from the Monitor/Auto-helm guys, because of our barn-door rudder and hydraulic steering.

My thinking is that we'd be using the wind vane mostly on long downwind passages, so the vane would only a problem when jibing. Otherwise, the mizzen boom would be locked with a preventer. Right now, I'm measuring things to make sure our little mini-boomkin won't be in the way. It's been installed on other Formosas, so I'm hopeful.
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Old 13-10-2009, 15:38   #14
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So, from one of your posted pictures, it looks like your mizzen boom extends almost 3' / 1m aft of the transom. On our ketch, it's a bit less than 2'. Right now, I'm considering a Saye's Rig from the Monitor/Auto-helm guys, because of our barn-door rudder and hydraulic steering.

My thinking is that we'd be using the wind vane mostly on long downwind passages, so the vane would only a problem when jibing. Otherwise, the mizzen boom would be locked with a preventer. Right now, I'm measuring things to make sure our little mini-boomkin won't be in the way. It's been installed on other Formosas, so I'm hopeful.
Downwind we ship the mizzen but yes, the boom end is a good 3' aft of the pushpit (which itself follows the flare of the transom). So, it's probably 5' aft of the toe rail. Too far.
if I could rig something from the mizzen masthead I could see it, but it'd be quite a bit of engineering.
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Old 13-10-2009, 16:36   #15
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50 footer is a lot of the boat for the wave. Look for sth strong. I like Monitors, but not sure if they can manage 50'.

Windpilot makes a big unit that has a separate rudder (and a pendulum do drive it). Expensive and not easy to fix but probably the way to go in a big boat like yours.

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