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Old 06-02-2014, 00:27   #16
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Re: Self-steering auxiliary rudder

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I have a Hydrovane self steering gear, which is excellent. It does widen the turning circle of the boat. I have had no problem if the rudder is locked in fore and aft position and then allow for the circle.
We also are excited about the Hydrovane, and will add one sooner or later when we finished refitting our Dufour 35.
At the boatshow Boot-Dusseldorf this year we saw the latest Hydrovane.
It's a nice piece of equipment.

Taco.
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Old 06-02-2014, 01:34   #17
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Re: Self-steering auxiliary rudder

Yes. Good to hear you like the unit. I sailed ten years 15,000 miles on Lake Huron with Contessa 32 and early model Hydrovane. It was excellent in light airs or heavy weather. The vane of course can be lowered on axis to reduce effort in heavy weather; the new units have a gear selector setting for additional adjustment.

You can rig a Tillerpilot from the pushpit rail to the emergency tiller unit for motoring. There is a slight wobble in the steering from play in the mechanism but nothing to worry about. The longer the extension on the small emergency tiller, the better the response; I have a friend with a long keel boat who uses the vane and tiller extension to turn the boat better in the marina berthing, more leverage at the extreme stern of the boat.

The new models have remote steering lines option which I have installed to come back to the companionway hatch/sprayhood area.

Also, best to have a rope tied to handle area of rudder and then back to stern rail just in case the locking pin on the rudder let go - never saw any tendency but good precaution.

Also if a yard is installing the unit, make sure they use the kit provided self-locking Nyloc nuts. The installation of the new vane on my Ohlson 38 was carelessly done. The yard had not used the provide Nylocs and used regular nuts. On first trial sail, the lower tube let go off the bracket and the whole assembly came loose. Had the upper bracket let go I would have lost the entire gear or worse in rough sea, it could have torn the stern counter out of the boat. There is vibration from the engine that can cause the nuts to loosen if not self-locking. I was present at the re-installation and made sure of the proper nuts and the torque on the nuts. There is no recommendation for torque; it is done by best force on the wrench. Use Nylocs both outside and also inside of the interior wood pads.
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Old 10-02-2014, 19:22   #18
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Thanks Carolus, useful tips. I also looked at the Hydrovane at Boot Düsseldorf, as well as the WPP but I find it very difficult to decide between the two. Hydrovane is easier to mount on my IOR-style transom, and can be placed offcentre. I believe it also works better in light airs. But servo-pendulum has its own advantages, and the fact that the aux rudder can be lifted on the WPP seems quite a boon as the posts in these threads testify. Fact is that all research I've done shows both manufacturers make a very good piece of kit.

Decisions, decisions....


Onno
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Old 11-02-2014, 00:40   #19
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Re: Self-steering auxiliary rudder

I believe the Hydrovane is the only wind vane with a aux. rudder.
Onno, you are right, the rudder of the Hydrovane cannot be lifted, but 'only' dismantled (or disconnected)

Taco.
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Old 11-02-2014, 01:16   #20
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Re: Self-steering auxiliary rudder

Its very easy to remove the rudder on the Hydrovane, simply pull the pin, push down and lift up. Done it many times. Only draw back is that you have to store it somewhere. I did not know that you could lift the rudder on the Wind Pilot, when did they make that change??
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Old 11-02-2014, 12:57   #21
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Re: Self-steering auxiliary rudder

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Its very easy to remove the rudder on the Hydrovane, simply pull the pin, push down and lift up. Done it many times. Only draw back is that you have to store it somewhere. I did not know that you could lift the rudder on the Wind Pilot, when did they make that change??
Don't know about the Hydrovane but reinstalling the rudder on a WindPilot Pacific Plus is not an easy job. If the water is warm enough to swim in, it's fairly easy because you can control the rudder. Trying to do it from a dinghy is a PITA. The rudder is buoyant and has to be forced below the surface and does everything it can do NOT to remain vertical and in line with vane shaft. Takes two people and a lot of swearing. Sometimes we got lucky and it slipped in without too much trouble. Often it's a battle of heroic proportions. Can't imagine it would be any different for the Hydrovane or other auxiliary rudder systems unless the rudder was hinged. Getting the WPPP rudder off is relatively easy.

When did WindPilot come up with a retractable steering rudder for the WPP Plus?? The servo rudder swings up on mine but not the auxiliary steering rudder. The steering rudder has to be disconnected to get it out of the water.

There are a number of Auxillary rudder systems from WindPilot, Hydrovane, and Fleming among others.

Can't believe light air steering would be the forte of the Hydrovane. The wind vane has to turn the steering rudder directly. Not only does the wind vane have to sense the wind but has to have enough power to turn the steering rudder as well. The WPPP pendulum servo rudder provides planty of force to turn the steering rudder even when there is not enough wind to deflect the wind vane. Of course it will not work when the boat is DIW but almost imperceptible forward motion gives enough power to the pendulum rudder to turn the steering rudder.
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Old 11-02-2014, 13:11   #22
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Re: Self-steering auxiliary rudder

OK thanks for that. I used to be able to crawl out back on the swim ladder and take off or put on the Hydrovane rudder. Its made of nylon and while buoyant its probably not as buoyant as the PP although I know exactly what you mean as sometimes even the Hydrovane could be tough to reinstall. The Hydrovane has a transmission you can select that allows the air vane to turn the rudder even in the lightest winds although the rudder throw is much less compared to the vane movement in normal mode. I think the PP would still out steer it in real light winds. I found the weakest point of sail for the HV was a beam reach with gusts, it had real problems in those conditions but each boat can be different.
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Old 13-02-2014, 13:49   #23
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Lots of good info again. Roverhi - I may have misunderstood regarding the lifting rudder. I'll dig up the WPP documentation again and get back to y'all. What I gather we can conclude at this time is that all aux rudder systems are a bit of a pain in the heck sometimes.


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Old 13-02-2014, 14:28   #24
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Re: Self-steering auxiliary rudder

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Lots of good info again. Roverhi - I may have misunderstood regarding the lifting rudder. I'll dig up the WPP documentation again and get back to y'all. What I gather we can conclude at this time is that all aux rudder systems are a bit of a pain in the heck sometimes.


Onno
Everything is a compromise. For the added safety and peace of mind of having an alternate steering source without steering lines running about the cockpit, you give up some slow speed maneuverability in tight quarters and additional drag. Kind of like having the auxiliary rudder if it's ever needed for an emergency.
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Old 13-02-2014, 22:34   #25
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I like having the aux rudder too, I do think it is important to have a backup on long passages. Rudder failure happens reasonably often, although I firmly believe that proper seamanship greatly reduces the chance for rudder failure. This includes decent inspection of your rudder, but also reducing load on your rudder by improving trim and smart steering at the helm. In this light I think a selfsteering set-up can help you get better at trimming the boat since it needs a good trim to work.

You are right about the aux rudder of the Windpilot Pacific Plus - it can't be raised. It is only the pendulum rudder that can be raised.


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Old 13-02-2014, 22:47   #26
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Re: Self-steering auxiliary rudder

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I believe the Hydrovane is the only wind vane with a aux. rudder.
Onno, you are right, the rudder of the Hydrovane cannot be lifted, but 'only' dismantled (or disconnected)

Taco.

I don't think that is correct. Fleming and South Atlantic both have auxiliary rudders. I know cos I am on point of ordering one or the other. Both well made it seems.
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Old 14-02-2014, 02:50   #27
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Re: Self-steering auxiliary rudder

You are correct the vanes you mention do all have aux rudders. They do vary in how they are built, the Fleming is all SS and the Hydrovane, SAtlantic and WindPilot are Aluminum. Hydrovane is the only one that is direct drive from wind vane to rudder the others all use a servo. Windpilot and Fleming use gears to change the vanes back and forth movement into a turning movement in the servo vane while the SAtlantic uses a bent rod similar to the Cape Horn vane. The Hydrovane and Windpilot are the most expensive and also have sold the most. If service is important to you you might keep this in mind. The SAtlantic is the cheapest. There are large loads involved with aux rudders, much higher than simple servo pendulum vanes so you need real good mounting points and strong rudders. Hydrovane has had few if any problems with rudders as they are solid nylon. WindPilot had some problems with their rudders but have redesigned them and I think the earlier problems are behind them. Not sure about the others but do your homework. If someone is doing lots of offshore sailing then a vane is nice to have plus with the aux rudder you do have a back up rudder if needed which is quite rare.
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Old 14-02-2014, 19:03   #28
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Re: Self-steering auxiliary rudder

I've uploaded two pictures of my linkage, onr showing the details of the tie rod ends and the other an overall view.

I welded a stub onto the windvane tiller arm and fitted a 1" tube on that and mounted a short length of pipe on the main rudder tiller to slide the forward arm into. The ends of the arms have tie-rod ends that attach to the link tube. Everything is 316 stainless. There is very little play in the system with the windvane tiller responding immediately to the main tiller. Both rudders remain parallel to each other. I can quickly disengage the rudders from each other with a quick release pin and sliding the main rudder arm from the socket(pipe).

Next thing is to try it out!
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