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Old 21-03-2010, 19:07   #16
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The electrical demand is not huge - see post #11 above. The A/P cost $2000. I'd carry a spare on a 1000nm crossing. The boats here are the typical assortment of cruisers - 30 to 50 feet - a few with redundant hulls. They had to sail thousands of miles to get here.

Interestingly, the boat with the vane is the type of boat that will not have a problem with light apparent wind...
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Old 21-03-2010, 20:37   #17
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The electrical demand is not huge - see post #11 above. The A/P cost $2000. I'd carry a spare on a 1000nm crossing. The boats here are the typical assortment of cruisers - 30 to 50 feet - a few with redundant hulls. They had to sail thousands of miles to get here.

Interestingly, the boat with the vane is the type of boat that will not have a problem with light apparent wind...
Your post #11 isn't clear. Are you trying to say that refrigeration and autopilot running 24 hrs a day for 1 week continuously used only an avg of 3 amps per hr? You then say that the engine bearing gave out. That implies you were charging the batteries during this time. You can't have refrigeration and autopilot on 3amps/hr on any reasonable sized boat. The best refeerer is probably 20amps a day and the typical autopilot is probably at best 40-50amps a day.

Can you show me a link to a below decks autopilot that is $2,000 and reliable?

You don't say anything about the distribution of boat sizes. What I was saying earlier is that as boat sizes have increased, the usage of vanes has decreased. This is due to vanes working better on smaller baots and the fact that larger boats can carry more batteries and better generation equipment allowing them to supply the power needed for APs. Plus the cost of needed spares is a lesser portion of an expensive boats inventory.

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Old 21-03-2010, 21:09   #18
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Your post #11 isn't clear. Are you trying to say that refrigeration and autopilot running 24 hrs a day for 1 week continuously used only an avg of 3 amps per hr?
That's what I said. That's what she did. Left port on a 400nm trip. Motoring in no wind. Engine lost her main bearings after a few hours. Sailed the rest of the way in very little wind...Mexico. Took a week. No charging. Only ran the refer and the A/P. Sent a few SSB emails to say I was okay. It impressed me: chilling several cases of beer and steering too. Wish I could find a woman as good.


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You can't have refrigeration and autopilot on 3amps/hr on any reasonable sized boat.
Those are the facts. 500Ah battery bank: L16Hx2 plus a tiny engine battery that no longer had any need to be charged. Seven hot calm days. 6" PE foam insulation. Ice cold beer. Do the math. Amazing. Mitigating factor was the light winds and seas didn't tax the A/P much, but it kept itself busy.

8 ton boat. Expert sailor. Good A/P adjustment. Raymarine Tillerpilot with gyro.

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You don't say anything about the distribution of boat sizes. What I was saying earlier is that as boat sizes have increased, the usage of vanes has decreased.
The boats are the normal distribution you'd see at any bluewater destination: 30-40-50. Twenty cruisers, one oil-derrick-like vane. I'm not at St. Barts. My opinion would be cruisers have come to accept A/Ps in favor of vanes. Perhaps as boats have become more efficient. Perhaps because of perceived reliability. I use mine from the edge of one anchorage to the edge of the next unless the wind favors fun surfing or I must absolutely pass another sailboat on a beat.
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Old 21-03-2010, 22:21   #19
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auto pilot - windvane

We had an auto pilot and a Monitor windvane on our circumnavigation on a Stevens 47. Hardly ever used the Monitor, although did use it once when the auto pilot failed. The Monitor did not work well going downwind (until we took off the windvane and replaced it with a tiller master. That worked better but still sometimes wondered.)

I am about to leave again and plan to have 2 auto pilots - one that is all hooked up and ready to go if the other fails. For short handed sailboats (like myself and my wife) It is just too important not to have a working auto pilot.
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Old 21-03-2010, 22:44   #20
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The only real point here is: Wil you maybe in some future do short handed long distance sailing? If no, sell the Aries. If yes, don't sell!

Old fashioned boat designs quite often can stay decently well on course by just fixing the helm and balancing the sails. More contemporary designs and multis will rarely do that usefully. Thus short handed long distance boating is very dependent upon some kind of self steering for both comfort and safety. It's at least as useful as an extra crew member, due to it's lack of fatigue.

Vane and auto pilot are not competing rivals, they are two different tools to perform this very important task. They each have their pros and cons. I'd say you can mostly do just fine on most types of sailing with a good AP, but a vane will, as attested by others above, give you reliability that is in a totally different league. If you fly an airplane with one engine and it stops, it is bad news. If you have only one, you want the most reliable there is. You'd prefer a backup or ability to repair it while flying and before hitting ground. Your self steering has that type of role. Vanes are very simple. Simplicity is a beautiful thing when reliability is important. "Two objects will fail twice as often as one object." "An object you don't have, will not fail."

The self steering I know best is an electro hydraulic internal AP (directly mounted into the hydraulic steering system of the boat). It has run nicely for tens of thousands of miles in a cat that loads it heavily, and uses acceptable amounts of juice. But it has failed at times, and is too complicated to fix "while flying", although it is fixable by onboard means. (This is a top quality product.) A number of belt driven or other APs have been tried on that boat, but have never survived for long. They are just too weak and cannot stand continuous offshore use for a long time. Even the best ones become garbage pretty quickly with this kind of use.

I've used vanes, but not extensively. They generally seem to steer much better than APs when going upwind, (even better than APs controlled by a wind vane) and the opposite when going downwind. They seem to work better on monos than cats, but this should be mostly related to poor adaption on the cats I've seen it on.

Summing it up: For coastal cruising, an AP is a comfort item, and most anything will do. For long distance offshore sailing, self steering MUST be reliable and easily repairable. Preferably more than one system should be mounted. Normal electric APs are not strong enough for all vessels, but may do better on smaller well balanced monos. You can definitely do any kind of sailing without the vane, but the vane will most likely be a huge bonus at times. Saying it's nothing more than "salty and romantic" is just plain wrong.
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Old 21-03-2010, 23:00   #21
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I have to mention another point. Like Daddle reports, failure of the AP itself is not the only reason it is rendered useless. He was able to use it for a week with no charging, but that must be seen as pretty extreme. Total electric failure on a boat isn't a very frequent problem, but still one that is quite likely if one is travelling for a long time. Lightening strikes are reportedly one usual reason. The vane needs no external power and will work if there is wind, weak or strong. All other systems are totally dependent upon electric power.
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Old 21-03-2010, 23:26   #22
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For long distance offshore sailing, self steering MUST be reliable and easily repairable. Preferably more than one system should be mounted.
It's a MUST if you think failure of any electrical item spells certain death. My only brush with this was when the propane solenoid died and until I found the right little fitting thought I was going to expire from caffeine withdrawal.

Suddenly take all my electronics away and I will remark "Hmmm, now that's inconvenient."

WWJD - What would Joshua (Slocum) do?
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Old 22-03-2010, 01:30   #23
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I won't have enough money for both so my choice is going to be a used version of the simpler and more reliable quaint and salty oil derrick. Though I might consider a used under deck AP that would work as reliably on my stern hung rudder and be repairable by me out in ther middle of nowhere.
But if you, on the other hand need the stern cleared, can have a back-up unit...
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Old 22-03-2010, 01:45   #24
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No money for frivolous electronics eh Butler, but plenty for Jamesons Folks we have a real sailor among us.
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Old 22-03-2010, 08:14   #25
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Daddle. You're right about the Slockum comment. He of course had nothing to help him, but his boat did self steer pretty well by just locking the helm. Most modern cruisers are quite different. They cannot self steer at all. Few modern cruisers are equipped with or trained to use sextant etc. Loosing the electronics is way more than "inconvenient" to most cruisers today. I agree totally that it's a bad choise to be so dependent upon such a fragile system. That is why I'm positive to the higly reliable wind vane for an important function as steering.

I do actually have a sextant, and do know how to use it, but in real life it's a nerdy worst case backup I'll probably never need, as I always carry several GPSes. Self steering is almost as important to a solo sailor as knowing your position. So I prefer to never worry.
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Old 23-03-2010, 05:51   #26
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Ahoy! I am cruising on my Adams 31' centre cockpit grp sloop in the Andaman sea and Indonesia. I have owned the boat for 3 months and it is fitted with an Aires wind vane on an extended transom mount, to clear the back swept main rudder. I have never used it and it is quite heavy and gets in the way of embarking and disembarking of the stern swim ladder. It is connected to a rudder arm at the top of the rudder shaft, so the ropes are easy to handle.

I have installed a Raymarine smart pilot X5, interfaced with wind/speed/depth and a Raymarine A50 chart plotter and a wheel autopilot with a pilot controller, makes single handing a breeze.

The question is! Should I dump the wind vane and put in a dingy mount for my 3m zodiac, save towing it everywhere, can't store it on the deck. I already have a targa arch for the sola panels and wind genny, or try and use it?

If I sell it, with original manuals, what are they worth in usd? It is in very good condition, with a wheel mount as well.

The only problem I can see with the electronic autopilot is the power consumption, which I haven't checked yet, but it does not seem to be a problem! What advice can you offer? are the wind vanes "old hat" now? and only used by "salty types" on long ocean passages? I really need the transom clear of all that paraphernalia!!

Cheers from Keith.

I"m a great fan of the Adams 31 as it presents great value and set up properly makes a good small blue water cruiser . My concern is that you want to get rid of a perfectly good wind vane in order to install "Davits" or some such system to accomodate a 3 m zodiac . I do appreciate that towing a dingy is not an option but i have seen a 3 metre tender hanging off the back of a 31 foot Adams ,not only does it destroy the look of a well designed yacht but in my opinion renders it dangeroues for any sort of blue water cruising.
The Adams 31 is a capable but "small" yacht which should not be burdened by anything swinging from the stern .

We have a servo wind vane on our boat and find it invaluable .I have not yet met a true blue water cruiser who has anything bad to say about them.

Keep your wind vane and buy a smaller tender ,one you can put on deck.

We are waiting out the cyclone season in Cairns and will be heading your way shortly .

www.byamee.com
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Old 23-03-2010, 15:35   #27
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Keith,

One additional comment stimulated by byamee's post:

If you are concerned about the weight of the Aires on the stern, how can you even consider hanging a 3 metre Zodiac in Davits? This represents WAY more weight (especially if you leave the o/b on it) than the windvane, and considerably higher up as well. Not a good idea IMO.

Another consideration is whether the solar panel arch was designed to support that much weight, hung well outboard on the davits... not so likely!

Anyway, Byamee's advice to downsize the dinghy and keep the vane is worth careful consideration.

Cheers,

Jim and Ann s/v Insatiable II lying Church Point NSW Oz
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Old 23-03-2010, 16:51   #28
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classic surfer prioritizing! i would be tempted to do the same haha but I have to get to sumatra all the way from california, and the aries I just purchased is going to be crucial to that, but already being in sumatra, I can understand the temptation for being able to deploy the dinghy at will just ready to go... the dinghy+outboard is so crucial to access the dizzying perfection of the andamas, telos, banyaks, mentawais, etc. in just the limited surfing i have done off my own boat, the dinghy has been essential, the higher powered and more capable the better, because good surf spots and ideal anchorages rarely go hand in hand...

how about an engine lifting bracket to get the engine off with ease and then using a halyard to get the dinghy on the foredeck? i use this arrangement and while not easy its a small price to pay for empty barrels!

Also, the lift up-aries vane "snaps" off the transom easily ... if you have the newer generation model it's not too hard to stow somewhere off the transom if you want the swim-step clear?

then when you have surfed all the spots around sumatra and the andamans you can rely on your aries to get you to the next dream spot. i would keep it if you have aspirations outside of the west coast of sumatra which i know from having bummed around on fishing and charter boats in the area that is often really light and variable winds so I can see why it seems useless and archaic. but I think it could be invaluable one day....
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Old 26-12-2010, 17:11   #29
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Post Aries Mk 1

I intend to purchase an Aries Mk 1 for my Roberts 345 steel sailing cruiser to make single/short handed easier
Having read a wide variety of opinions, the servo pendulum seems the best system for my boat
Looking to visit Lord Howe & Melbourne from Sydney this coming year
Hopefully write some good poems whilest the Aries does all the work
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Old 26-12-2010, 17:43   #30
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Save your money and buy a Hydrovane. Bullet proof piece of equipment.
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