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Old 25-01-2015, 08:59   #1
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Hasler windvane - DIY windvane

Hi there,

So I managed to score myself a Hasler widnvane self-steering unit. It's in great shape, and after some TLC and grease looks/works good as new. I haven't mounted it on the boat yet, so actual tests still have to be done, but I'm having some reservations about the windvane itself.

This is what the original windvane looks like:



And here's what mine looks like:



Clearly mine is a DIY modification that took place probably due to a broken windvane or something. You can clearly see it's a lot smaller, and doesn't have a counterweight.

I'm sure it'll affect the performance of the whole unit, and I'm assuming in a bad way...

What do you guys think? Would you make a new vane for it? Out of what? How big?
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Old 25-01-2015, 10:04   #2
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Re: Hasler windvane - DIY windvane

This one will NOT work.

Build a new wind vane out of light and stiff materials. Light stiff plywood, plastics, or carbon. The lighter the vane, the less counterbalance weight required. Or else build a frame out of wood/alloy pipes, etc and wrap it in fine plastic or else use a canvas sock over (see Hydrpovane, older Windpilots, etc.).

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Old 25-01-2015, 10:05   #3
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Re: Hasler windvane - DIY windvane

Does size or shape matter at all?
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Old 25-01-2015, 12:03   #4
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Re: Hasler windvane - DIY windvane

See how it works before you put a lot of time and effort into building an original copy. Though think I might change it just because it looks weird.
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Old 25-01-2015, 13:01   #5
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Re: Hasler windvane - DIY windvane

Yes, size & shape matter. Depending on the sensitivity of the gear, & the degree of friction in things, the answer varies from not much, to huge. Which is where the beauty of plywood, or a fabric covered frame come in. They're easy to modify, & low cost to boot.

Also, if you study vane steering gear at all, you'll notice that most come with, or their owners make a couple of different sizes - for different wind strengths (as well as to have spares around.

It will likely take a bit of experimenting to get the size(s), & degree of built in counter balance correct. However, don't stress over it.
You could try everything from Hasler's shape, to a teardrop'ish style, or an arrow fletching shaped tail. There needn't be one answer.


PS: Rig a safety line to said piece, through a small hole, in case it slips it's mountings. Lest the wind take it. Say a piece of 3mm spectra.
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Old 26-01-2015, 04:17   #6
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Re: Hasler windvane - DIY windvane

Is there a disadvantage in making it overly large? I have plenty of small diameter SS tubing and spinnakercloth to fiddle with, but also too many projects going on to make 5 vanes in trail/error to get something working...
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Old 26-01-2015, 05:36   #7
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Re: Hasler windvane - DIY windvane

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Is there a disadvantage in making it overly large?
Not much, better a bit big than a bit small. To big and it gets heavier and weaker, but will still work in a blow as long as it's not broken. Too small and the thing won't work in light airs and downwind. Getting the balance weight perfect is critical and with a vertical axis vane getting the area away from the axis helps.

I like a partially solid vane with a light nylon sock that can be removed in heavy weather. Little flaps at the trailing edge give it more power but increase drag.

good sailing!
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Old 26-01-2015, 05:39   #8
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Re: Hasler windvane - DIY windvane

Why the advantage on moving the area away from the axis? It's a vertical axis vane...

I was considering centering the vane on top of the axis and using the light tubing and cloth vane. In that case the whole vane would weigh a few ounces and a counterbalance wouldn't be needed.
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Old 26-01-2015, 08:51   #9
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Re: Hasler windvane - DIY windvane

are you familiar with Walt Murray's site

Walt Murray's website | Mister Vee wind vane self steering
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Old 26-01-2015, 09:57   #10
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Talking Re: Hasler windvane - DIY windvane

Quote:
Originally Posted by Orchidius View Post
Hi there... So I managed to score myself a Hasler widnvane self-steering unit. It's in great shape, and after some TLC and grease looks/works good as new. I haven't mounted it on the boat yet, so actual tests still have to be done, but I'm having some reservations about the windvane itself.... What do you guys think? Would you make a new vane for it? Out of what? How big?
Vertical axis vane are BAD ! 99% of modern windvanes have now horizontal or almost horizontal axis for the "aerial"... Shop around & you might find an aerial that you can link to the lower part of your vane. Good luck !
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Old 26-01-2015, 10:00   #11
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Re: Hasler windvane - DIY windvane

Use Estate Agents (real estate agents) signboarding - the stuff that is made of corrugated plastic. Its easy to cut into shape as a template and strong enough as a test-vane for size and shape. Once you are happy with it then you can either cut a permanent one from ply or use glass-tape to reinforce around the edges.
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Old 26-01-2015, 16:53   #12
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Re: Hasler windvane - DIY windvane

Find a copy of "Self Steering Under Sail" and read it, cover to cover! It'll answer all those pesky questions. In fact, vertical axis windvanes aren't "Bad", any more than horizontal axis units are "Good" - but a straight vertical axis does have distinct stability/smoothness disadvantages. My recollection is that something about 22 degrees away from horizontal gives the best combination of sensitivity, stability and responsiveness.
And yes, that vane looks much to small, particularly for a vertical axis unit - but with a little study, you can make it work.
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Old 26-01-2015, 17:17   #13
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Re: Hasler windvane - DIY windvane

Quote:
Originally Posted by Orchidius View Post
Why the advantage on moving the area away from the axis? It's a vertical axis vane...
More leverage for the same area.

It needs to be as far away from the vertical windvane shaft as possible. The original Hastler vane shape was a pretty good compromise. The cutaway at the bottom gave clearance for the backstay and reduced wave impact loads. And the top was high enough to get clear air. I think four vanes could be got from one sheet of ply. I'd start by copying the original design if it fits your boat. Hastler was pretty darned clever, and the gear gave good service on many boats.

The twin wall polycarbonate sheeting might be a simple option, but thin varnished ply would work fine, or ply with holes (covered with film) cut into it to make it lighter. Just make sure it balances perfectly with the all the paint, and when wet.

Cheers, and let us know how it works out.
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Old 26-01-2015, 17:46   #14
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Re: Hasler windvane - DIY windvane

Heard that some people made this type of vane reefable so they could have large size for light wind but not get destroyed in a gale. As above vertical axis was replace by horizontal as it is much more efficient
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Old 26-01-2015, 18:08   #15
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Re: Hasler windvane - DIY windvane

On a vertical axis vane, the counter weight needs to be just right for each size/weight of vane. The counter weight is for matching the vane weight when the boat heels. it is not to counter act wind speed like it is on a horizontal axis vane. I am sure the balance is more critical in lighter air, but will make a difference at almost any wind speed. I see nothing wrong with a vertical axis vane if used correctly. Good Luck with it. ______Grant.
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