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Old 08-01-2008, 15:14   #1
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Wind Vane Only

I'm in a process to get my steering in order and would like some feed back from more experienced sailors .
How many of you would have wind vane as the only source of auto helm.
Right now I have only wheel steering for the 30 ton boat ,linear drive .
Should i invest 5 grand into a good hydraulic steering ,or spend that money on hydro vane and put something less sophisticated for the time when motoring . Any input will be highly appreciated.
Henryk
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Old 08-01-2008, 15:59   #2
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Wind vanes and auto pilots are used for different things. It would not be fair to say one is better than the other. Wind Vanes steer best in open water for long segments where power is minimized. Auto pilots do better in close quarters around land where winds shift greatly. In chop the auto pilot will do best. On a 30 ton boat, hydraulic below deck on it's own quadrant is a plus. In heavier weather only the hydraulic will hold a course and not break as easily.

I have both systems a Monitor Vane and a Raymarine ST7000.

No such thing as less sophisticated. Everything really is quite simple once you understand it and positively sophisticated if you don't. You can get a smaller weaker autopilot if you bought two of them. They always break.
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Old 08-01-2008, 16:01   #3
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I agree with Paul. On my cruising boat, I had a Monitor wind vane and an Autohelm belowdecks linear drive.

Don't go cheesy with an autopilot.

Steve B.
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Old 08-01-2008, 17:08   #4
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I just got a replay from Harvey (Tayana Owners Group moderator) and he suggested a windvane with the electric tillerpilot connected directly to the steering foil of the vane . He said he knows people that circumnavigated with that set up . I like simplicity of this arrangement ,less gizmos to break and I can even get an extra tillerpilot . I was always amazed with the windvane machinery ,the same like with sailing itself , using only wind for propulsion and steering .
Thanks a lot for the help ,we'll keep you poste it on the progress.
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Henryk
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Old 08-01-2008, 17:14   #5
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A Tayana 42 at 30 tons? did you mean 30,000 lbs?

seer
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Old 08-01-2008, 19:15   #6
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Monitor for sailing & Cheezy tillor pilot for inshore/motoring. Love the setup. Nearly no issues since '92 when they were both installed.

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Old 08-01-2008, 21:50   #7
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Sorry, 30.000 lb.
In the last issue of Blue Water Cruising there is an article about couple from Australia that went down the Brisbane river in their 37 foot double ender . They had an Aries windvaine and hooked tiller pilot to it.They got so comfy with it , that they circumnavigate with .It was an Autohelm 4000 with a remote control box ,but they guy is saying that 1000 would be just as good , as the loads are minimum .
I'm really keen on that ,as the system is "gizmo friendly" ,simple to operate and maintain.
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Old 09-01-2008, 09:32   #8
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The autpilot gear that sits in the cockpit tends to get destroyed rather quick, and the power drain is fairly decent. If mine is making a big course correction, I usually see 4-5 amps going out.

They're very handy for motoring, because you've got the power, and you're not really paying much attention to the wind at that point anyway (why would you be motoring?).

But while sailing in open water, nothing beats a wind vane. No power requirements, strong, and the biggest thing is that it keeps you on a point of sail, not a compass heading.
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Old 09-01-2008, 12:25   #9
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I hope I am not pirating this thread but are wind vanes effective on catamarans?
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Old 09-01-2008, 12:53   #10
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That can be good or that can be bad. Depends on how critical it is to not stray outside your crosstrack?

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the biggest thing is that it keeps you on a point of sail, not a compass heading.
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Old 09-01-2008, 13:09   #11
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My thinking was that sometimes you are just trying to get to weather. So your emphasis is in trying to sail as close to the wind as you can...which means the windvane would be better instead of having to adjust your auto pilot with every wind shift. Is there such a thing as an auto pilot that reads apparent wind and adjusts the auto pilots course accordingly?..so that say for example you are always 45 degrees on the wind regardless of wind shifts?...that seems like it would relatively easy to do. An average could be taken so that it does not try to compensate with each roll. I have a scientific grade (R.M. Young) weather vane that takes the average wind direction over one minute. Would something like that interfaced into the autopilot work?
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Old 09-01-2008, 13:17   #12
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Shure Dave, we use WH but probably any maker has a rail mount wind vane.

WH Autopilots

OPTIONS:
  • Remote Controller: HC-2A-3
  • Rudder Angle Indicators (Meters): Up to three models RA-11 can be connected. (The HC-2A-3 has a rudder angle meter built in.)
  • Hydraulic Power Pack: The standard system comes with a 12v, 1/4 hp variable speed drive unit. HPP's from 1/2 to 2 hp and solenoid drivers for engine driven hydraulic steering systems are available.
  • Counter Rudder (Rate Control): Available option.
  • Edson Connection Kit: A linear actuator that is designed to operate with Edson type cable steering.
  • Wind Vane input systems: Model W-1, supplied with a small rail mounted wind vane.
  • Polar Wind Computer System: Model W-3, uses Stan Honey's software and a PC computer.
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My thinking was that sometimes you are just trying to get to weather. So your emphasis is in trying to sail as close to the wind as you can...which means the windvane would be better instead of having to adjust your auto pilot with every wind shift. Is there such a thing as an auto pilot that reads apparent wind and adjusts the pilots course accordingly?...that seems like it would relatively easy to do. An average could be taken so that it does not try to compensate with each roll.
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Old 09-01-2008, 16:19   #13
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That can be good or that can be bad. Depends on how critical it is to not stray outside your crosstrack?
There's really only two options for self steering under sail:

- Steer to the compass, and constantly adjust your sheets.
- Steer to the wind, and adjust your sails / rudder from time to time.

Essentially the wind vane is for wide open stretches. You're right, if you're concerned about the wind switching around on you, or there's a shore nearby, you probably shouldn't be using the wind vane.

But in a non-diurnal wind (like the tradewinds), that rarely shifts, a wind vane is the way to go.

If you put a gun to my head, I'd go with the wind vane over an auto pilot, but both are a nice combo.
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Old 27-04-2010, 20:37   #14
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Autopilots steer a course based on set direction, Wind Vanes sail a course based on wind direction. Both will keep you going in the same direction and speed as long as the wind doesn't change. My personal opinion is that electricity and sea water don't mix so I prefer a windvane under sail, though I have an autohelm for traveling under power, fairly basic no frills....less to go wrong. When it comes to things like self steering I believe keeping things simple gives less opportunity for malfunction. Granted a really big boat with an accompanying bank account I would go for redundancy before complexity...I like gadgets and electronics too, but like to be prepared for when they DO fail.
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Old 28-04-2010, 02:30   #15
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We have uninterupeted service from our Raymarine 6001 auto pilot and could not possably conceive that anything could be more accurate, more safe and more forgiving that in.

Yes, even I have fallen asleep in the cockpit when close to shore or islands and so if I was using a wind vane could have been about to run us aground. Why? Well, you know the answer... wind changes direction near, around, or over land and islands. So if you fall asleep in the cockpit the wind vane will make your boat change course near land. And that aint a good thing


Mark

PS with wind vane how do you get on your boat from a dinghy? How will your guests unfamiliar with your boat get on?
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