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Old 30-06-2013, 22:04   #46
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Re: Windvane steering on a cluttered stern

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Originally Posted by Viking Sailor View Post
Matt,

Since you intend to do mostly shorter coast wise passages another option you might consider is to self steer using your sails and emergency tiller. When you go on trips try rigging the emergency tiller and practice using bungee cords and lines to connect the jib clew to the tiller to self steer. You may find a combination that works for your boat. It is cheap and gives you something to experiment with while sailing. Thus, if you can perfect this method of self steering, you should at least be able to get to port without having to spend time hove-to resting.

You are quite right Viking, it does work. I am reminded that I used to do it with the Austral 20, and I found that I would get sometimes up to an hour of good course holding but then inevitably something would change and I would spend the next hour trying to stabalise the system again.

Like you said, it gives you something to do.

I should try it with the Swanson, I suppose it is has a lot more directional stablity than the Austral. Setting up my emergency tiller is a bit of a falava, I have to pull aside the mattress in the rear bed, which means making the bed again when I am done or I get in trouble with SWMBO.

Actually, I SHOULD try for exactly the point you made about getting home safely to a port. Because who knows what might fail.

Cool, something else to do with the boat.

Matt
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Old 30-06-2013, 22:07   #47
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Re: Windvane steering on a cluttered stern

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Originally Posted by highseas View Post
The boat I sailed as a youth,a Tom Colvin Gazelle had a homemade trim tab rudder self steering on transom,with dinghy on davits as well.Worked like a charm to Mexico and Hawaii and back,even in light winds;I'm sure the full keel helped.The vane had no restriction of swing with dinghy on davits,although on an ocean crossing we always put dink on deck.The frame and ruddershaft were tight up against transom.

I looked up that design, and I like it. To my layman's eye it appears to have a similar profile under the water to the Swanson, albeit with hard chines. Very different above the water though, and it looks very roomy from the photos I saw.
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Old 30-06-2013, 22:43   #48
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Re: Windvane steering on a cluttered stern

I love it when new folks get the reading bug !! The One thing I know about Vanes is we used one for 40,000 + miles on the back of a Colvin! The only time it did not do the job was when there was no wind ! When we started out, we had the most simple electrics available, NONE. We had oil flame running lights, oil lamps below decks. We had a first issue Aries Vane, and a bunch of spare parts for it !! No auto anything !! It did it's job flawlessly!(as soon as we learned to use it LOL) after a few years we advanced to haveing electrical stuff, but we still continued to use the vane at all times when we were not just messing about! I know that it's a great thing to have all the bells and whistles, we have most of them now! But the thing we dont have now is a wind vane, and Im missing it enough to have started to look at mounting one as soon as the money gets here LOL I miss the feeling of haveing something that steers my boat and don't eat anything ! food or watts! But then our new to us boat do have a back up self steering unit !! so I guess Im just used to the good old stuff !! Just my 2 cents
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Old 30-06-2013, 22:54   #49
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Re: Windvane steering on a cluttered stern

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, oil lamps below decks....
I just took mine out after a bit of soul searching. I kept hitting my head on them.

Nice pair of lamps too, double gimbled with REALLY heavy solid frames. Don't know what to do with them... Too nice to sell, but get in the way in the boat. And, in fairness, a bit of a fire hazard too I should think.

M
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Old 01-07-2013, 07:47   #50
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i am well researched on autopilots. been researching them for 4 years now.
i read about windvanes falling apart.
The internet is used more by people into technology with a broadband connection. It's a poor representation of reality, despite what everyone on the internet thinks.

Windvanes are remarkably reliable, generally repairable in developing nations, can introduce a second rudder, reduce wear on the primary rudder, and are in no way dependent upon the generation and storage of electricity.

Put an auxiliary rudder wind vane on the floor. Then put *every* component of an autopilot next to it. The diesel, the solar, the wires, the butt connectors, the batteries, the alternator, the fuel tank, the switches, the AP motor, the connectors.

With an AP you are fully dependent on electrical generation and storage.
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Old 01-07-2013, 07:55   #51
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Re: Windvane steering on a cluttered stern

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The internet is used more by people into technology with a broadband connection. It's a poor representation of reality, despite what everyone on the internet thinks.

Windvanes are remarkably reliable, generally repairable in developing nations, can introduce a second rudder, reduce wear on the primary rudder, and are in no way dependent upon the generation and storage of electricity.

Put an auxiliary rudder wind vane on the floor. Then put *every* component of an autopilot next to it. The diesel, the solar, the wires, the butt connectors, the batteries, the alternator, the fuel tank, the switches, the AP motor, the connectors.

With an AP you are fully dependent on electrical generation and storage.
if the AP fails you grab this big round thing and hang on. think its called a wheel. however in my case the opposite is true as well. if the wheel fails, aka a cable snaps, then i can use the autopilot, as it is tiller mounted. i guess i can see the point of the windvane, as long as there is a backup.
as for information, i read peoples accounts. most people have had the alpha 20-30 years with no issues. there are a few issues that have been seen. i was thinking of carrying a spare drive motor when we do our first crossing...
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Old 01-07-2013, 08:16   #52
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Re: Windvane steering on a cluttered stern

Bob, The reason you got used to the good old stuff, is that it worked so well. A good vane(any brand is better than none) is worth its weight in gold when the electrons fail. Actually it worth its weight in gold on any passage that is more than a day or 2. Gilow, you might want to keep one of those oil lamps so that it could be re-installed in a hurry if you have an electrical failure. As much as possible, everything electrical on a boat should have some kind of simple backup. It doesnt have to be fancy, just workable. Just another 2 cents worth._____Grant.
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Old 01-07-2013, 09:04   #53
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Re: Windvane steering on a cluttered stern

Scoobert, back in the 90s I delivered a brand new Tayana 47 from San Francisco up to Oregon. I remember asking the yacht broker that had helped order the boat, where the hand bilge pump was? He didnt know. I found it and looked the boat over, and every thing seemed OK. The broker said that all we needed were tapes for the VCR and the autopilot. (F#@*ing Idiot). The auto pilot didnt last more than an hour after we sailed out of the Golden Gate. It was hooked directly to the quadrant, so that it could steer in the event of a cable failure. It simply ripped off of the inside of the transom. Totally unrepairable at sea. Luckily I had a third crew on this trip, so it was no real problem. When we started taking on water due to a design flaw, both electric bilge pumps failed, and the hand pump was in a horrible position, but with frequent cleaning, we got the boat dry again. If I had been asked to deliver the boat to Hawaii, and this happened 4 or 5 days out to sea, it would have made for a very tiring trip. Anything can happen at sea, and simple reliable backups are important.____Grant.
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Old 01-07-2013, 10:53   #54
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Re: Windvane steering on a cluttered stern

Scoobert,

I'll see your 4 years reading and raise you 150,000 n. mi. sailing under silent windvane, that Jim built.

Autopilots are more accurate for maintaining a tight course, but the average course steered by a windvane is fine for coastal cruising, and for crossing oceans.

The OP wants an independent, non-electrical supplement to his electronic autopilot, and it seems to me the kindly thing to do is support his efforts.

Ann
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Old 01-07-2013, 12:45   #55
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Re: Windvane steering on a cluttered stern

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Originally Posted by scoobert View Post
if the AP fails you grab this big round thing and hang on. think its called a wheel. however in my case the opposite is true as well. if the wheel fails, aka a cable snaps, then i can use the autopilot, as it is tiller mounted. i guess i can see the point of the windvane, as long as there is a backup.
as for information, i read peoples accounts. most people have had the alpha 20-30 years with no issues. there are a few issues that have been seen. i was thinking of carrying a spare drive motor when we do our first crossing...
Many WV can do the same. My Cape Horn can steer the boat if the bloody rudder falls off. Lets see the lectric ones do that.

I have a second hand autohelm push pull type that steers the boat under power on minimum amps. But since I am a Sailboat I never use the engine LOL

Each to their own, as to failsafe, the last failsafe %100 guaranteed boat was called the Titanic!!:-)
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Old 02-07-2013, 01:57   #56
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Re: Windvane steering on a cluttered stern

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Bob, Gilow, you might want to keep one of those oil lamps so that it could be re-installed in a hurry if you have an electrical failure. .
Grant, yes, that's exactly why I hesitated to remove them in the first place. But after the second time I dinged myself on the head, a little birdy that was flying around suggested a couple of decent LED backup lamps instead. :^)

And, happy chance, there was a sale on at Whitworths the very next weekend! Bought them and put them with the flares to remind me to change them every couple of years.

Actually, our initial delivery trip was plagued by electrical problems, consistent with a boat that had been under used for 10 years. As a result, two of the five legs were done without the coursemaster, but we had a crew of four so that was not too onerous, and Manera has a VERY nicely balanced helm. (Except when running before the wind in 30 knots, but hey, that's another story..)
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Old 02-07-2013, 02:00   #57
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Re: Windvane steering on a cluttered stern

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Originally Posted by Ann T. Cate View Post
and raise you 150,000 n. mi. sailing under silent windvane, that Jim built.
Careful Ann, you are making me SERIOUSLY consider trying to build my own now....

I have a MIG welder and I'm not afraid to use it! (Maybe I should be...)

Seriously though, I think I will try cobbling something together. I've got a few years to debug it in the Gulf St Vincent with the coursemaster as a "backup unit."

Should make for a lively thread if I do give it a go... maybe Jim will give me some tips.

Matt
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Old 02-07-2013, 10:42   #58
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Re: Windvane steering on a cluttered stern

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You should stick to things you really know about, like how to reef the sails on your ketch.

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Old 02-07-2013, 11:43   #59
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Re: Windvane steering on a cluttered stern

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Old 02-07-2013, 14:45   #60
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Re: Windvane steering on a cluttered stern

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Careful Ann, you are making me SERIOUSLY consider trying to build my own now....

I have a MIG welder and I'm not afraid to use it! (Maybe I should be...)

Seriously though, I think I will try cobbling something together. I've got a few years to debug it in the Gulf St Vincent with the coursemaster as a "backup unit."

Should make for a lively thread if I do give it a go... maybe Jim will give me some tips.

Matt
Hi, Matt, et al,

You should PM Jim, and he can tell you all about it. Briefly, the push/pull concept was based on the Autohelm one; the vane part was of his own design; original pintles were s/s, and after emergency welding on Raoul Is., when we returned to NZ, he had bronze ones cast; the auxiliary rudder shape was based on airfoil design from a text--and the rudder was balanced. I think he still has some drawings on the boat, his drafting was done on quad paper. The rudder was constructed of 3/4" marine grade ply, IIRC, which he used epoxy to laminate up. He made a template to get the foil shape right. Like everybody says, YMMV, but it was doable, and it was a success. The hardest bit for him to come by then was teflon tubing to run the steering cables through; IIRC, once we used polyethylene instead.

Ann
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