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Old 08-11-2015, 08:00   #31
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Re: 30ton Ferro cement Ketch about to voyage. Talk us out of a wind vane...

Wind vane steering is great for long ocean passages as it uses no power. But an under deck auto pilot is king, until it fails then you will be glad of a spare, and if you lose power then the money spent on a wind vane will seem like money well spent. could I hand steer for hours om end day in day out, probably, would I want to NO, as it is I and I mean my preference is to hand steer as little as possible even on short trips. My weapon of choice at the moment is the Sailomat 601.

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Old 08-11-2015, 08:47   #32
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Re: 30ton Ferro cement Ketch about to voyage. Talk us out of a wind vane...

We are in Bellingham with a 38' Horstman Trimaran and have a Raymarine Auto pilot that has worked well until it didn't. On a inside passage trip last year the hydraulic pump went out. We carry a backup and it turned out not to be that big a deal to replace.
I have a number of friends that have made the trip you are talking about and they all had a self steering system like Hydro-vane or came back from the trip wishing they had had one. With 3 kids you want to concentrate on the adventure and the learning experience, a back up self steering system in my book is a must for ocean passages.
Best of luck on the trip, our daughter and her husband along with their 3 kids are planning the same trip in 2-3 years. Their kids are 6 and two 8 year old's.

We will follow your progress

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Old 08-11-2015, 09:18   #33
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Re: 30ton Ferro cement Ketch about to voyage. Talk us out of a wind vane...

How about carrying a CPT unit as a spare? For $1,895 it's pretty cheap insurance.

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Old 08-11-2015, 09:24   #34
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Re: 30ton Ferro cement Ketch about to voyage. Talk us out of a wind vane...

Originally Posted by crunkbait View Post
We are a family of 5 about to embark on a Pacific Loop (PNW to MEX to Polynesia, to Hawaii to PNW.)

With an easily balanced boat (Samson C-Strutter 46) and a trusty hydraulic Comnav/Wagner Autopilot. (Batteries are fed by 400Watts of solar a Superwind 350 Windgen and a 75hp Isuzu diesel powerplant.)

....Do we need to splurge for a $7000 Hydrovane or a homemade trim tab windvane on our full keel attached rudder (its fairly complicated since our rudder is way down on our keel .....or.... just GO and do our loop.

With only about a 100 days of long passage making thats $70/day for a wind vane that will only be able to serve us when the ideal conditions are present.

I realize its like having an extra crew member on board, which at 70/day is cheap, but aren't there people out there NOT using them?
In 2009, I crewed on an 11 day delivery of a Bristol 45.5 from Virginia to USVIs. Nine of those days had heavy weather, thanks to the proximity of Hurricane Ida and a nice trough. During the nine days, the Monitor windvane ate through a Dyneema control line, and the Raymarine Autopilot sheered through its bolts. Repaired with effected with difficulty on both units, but it necessitated hand-steering for about 24 hours in total.

That includes, however, conditions over 30 knots of wind speed, which overwhelmed the AP or seas high enough to block airflow to the wind vane. Basically, you hand-steer in squalls...or you heave to.

It convinced me that you can NEVER have too many ways to steer the boat that don't involve your shoulders and hands. Steering offshore manually is the least desirable option, I think. Everything breaks at sea, and if your Comnav goes, all five of you will be wrestling a wheel for three-hour tricks, or one hour if it's heavy weather.
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Old 08-11-2015, 09:35   #35
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Re: 30ton Ferro cement Ketch about to voyage. Talk us out of a wind vane...

I think I saw your boat last summer in the San Juans, can't miss your graphics, someone on our boat called it a mural! We are also a FC built in 81 and the lines are very similar to yours. I have nothing to contribute as far as knowledge, but will follow this thread because I'm learning about different APs and we are/were planning on exactly the same trip. That is until we moved here last year and fell fall-on-your-face-gob-smacked in love with the whole NW coast. Now we just want to finish the refit and get going -

Good luck to you all and enjoy the voyage!
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Old 08-11-2015, 09:45   #36
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Re: 30ton Ferro cement Ketch about to voyage. Talk us out of a wind vane...

I have had boats without self steering but most of my miles were on my Pearson Vanguard which had an Aries vane. No bimini, radar posts or towers but the Aries could steer perfectly on any point of sail with all but no wind. Also had a tiller pilot which I used only when motoring...perfect setup. From FL, Bahamas, Haiti, cross the Gulf of Mexico twice and a few years up and down the coast of Calif. I wouldn't consider going offshore without a vane...the difference between exhausting challenge and an enjoyable cruise. It also allowed me to singlehand easily.
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Old 08-11-2015, 10:24   #37
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Re: 30ton Ferro cement Ketch about to voyage. Talk us out of a wind vane...

...for the type of trip you'r planning I strongly suggest a windvane... and a second autopilot just in case... unless you want to drive all the way.
Nice boat! good luck and enjoy the trip!!
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Old 08-11-2015, 10:43   #38
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Re: 30ton Ferro cement Ketch about to voyage. Talk us out of a wind vane...

Hydraulic will not work directly with a pendulum-servo self steering vane beacuse of creep in the hydraulics. It will steer but you would have to make regular course changes. It does work really well if you can fit a stub tiller to the rudder stock and a bypass valve to the hydraulic steering, however. It's the best of all possible worlds because you get direct input from the vane to the tiller/rudder without any of the friction losses and limited steering input with going through a wheel system.

People say the Hydrovane works and they've sold a bunch but question there light air performance with the auxillary steering rudder being powered exclusively by the wind. WindPilot Pacific Plus and Fleming's Global Auxillary Rudder Vane both use a servo pendulum vane to power the auxillary steering rudder. At least with the WPPP, the ability of the wind to deflect the wind sensing vane is the limiting factor in the Aux. rudder steering the boat. The Servo-Pendulum/Aux. Rudder system will will steer my boat if there is any, and I mean any, way on the boat. Whether the relatively small auxillary rudder can steer your boat is another matter though with the full keel and inherent directional stability of your boat think it would probably be no problem.

I'm not a lover of autopilots, the noise, fragility of the electronics and their voraceous appetite for electrons is something I wouldn't stake an ocean passage on. But I'm a solo sailor and would have to be the loan helmsman 24/7 should the self steering, whatever it is, go down.
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Old 08-11-2015, 11:32   #39
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Re: 30ton Ferro cement Ketch about to voyage. Talk us out of a wind vane...

I have a used complete working Comnav 1001 A/P system for sale:

Control head & cable
Fluxgate compass & 4Ft of cable
Junction box (2) & cable
Rudder meter
Jog lever & cable
Rudder follower & cable
Follower linkage & bronze clamp-on tiller arm + plastic tiller arm.
Manual & other misc Comnav/Wagner stuff.
$500 US + shipping from Maine to US points or from N.B. Canada-ur choice.
Note: The Port Turn button does not work. This means you switch to Stby,manually turn to new course & switch back to Pilot. Stbd Turn button works fine. Both Dodge buttons work fine. All other functions work fine.

Also have a used Raymarine small reversing hyd. pumpset for sale. $150US or $100US if bought with above pilot.

Note: I do not have the Comnav CT2 Pumpset 20amp driver box. The 1001 A/P head can only output 3amps without the CT2,so it will not drive the reversing pumps or Raymarine M8113xx linear drives,etc directly. It will drive solenoids fine.

Cheers/ Len
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Old 08-11-2015, 12:17   #40
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Re: 30ton Ferro cement Ketch about to voyage. Talk us out of a wind vane...

Howdy Crunkbait!

I think your boat's paint decorative tribal paint scheme is great! Certainly distinctive and I imagine it will be admired in far off lands where tribal tattoos are authentic.

I have read all the previous replies to your query. Lots of good advice.

I liked what CelestialSailor said about trying to balance the sails on your full keel ketch.

I liked what SnowPetrel wrote too. And others like El Penguino (the posted photos helped) and Jim Cate made sense to me too.

I don't have the same level of ocean passage experience as some of the folks here, so you can take my comments below with a splash of saltwater.

I was on a voyage from Hawaii to California (2,500+ miles). The boat had a nice relatively new major brand electronic autopilot, as I recall it was "Autohelm." It did not work. It had a Monitor windvane. It did work, very reliably, and allowed us to do minimal hand steering (mostly during squalls and a storm or true gale). After that experience, I determined I would want a wind vane (as primary) for self steering on long passages and an electronic autopilot (secondary) for motor-sailing and as backup.

You don't mention the age of your crew. Are they teens or young kids? If the children are young, I would not expect them to do much hand steering at all. Especially at night. So, that means if your current single autopilot were to fail, you and your wife would have to do hand steering for many hours (probably all night) at the minimum. In my view, that would quickly turn the trip into an uncomfortable task, day after day.

So, I think having a redundant autopilot or a complementary wind vane would be the good thing to spend some money on prior to the long passages.

In addition, like Celestial said, I would practice balancing the helm using only the sails and rudder (tied off) while on a reach, and those reach winds could be conditions that cover many miles on the ocean.

I also like what SnowPetrel suggested about giving the entire crew regular "hand steering" duty during different points of sail and conditions. This gives everyone a sense of how to steer when it is needed and during different conditions will help everyone learn.

Bon Voyage!
Ahoy All Sailors! Need experienced crew for a passage or delivery in Atlantic, Pacific, Caribbean, Med, PNW, ICW, coastal or across an ocean anytime in 2018? I am available on 24hr notice. See my CF Profile "About Me" page for details. Happy to lend a hand!
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Old 08-11-2015, 12:42   #41
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Re: 30ton Ferro cement Ketch about to voyage. Talk us out of a wind vane...

ahoy, I purchased a lot package, a year ago which included a flemming ka 45 windvane. It is considered very reliable and I wish to have one some day for long term sailing. My 3 year plan will hopefully take me inter-coastal towards Alaska/ BC. community of fellow adventurers suggest I may not need vane for cruising . I have considered selling but it is such a beautiful piece of SS I think I might want to have it when and if my future plans turn to open ocean. So may you consider leasing this for your year adventure, could work on some terms and fair winds Patrick
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Old 08-11-2015, 14:23   #42
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Re: 30ton Ferro cement Ketch about to voyage. Talk us out of a wind vane...

I have a 12 ton FC Samson Seashell Ketch. About 20 years ago I bought and installed a used Aries wind vane on her; absolutely the best $700 I've ever spent on her, steers better than any human I've ever placed behind a wheel, never complains and lets me do other things while it steers. I've done some days of single handing and never was alone. I added a cheap little tiller pilot to the system, it works the wind paddle when I'm forced to motor. I like the Aries over the Monitor because stainless steel work hardens and can crack. I've seen this on several boats in my marina over the years. If you're going cruising don't leave shore without one.
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Old 08-11-2015, 15:14   #43
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Re: 30ton Ferro cement Ketch about to voyage. Talk us out of a wind vane...

Honestly I think anything other than an auxiliary rudder systems gonna struggle on your boat, unless you can fit a stub tiller. Building an aux rudder is a big job. I like the CPT as a backup plan. You could mount it on the inside steering system. Invest a few dollars in spare hydraulic lines and ram seals.

There is a lot else that can go wrong at sea, engines die, masts fall down sails rip. We have to be resourceful, and also objectively assess the risks. We can't carry spares or backup for every system.

I love the simplicity of windvanes, but given you have a big strong autopilot system, and a robust charging setup, and inside steering position I wouldn't be too concerned without a windvane in your case. It will suck if the AP dies, but you will survive, and possibly enjoy the challenge (for a few days..)

We handsteered a 64 foot schooner from Tassie to South America. 5000 odd miles. I've handsteered a container ship half way round the world when the gyro compass died. I've hand steered most of the way from NZ to Tonga when the trimtab wind vane got ripped off by a wave , and across the Tasman a few times. And to Antarctica and back 3 times. It's not the end of the world.

People are so soft these days...
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Old 08-11-2015, 15:22   #44
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Re: 30ton Ferro cement Ketch about to voyage. Talk us out of a wind vane...

So much good advise here guys! Thank you for all your comments.

Sorry to respond in haste, but my wifi access is limited....

Most of the vanes out there are not designed for 30 ton boats, period. Im 55' overall. The only company bold enough to guarantee success is Hydrovane. The competition is the Pacific Plus and are $6K+ anyways.

Anyone got one of these for sale? I'd buy one.

Sheet to wheel varieties are out because of the hydraulic friction.

Since I don't want the Aux tiller shaft poking up through my stateroom all year; I am limited to Aux Rudder systems or the Saye's.

Last night, I couldn't sleep, I started to get real excited about a trim tab on the main ridder using a cable actuated system stolen from the auto-helm wind vane concept. But I'm not sure the rudder is balanced enough. It floats when disengaged from the pintles but has significant rake in its keel attachment that I can't really seem to move it when I grab onto its rudder post attachment post. (After I disengage it from the hydraulic steering piston. Its a 8" long handle and its REALLY hard to swing by hand. I can barely do it, SLOWLY. Of course with a tiller extension it should be easy but I'm just trying to give a point of reference here. (This is a case for the trim tab on main rudder ideas.)

I'll attach a photo of the transom.

BTW, the kids are 8, 10, and 12. All love to steer for about an hour a day. They are great at it. But I want a wind vane. someone's got to cook and play house while the crew sleeps.
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Old 08-11-2015, 15:35   #45
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Re: 30ton Ferro cement Ketch about to voyage. Talk us out of a wind vane...

Fair call crunk, if a windvanes what you want. Rather than just feel that you need one. I'd go for a homebrew aux rudder, lots of other pluses, helps the boat track Down wind completely, it's an independent backup rudder, and can help maneuvering in tight spots if you put a well trained kid on it to follow your helm orders.

PM me an email address and I'll send you some scanned plans if you like.

I'd steer clear of a trim tab on the main rudder if it's underhung. If it jams or gives problems it's a nightmare. I had to dive on one once at sea and unbolt it after a wave took it off. We couldn't steer with the trim tab sticking out one side. Not fun!

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