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Old 09-08-2016, 18:34   #1
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Options for wind indicators

I'm used to having a wind indicator at the top of the mast that I can use to check how I'm sailing relative to the wind.

I just bought a boat that doesn't have a wind indicator. Eventually I'll pull the mast and install a new indicator but in the mean time is there a way to rig an indicator on the windward rail that would do the same thing?


I do know that I should be able to read the tell tales on the sails and do my adjusting that way, but I'm just not that good yet.
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Old 09-08-2016, 18:42   #2
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Re: Options for wind indicators

I spent a full season just with a flag on my back stay. Over the winter I added a mast top unit.
The flag worked quite well except would wrap up when jibing or tacking.
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Old 09-08-2016, 19:20   #3
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Re: Options for wind indicators

Bits of thread tied to the shrouds and backstay can help too.
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Old 09-08-2016, 19:30   #4
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Re: Options for wind indicators

Still have any cassette tapes?
Tie bits of tape to each shroud and you've got cheap highly accurate wind indicators.


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Old 10-08-2016, 05:59   #5
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Re: Options for wind indicators

lick your finger and hold it up
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Old 10-08-2016, 06:06   #6
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Re: Options for wind indicators

I have seen Opti style indicators attached to stays. These can be removed after every trip.

b.
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Old 10-08-2016, 06:48   #7
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Re: Options for wind indicators

Quote:
Originally Posted by StuM View Post
Bits of thread tied to the shrouds and backstay can help too.

I have a wind indicator, but did this to my shrouds with yarn, and I believe the yarn is as accurate.
I got the idea from the TH-55 I learned to fly, on it there was a piece of yarn attached to a wire on the windshield, that way the student pilot was always aware of trim, he didn't have to refocus inside on the instrument panel.
I have seen the yarn on high performance sail planes too.
If your really serious about it a piece of audio tape is very light, takes almost no wind to make it "fly" and it is easily seen too.
Now where did I put those 8 tracks ?
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Old 10-08-2016, 07:20   #8
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Re: Options for wind indicators

All great advice, Thanks! Reminded me that one time on a race we used a piece of handy spider web to see what the air was doing. The spider came floating across to us - flying by thread! Worked pretty well - the occasional puff it found was too light to call wind.
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Old 10-08-2016, 08:29   #9
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Re: Options for wind indicators

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lick your finger and hold it up
But do use your index finger lest you offend someone with a middle finger flip.
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Old 10-08-2016, 08:35   #10
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Re: Options for wind indicators

best to learn to sail without a windex or other indicator. think about it, why do you care where the wind is coming from if you can find the best trim for the best boatspeed no matter what point of sail you are on? i see many novice sailors spending way to much time fixating on windex's, tell tails, wind instruments and such and miss things such as heel angle and weather helm. yes, there is a combination of the two that will result in the best performance for any given point of sail, wind and sea condition.
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Old 10-08-2016, 08:58   #11
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Re: Options for wind indicators

Waste of money except for all-out racers, maybe.
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Old 10-08-2016, 09:16   #12
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Re: Options for wind indicators

Dental Floss works great on the shrouds!
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Old 10-08-2016, 09:26   #13
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Re: Options for wind indicators

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Originally Posted by jrbogie View Post
best to learn to sail without a windex or other indicator. think about it, why do you care where the wind is coming from if you can find the best trim for the best boatspeed no matter what point of sail you are on? i see many novice sailors spending way to much time fixating on windex's, tell tails, wind instruments and such and miss things such as heel angle and weather helm. yes, there is a combination of the two that will result in the best performance for any given point of sail, wind and sea condition.
What you're saying are honestly quite good ideas, & I'd far prefer it if more people could do these things, but... There are a few flaws to this.

On dinghies, & to some degree, keel boats, you can learn to sense shifts in wind strength, & direction by what you feel on your face, ears, & the back of your neck. But it's not something for newbies to try on keelboats, as there it's more of an expert's tool.
Ditto on sensing boat speed & trim by feel. Surprisingly few people can do it, especially with any accuracy. And then they have to want to, which not a lot of sailors past 30 care to.

The other catch to this, is that it doesn't work well on anything which accelerates quickly. As then the apparent wind shift so fast that you can't accurately track things. Via; sound, feel, or visually. Both in terms of discerning what the wind is doing, & boat performance.

Plus, on anything but dinghies, you're not just racing against boats the same as yours towards a mark. Rather you're often sailing for distance, to a course, or against different boat types. So you need to be able to keep track of true wind direction, & it's shifts, so that you can maximize your VMG towards a mark or navigational point.

Also knowing/being able to track true wind speed is key too, as it's what governs which sails to fly, & when. And on bigger boats, unless you're real dialed in, it can be harder to track speed sans indicators, especially by sound & feel. There's simply more boat between you & the water, as well as more noise. From the boat, other boats, & your crew.

And, have you ever tried to accurately gauge/keep track of these things; when it's raining, or blowing over 20kts, is dark, you've been up for 2 days straight with little food, boat speed's 12kts so you're roaring along, etc....
Not really an option.

I had trouble accepting most of the above as truths myself, when I first switched down to amateur, & advanced amateur racing. But it genuinely was the case with the vast majority of the sailors in the fleets. And even amonst some serious racers, as in pro's.

PS: You can (& should) teach a lot of the above skills on a boat on a quiet practice day. Not so much when racing, or when the weather's less than gentle.
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Old 10-08-2016, 09:53   #14
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Re: Options for wind indicators

If its hanging limp, there's no wind
If it's fluttering then there's a little wind
If it's standing straight out there's a lot of wind
And if it's gone, oh ****...

I think thats comes from "Get Real, Get Gone"

I found the real quote!


"If it is drooping, there is no wind. If it is parallel to the boat, there is good wind. If it is whipping and cracking, there is a LOT of wind. If it is wet, it is raining. If it has blown away, it might be time to heave-to."
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Old 10-08-2016, 10:05   #15
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Re: Options for wind indicators

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