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Old 16-05-2015, 14:55   #31
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Re: Tossing the wind vane

I can understand that a windvane would have little appeal to a day sailor or a sailor who sails mostly short distances. And I have enjoyed time at a helm between islands, with no real need for a vane.

But I used a Monitor vane for 25 days out of 30 days from Hawaii to SF, and this was on a boat that had an auto pilot that did not work, despite trying to get it to work. Electronics can be like that! . The vane worked great! Very useful and made the long passage with many hours in rather light winds relaxing and not tiring. As I see it, it is very valuable to have one on a passage making boat.
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Old 16-05-2015, 16:29   #32
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Re: Tossing the wind vane

For long passages nothing beats a wind vane. They can also be good for coast/island hopping if they are easy to enable/disable, allowing motoring into harbor. My current favorites are the WindPilot and the Fleming, and between them the Fleming because of the lightweight stainless steel construction instead of aluminum. These two have pendulums that swing up out of the water to disable - fast and easy.

I have a Hydrovane, modified at the original factory to drive the trim tab on my rudder (no longer available). It is very powerful but requires removing the tab for good control under power, which is a 1st class PITA. Many others, like Aries and Monitor are also a pain to remove from the water. The standard Hydrovane uses wind to directly drive an auxiliary rudder, which is not nearly as powerful as servo systems but benefits from simplicity and independence from the main steering system (and again is a pain to remove from the water).

Truth be told any wind vane will work for the bulk of cruising - the differences are at the margins. Also, I still recommend a good autopilot before thinking about a vane - most cruisers do a lot of motoring.

Greg
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Old 16-05-2015, 18:17   #33
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Re: Tossing the wind vane

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Originally Posted by NahanniV View Post
I have never seen an un-balanced cylinder on a boat unless there are dual cylinders (still balanced system).

Most boat steering cylinders have the shaft coming out both ends to avoid this problem.

There is still creep due to leakage in the pump and possibly cylinder.

Cheers,
JM.
I am aboard a lot or race boats using B&G, RM, and NKE autopilots below deck. Probably 90% use single ended steering cylinders that are unbalanced. The hydraulic pumps they use have valving that is adjustable to restrict flow in one direction versus the other to compensate for the unbalance. In the case of my boat I use a Teleflex balanced cylinder.
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Old 16-05-2015, 19:09   #34
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Re: Tossing the wind vane

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Originally Posted by colemj View Post
So with hydraulic steering, the midship rudder position relative to a point on the wheel is constantly moving about as one steers? The wheel keeps creeping to the right in your example?

My experience with hydraulic steering on sailboats is limited to only a handful of boats, but I never noticed this happening. It seems like it would be very noticeable that the wheel was creeping 1/4 turn each time it was used to turn the boat 10*. Heck, a short daysail would have the wheel spinning several times.

Mark
In a proper installation, the cylinder actuating the rudder is what's called a "Balanced" cylinder - the shaft runs completely through and out the other side, meaning that the volume on each side of the piston is the same.
This means that the only "creep" will be from losses in the pump and cylinder system. There will be some, but it's very slight. This does mean, though, that putting a piece of tape on the wheel at 0 degrees rudder is useless, since that point will change after the first few of turns of the wheel.
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Old 16-05-2015, 20:27   #35
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Re: Tossing the wind vane

We are 58 feet & 36 tons; center cockpit. I don't get a warm & fuzzy response from any of the wind vane builders for our boat. It would have to be an aux rudder type. I have to assume I can buy a lot of diesel for what our monster vane might cost. We are adding 660 watts of solar this spring & an updated Simrad autohelm to our 20+ year old servo, chain system. I smell compatibility issues.


From what I see, anyone operating serious off shore would not operate without one.
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Old 16-05-2015, 20:57   #36
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Re: Tossing the wind vane

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We are 58 feet & 36 tons; center cockpit. I don't get a warm & fuzzy response from any of the wind vane builders for our boat. It would have to be an aux rudder type. I have to assume I can buy a lot of diesel for what our monster vane might cost. We are adding 660 watts of solar this spring & an updated Simrad autohelm to our 20+ year old servo, chain system. I smell compatibility issues.


From what I see, anyone operating serious off shore would not operate without one.

At this time I am more likely to upgrade my solar (30 watts) than spring for a vane. Although I don't have room on my "H" beam for a very large panel. I can hang the 2 little 15's on the lifelines. Considering the lightweight flex panels.



I do believe a vane to be one the best items in a cruisers arsenal.


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Old 17-05-2015, 00:02   #37
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Re: Tossing the wind vane

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Originally Posted by Nicholson58 View Post
We are 58 feet & 36 tons; center cockpit. I don't get a warm & fuzzy response from any of the wind vane builders for our boat. It would have to be an aux rudder type. I have to assume I can buy a lot of diesel for what our monster vane might cost. We are adding 660 watts of solar this spring & an updated Simrad autohelm to our 20+ year old servo, chain system. I smell compatibility issues.


From what I see, anyone operating serious off shore would not operate without one.
This one of mine was custom built very cheaply by a chap who had built about 20 or so... he has one on his 50 footish steel boat.

They take a bit of getting to know... you need to have a depowered main and rely on your headsails for drive.... they steer to apparent wind so on the wind in fluctuating light airs you will wander about a bit
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Old 17-05-2015, 05:16   #38
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Re: Tossing the wind vane

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Originally Posted by El Pinguino View Post
This one of mine was custom built very cheaply by a chap who had built about 20 or so... he has one on his 50 footish steel boat.

They take a bit of getting to know... you need to have a depowered main and rely on your headsails for drive.... they steer to apparent wind so on the wind in fluctuating light airs you will wander about a bit
That looks like a pre-servo pendulum type to me (as in the type invented by Blondie Hasler, me thinks). Yes?
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Old 17-05-2015, 10:15   #39
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Re: Tossing the wind vane

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Originally Posted by Cap Erict3 View Post
...I watched a sailing buddy of mine install a new monitor wind vane. After his first season in the Caribbean he has decided to replace it with davits...
the few vendors that are out there want a pretty penny for they're product...
Not every boat owner DIY's a good self-steering installation. And long range cruising dreams are often stillborn, sometimes leading to just being content to cruise around on a short leash with the dinghy in davits.

On the other hand are all the sailors (generally a rather cheap lot) who are put off by cost, especially if it means hiring a professional to help get it installed correctly. Instead of installing a proper, independent self-steering system, they will visualize cobbling together a spinnaker pole and cabinet door as an emergency tiller/rudder.
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Old 17-05-2015, 12:31   #40
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Re: Tossing the wind vane

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Many others, like Aries and Monitor are also a pain to remove from the water.
I don't know about the Aries, but the Monitor has a locking hinge keeping the oar in the water. To disengage you just pull the hinge-release line and haul the oar out of the water using the safety line (the safety line is tied to the bottom of the oar). It's pretty easy once you get used to it.

Re-deploying the Monitor oar when underway can be a bit tricky (it's easier if you are going *very* slowly), but if I get the right angle on the safety line I can pull the oar into place and latch the hinge without reducing speed.
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Old 17-05-2015, 13:22   #41
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Re: Tossing the wind vane

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Originally Posted by sneuman View Post
That looks like a pre-servo pendulum type to me (as in the type invented by Blondie Hasler, me thinks). Yes?
Correcto..sort of.

Hasler Self Steering


Mine is a relatively recent design of trim tab on auxiluary rudder, I think his were initially trim tab on main rudder. Mine operates totally independently of the main rudder with just a bit of release/engage string led back to the cockpit, some detailed photos here Placement of Windvane Steering System.
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Old 17-05-2015, 14:14   #42
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Re: Tossing the wind vane

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Not every boat owner DIY's a good self-steering installation. And long range cruising dreams are often stillborn, sometimes leading to just being content to cruise around on a short leash with the dinghy in davits.



On the other hand are all the sailors (generally a rather cheap lot) who are put off by cost, especially if it means hiring a professional to help get it installed correctly. Instead of installing a proper, independent self-steering system, they will visualize cobbling together a spinnaker pole and cabinet door as an emergency tiller/rudder.

This particular sailor is an accomplished engineer and a craftsman and the unit a new servo pendulum style that he plans to keep for long distance journeys.

I imagine the prudence of an emergency rudder if owning a model with delicate rudder.


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Old 17-05-2015, 16:07   #43
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Re: Tossing the wind vane

I must put my 2 cents into the fray. After 15K miles with vanes (my own boats) and another 15K+ miles without vanes (mostly deliveries) I would say that most of it depends on what you plan to do with your boat, and if you plan on long voyages, what number of competent crew will be aboard? If you plan on coastal cruising, put your money into an autopilot. If you plan on long passages, put the vane above the autopilot on the wish/need list. On my first long passage I decided (about 1/2 way to the Marquesas) that if I had to steer watch and watch with 2 people, that I would give up sailing. I have used vanes in all conditions with good (not perfect) success in all conditions from almost drifting to full gale (storm jib, trysail and Aries) and would not be without one. Most of the deliveries I did, did not have autopilots, but on the long ones I always carried 3 or 4 people. I did 2 memorable deliveries with autopilots, one from Hawaii to Calif with an older autopilot that worked, but steered very badly (still better than hand steering), but used lots of electrons, and a brand new 47 foot high end boat that I only got about 3 miles outside of the Golden Gate before the ram ripped off of the bulkhead, and we hand steered the rest of the trip. That was not the fault of the autopilot directly, but it would be very hard to repair at sea. On another note (my anti autopilot rag) , a couple of years ago I bought a roll of charts from a fellow who left twice from Mexico to the Marquesas and his auto pilot packed up a couple of days out. The first time out, the pilot packed up and they returned to Mexico and waited 30 days for parts to fix it. They left again and 2 days out it blew again, but they figured out that it was the HF transmitter that blew the pilot, so they went back to Mexico again, and waited for parts. By the time they got it repaired again, it was too late in the season to be safe, so they motored back up the coast and gave up on the adventure of a lifetime. They missed the chance to visit places that very few people will ever get to see, because of a dependency on electrons. Their 2 daughters were too young to stand watch, and the husband and wife realized that standing watch and watch and looking after kids would exhaust them. I am not against having an autopilot, but for any passage making vessel, I consider a vane a higher (more reliable) priority. As everything is on CF, this is just my opinion, and many will disagree with me, but I have seen too many boats arrive with no electronics working, to want to put my faith in electronic steering. ______Grant.
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Old 17-05-2015, 20:38   #44
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Re: Tossing the wind vane

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Originally Posted by Paul Elliott View Post
I don't know about the Aries, but the Monitor has a locking hinge keeping the oar in the water. To disengage you just pull the hinge-release line and haul the oar out of the water using the safety line (the safety line is tied to the bottom of the oar). It's pretty easy once you get used to it.

Re-deploying the Monitor oar when underway can be a bit tricky (it's easier if you are going *very* slowly), but if I get the right angle on the safety line I can pull the oar into place and latch the hinge without reducing speed.
Same experience. Monitor is a piece of cake to disengage. I don't even get it out of the water till I am in the bay/harbor of my choice. Just pull on a string and hook it to the dingy hoist.
Anybody here use a little electric autopilot to run the monitor? That is for close in island hopping when I want to solo. Should be pretty easy to mount the mechanism.
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Old 18-05-2015, 00:01   #45
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Re: Tossing the wind vane

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Anybody here use a little electric autopilot to run the monitor? That is for close in island hopping when I want to solo. Should be pretty easy to mount the mechanism.
I've used that option offshore motoring, with a ST2000 just temporarily lashed onto the bracket the windvane attaches to. Work fine.
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