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Old 18-05-2015, 01:11   #46
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Re: Tossing the wind vane

I think a wind vane is a necessary part of offshore kit,Have run downwind in 50 knots with just storm jib up for 24 hours,the fleming steered boat very well when it was getting dangerous even to step out into the cockpit.An autopilot would have been useless in those conditions.
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Old 18-05-2015, 03:19   #47
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Re: Tossing the wind vane

Our Mariane is 48 ft, half keel, center cockpit, with my wife and I being the only flesh & blood sentient beings aboard. There's a computer joke somewhere in that, but it's not today's topic.

Monitor self steering {Helma, she's named} is doubtless our best crew member, being dauntless and requiring neither sleep nor beer. Light winds, gales or storms - regardless of wind angle - she just handles the task. And she does it damn well.

{Exception: she pulls a hissy-fit if the wind is dead on the nose, but that's forgivable, no? Disclaimer: Yeah, yeah... sailboats don't sail with their bow directly into the wind. Don't be pedantic. }

And she's easily repairable whilst underway. Photo was taken halfway from Mexico to the Marquesas Isles. The PO had those "legs" fabricated in Mexico. That little adaptation of mine brought us all the way to New Zealand.

Bonus photo: That's my wife repairing canvas while Helma controls the (ahem) helm. We're running under stay sail and tri sail only with winds in the 30-40 knot range. I have the beer and camera.

Dinghy davits - given away. Now the stay sail halyard supports a 4-to-1 block/line system that hoists the dinghy up and out of water amidships.

Hydraulic AP - ripped out and discarded years ago after numerous failures. (It was really old.) Besides, when it worked it really drank amps. Amps better utilized for the Engel 12 VDC fridge/freezer.

If CC cable steering breaks: I've got blocks ready to reroute Helma's control lines directly to the emergency tiller.

Electronic AP for controlling anything? No, but maybe one day.....

My final decision: If it's gotta be davits or wind vane, the davits go.
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Old 18-05-2015, 10:00   #48
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Re: Tossing the wind vane

Just as a word of caution about using the windvane to steer via a tiller pilot input when powering. The prop wash really effects the servo rudder causing it to dance about and shake. Monitor, for one, doesn't reccomend it. Believe they have the biggest issues because they are built of thin wall SS tubing that may be more prone to work hardening and cracking. The location of the prop and prop rpm will determine how much the wash effects the serve rudder. On our Westsail, the prop was very close to the vane rudder and usually ended up with it forced to one side as far out of the wash as it could get. Did not try it withTiller Pilot input but didn't look like it would work well. A boat with a deeper and/or farther forward prop may not have the issues.
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Old 18-05-2015, 10:51   #49
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Re: Tossing the wind vane

Quote:
Originally Posted by builder dan View Post
I think a wind vane is a necessary part of offshore kit,Have run downwind in 50 knots with just storm jib up for 24 hours,the fleming steered boat very well when it was getting dangerous even to step out into the cockpit.An autopilot would have been useless in those conditions.
I suspect you don't have much experience with modern below deck autopilots? Certainly those Southern Ocean race boats spend 24/7 in those and worse conditions, and they don't use wind vanes.

A good autopilot will steer in those conditions much better, and more safely, than a wind vane.

Sorry for the thread drift. For those boats that can use a wind vane, I think they can be very useful. However, there are certain common justifications, like the above, that are not true - or were only historically true in past decades. These should be clarified.

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Old 18-05-2015, 17:46   #50
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Re: Tossing the wind vane

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Originally Posted by s/v Beth View Post
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.
I do this on my Aries. I made a fitting for the top of the Aries that accepts the rod of the tiller pilot, Raymarine type. Works well enough. 40,000lb long keel, 44'.
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Old 18-05-2015, 20:22   #51
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Re: Tossing the wind vane

Thanks guys, I will try it this summer. Anyone have a photo of the mod?
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Old 23-05-2015, 05:55   #52
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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.
Did you mean 36,000 lbs?
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Old 23-05-2015, 06:30   #53
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Re: Tossing the wind vane

Windvanes are wonderful tools and have the advantage over autopilots of being mechanical and much less prone to break downs after days at sea. They do not require electricity to run and believe me, offshore a large and powerful autopilot uses gobs of power.

That said in my opinion they are only really justifiable if crossing oceans. If you are cruising in the Med/Caribbean or Mexico save your money and get a decent below decks autopilot, you will be much happier with the results.
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Old 23-05-2015, 06:32   #54
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Re: Tossing the wind vane

Tons

NICHOLSON 58 sailboat specifications and details on sailboatdata.com

We are 20 tons at 44'.

Our boat was built with an Aries in mind. I have correspondence between the original owner and Mr. franklin discussing mounting height issues.

One concession to the vane was that the rudder stock is brought up above the aft deck with a permanent mounted tiller. It used to be a big hunk of teak that swept the entire aft deck, but was too low for prolonged human use. I fabricated a two part steel replacement, the permanent half retained the geometry for the vane attachment. The add on half lifts the tiller so I can steer standing comfortably.

I'll try to remember to take a pic.
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Old 23-05-2015, 07:18   #55
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Re: Tossing the wind vane

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Originally Posted by robert sailor View Post
Windvanes are wonderful tools and have the advantage over autopilots of being mechanical and much less prone to break downs after days at sea. They do not require electricity to run and believe me, offshore a large and powerful autopilot uses gobs of power.

That said in my opinion they are only really justifiable if crossing oceans. If you are cruising in the Med/Caribbean or Mexico save your money and get a decent below decks autopilot, you will be much happier with the results.
Robert, I don't really disagree with you in the sense that a below-deck auto will do it all, but a windvane is not only for crossing oceans. I use my vane all the time, and so far I only cruise the Great Lakes. Anytime we're more than a few hours out I will engage the vane. Just get a couple miles off shore and wind cleans up nicely. Works just fine.

A good below-deck is going to be as costly as a good vane. It has many advantages, but so does a windvane. I guess the point is, a vane can easily be used for short hops. It's not just for crossing oceans.
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Old 23-05-2015, 08:35   #56
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Re: Tossing the wind vane

On our previous boat (a retired IOR one-tonner) we had both auto pilot and home made aux rudder wind vane. The only times on passages, whether coastal or trans-oceanic, where we used the auto pilot were when steering an accurate compass course was important... and that isn't very often. I add my vote to retaining the vane!

I miss having the vane on our current yacht...

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Old 23-05-2015, 08:55   #57
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Re: Tossing the wind vane

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Robert, I don't really disagree with you in the sense that a below-deck auto will do it all, but a windvane is not only for crossing oceans. I use my vane all the time, and so far I only cruise the Great Lakes. Anytime we're more than a few hours out I will engage the vane. Just get a couple miles off shore and wind cleans up nicely. Works just fine.

A good below-deck is going to be as costly as a good vane. It has many advantages, but so does a windvane. I guess the point is, a vane can easily be used for short hops. It's not just for crossing oceans.
Hey Mike,
I won't debate whether a vane can be used for short hops because it can but for new cruisers in protected or mild weather cruising areas it just seems to me to be much easier to simply get a good autopilot. I have owned 4 different vanes over the years and put them all to very good use but my sailing partner never really had the skill and the art to getting great results out of the vanes over a variety of conditions but she handles the autopilot with ease. The newer pilots are really good and steer the boat with ease whether motoring or sailing but for crossing oceans my first choice would be a vane. Hand steering for 2 weeks returning from Hawaii after a pilot failure made a believer out of me when I relied on autopilots alone.
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Old 23-05-2015, 20:43   #58
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Re: Tossing the wind vane

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Hey Mike,
I won't debate whether a vane can be used for short hops because it can but for new cruisers in protected or mild weather cruising areas it just seems to me to be much easier to simply get a good autopilot. I have owned 4 different vanes over the years and put them all to very good use but my sailing partner never really had the skill and the art to getting great results out of the vanes over a variety of conditions but she handles the autopilot with ease. The newer pilots are really good and steer the boat with ease whether motoring or sailing but for crossing oceans my first choice would be a vane. Hand steering for 2 weeks returning from Hawaii after a pilot failure made a believer out of me when I relied on autopilots alone.
I suppose you're right Roberts, a digital-controlled auto is easier than a windvane, but a vane is no more difficult to use effectively than trimming a sail. Surely that can't be too much to demand of sailors . An electric or hydraulic auto will steer through the full range of wind conditions, so it has the advantage there. But there are significant disadvantages that a windvane does not have. Either way, no one should have to hand-steer more than they desire. For me, that means virtually no hand-steering. On my watch the vane gets engaged right away, whether we're doing a multi-day crossing (Lake Superior) or just hopping to the next anchorage.
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Old 24-05-2015, 09:49   #59
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Re: Tossing the wind vane

You tell em Mikey! Those old digital doo dads don't hold a candle to Van(e)!
When you coming around the canal btw?
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Old 24-05-2015, 10:28   #60
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Re: Tossing the wind vane

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You tell em Mikey! Those old digital doo dads don't hold a candle to Van(e)!
When you coming around the canal btw?
Thanks Beth, but I don't want to sound like I'm dissing Robert or anything. He's right, of course. A quality below-deck auto will do it all, and likely be easier to use, especially for novice cruisers. But it comes with the obvious drawbacks that all electric machines have. A windvane is not without its challenges as well, but they are simpler to maintain and repair. And they don't put a strain on the boat's energy budget.

I'm trying hard not to sound astringent here. I just don't want people to think a windvane can't be used for short distances or coastal cruising. It's a common myth which I accepted for a long time ... until I decided to give our Aries a try which coastal hopping. I was pleasantly surprised at how well it worked.

For the record, I also have an electric auto (an above-deck tiller pilot) that I have to use when the wind drops too low. Our Aries gets increasingly fluky as wind drops below 10 knots. By 5 it's not to be trusted. This is where I use the electric. Usually we're motoring at this point.

By "the Canal" I assume you mean Panama? Gonna be a while yet. This season got derailed due to family crisis. Next season our aim is Newfoundland. After that, who knows. We'll likely turn south, but maybe we'll go to Ireland. Or maybe we'll have had enough sailing. Just don't know... which is all part of the fun .
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