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Old 16-10-2005, 03:25   #16
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There are two primary reasons windvanes are used by most long-distance sailboats. The first as Jon points out has to do with power consumption. And keep in mind that, as conditions build offshore, the autopilot has the same level of steering force with which to work, so its only option is to work harder (more frequent cycling) which drives up electrical consumption (and the potential risk for something to overheat or break). Servo-oar systems, the kind of windvane you normally find on boats, become more powerful in heavier conditions - one of their key assets.

The second reason windvanes are commonly used is reliability. Beyond chafe to the steering lines, there is less to break on a windvane (and arguably, more you can repair when it does) than with the multiple component below-decks autopilots. Personally, I think this is in part because windvanes are accessible and easily inspected while working; problems which are developing can be seen and addressed.

When we crossed to Horta in 2003, I was curious how old-fashioned we were in carrying a windvane but no below-decks a/p (we have a small helm-mounted unit for motoring), so I conducted a daily survey as I walked past the transient docks on the way to town. Boats are constantly coming and going there, 800 that season from May thru Sep. Each day I counted the number of transoms I could see - big boats/little boats; heavily equipped to spartan - and of those, the number that had windvanes. The lowest percentage I counted was 60+%, the highest 90%, the average I came up with over 5 weeks was 75%. Bigger, more expensive boats had the financial backing to make it easy to add a windvane. Smaller, more spartan boats HAD to have a windvane, due to both financial and electrical generation limitations. Most boats, independent of size, had smaller crews (2-3 were most common, with some singlehanders) and losing self-steering can be a real downer and present real challenges to small crews, so self-steering reliaibility was a major issue for them.

It was also interesting to see how many vanes were set up to accept a tiller a/p. We'd rigged this up before leaving the States and it 'fixes' the one weak point with windvanes: steady courseholding in light conditions. It also can provide self-steering while motoring, should the a/p go away.


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Old 03-08-2006, 16:54   #17
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I'm l;ooking into windvanes right now. The Cape Horn Windvane advertises that it is able to be used with davits. I think there was a picture as well.

Fair Winds,


Between us there was, as I have already said somewhere, the bond of the sea. Besides holding our hearts together through long periods of separation, it had the effect of making us tolerant of each other's yarns -- and even convictions. Heart of Darkness
Joseph Conrad
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Old 03-08-2006, 17:26   #18
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Aloha All,
I guess I live in Hawaii on a remote island because I think outside the box. Dinghy davits should be placed either port or starboard or both. Not on the stern. Your dinghy should be snuggly overturned on cabin top or foredeck while underway for a significant passage and davits should be removable and removed and stored below.
My monitor windvane will be at the stern bolted to the transom on watch unencumbered by dinghy davits.
I will never again tow a dinghy in a seaway because I lost my friend's pride and joy that way. I still feel sorry for that after 25 years because he would not take repayment for it.
Anyone need parts and pieces for an RVG windvane?
kind Regards, --JohnL--
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Old 20-09-2017, 15:44   #19
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Re: Why?

any thoughts on how to put a wind vane on a 430 beneteau,it has the sugar scoop stern
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Old 20-09-2017, 20:58   #20
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Re: Why?

Originally Posted by robertsquire View Post
any thoughts on how to put a wind vane on a 430 beneteau,it has the sugar scoop stern
Have a look at the Wind Pilot website. They show many different stern configurations that they have fitted WPs to.

Jim and Ann s/v Insatiable II , lying Twofold Bay, Eden,NSW after our 32d crossing of Bass Strait!
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Old 20-09-2017, 21:06   #21
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Re: Wind Vane and Dingy Davits

Hydrovane would also easily mount to a sugar scoop.
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Old 20-09-2017, 22:51   #22
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Re: Wind Vane and Dingy Davits

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Here's one
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Old 21-09-2017, 04:49   #23
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Re: Wind Vane and Dingy Davits

33' steel cutter
Wheel steering
Aux rudder vane. Fitted with Raymarine 2000 filler pilot.
Porteboat, goes well IF snugged to transome not allowing bow to dip. Folds up into deck in about 15 min.

44' steel cutter
Wheel steering AND rudder stock comes through deck and has a short tiller for Aries attachment. English boat, I've seen a couple one French and Two Canadian boats set up like this.
Overhanging arch that could be used as davits, sometime tempted but I don't.
Aries wind and fitted with Raymarine 2000 Ap.
CPT Wheel AP
Porte Boat is towed behind, snugged up, or stowed on deck.

For a big heavy boat its best the boat be designed with the wind vane in mind. The direct tiller connection enhances effiency and makes the vane more useful. Doing the vane as an after thought is a challenge.

On the 33 with the aux rudder I use it with the tiller pilot all the time. When docking I pop off the AP and steer with BOTH the wheel and aux rudder using the little tiller. Kind of funny to watch I imagine. When motoring the boat wants to turn due to the prop wash, I use the AP in standby to trim up the boat and give her a neutral helm.

Took me too long to figure all this out.
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Old 21-09-2017, 05:16   #24
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Re: Why?

Originally Posted by robertsquire View Post
any thoughts on how to put a wind vane on a 430 beneteau,it has the sugar scoop stern

Like this

Or this
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Old 21-09-2017, 08:18   #25
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Re: Wind Vane and Dingy Davits

Hydrovane has several pics and stories on their website where customers have dinghy davits with their windvanes. One of their stated advantages is that the windvane does not have to be centered on the hull midline thereby giving more clearance options.

The biggest issue is that the vane part has to be in clean air and has to have some minimal (actually pretty big) clearance around it and still be in clean air. It can't be below the aft deck, obviously. It can't hit the dink during moderate and usually not in severe conditions. You have to look at the particular vane and its requirements and then compare them against where the dink, the davits, and the davit lines are.

A more difficult but less common problem is with an overhanging arch which may or may not have dinghy davits. This is my situation. I don't intend to hang the dink on the arch/davits while using the windvane although I guess there might be a very unusual situation where I had a shortish passage where I would want both.

I got my windvane from Hydrovane after some serious measuring using a plumbbob and other assorted means to see if one would fit between my stern and the forward edge of my arch which is entirely aft of the stern. It turns out there is room for the shaft but then the issue was clearance for the vane. I measured that too and no way would the vane have enough clearance from starboard to port for a vane there.

The solution worked out with Hydrovane was to have a longer shaft that would put the vane above the arch. Hydrovane has some examples of others who have done this. My biggest concern is/was aesthetics. I don't want it to look like the ugliest setup on the ocean. Of course that is in the beholders' eyes. I will be mounting it this winter. From pics of others who have done this, it won't appeal to some purists but fit right in with some cruisers I have seen out and about with thousands of miles under their keels.

I will have both a powered autopilot and the windvane for redundancy and power savings. A wind vane won't work with no wind. Unfortunately we have all seen this at least a few times. Not fun to hand steer for hours/days on a long passage.

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