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Old 05-02-2012, 19:30   #1
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Windvanes Used With Tiller Pilots

Hi,First post so here goes.My motor sailor is 33ft long and weighs 10 tons.It is tiller steered so the Navico TP 30 only handles it in calm waters.I want to put a decent pilot on that will allow me to adjust sails etc in any conditions.Having looked into various setups,Hydralic,Edson rack and pinion,etc they all need the fat end of $10,000 nz dollars ,taking into account structural changes,engineering,wheel steering,then buying an auto pilot to suit.When reading a magazine there was an artical which suggested running a windvane with a tiller pilot both for light air sailing and motoring.The vane i like (windpilot pacific) would be about $5,000 and could be put on the stern with 6 bolts with the added bonus of keeping tiller steering and avoiding another power hungry monster.All this seems to good to be true so I would like a bit of advice from anyone who has attempted this,Thanks Dave.

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Old 05-02-2012, 20:05   #2
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Re: Windvanes used with tiller pilots

I was very, very happy with my Windpilot Pacific.

I also connected it a tiller pilot to it. It works well, but is a little less "magical" than having a built in autopilot. It's not a "press a button and it's steering" type experience. You have to make sure the tiller pilot is centered, and the windvane is centered, connect ropes to the wheel, and then press a button.

So I think you'll be happy as long as you can put up with an extra few steps.

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Old 06-02-2012, 09:07   #3
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Re: Windvanes used with tiller pilots

I have a hydraulic setup with two helm stations that will use a ComNav or similar AP, but with the turn of a handle, the hydraulics can be bypassed in favour of a Voyager windvane attached to a seven-foot tiller.

Inshore, or while motoring, the hydraulic/AP combo is preferable. Offshore and on passage, down to about eight knots apparent wind, the windvane/tiller is much more pleasant on a number of levels.

The point is twofold, literally. I have two means to self-steer that are completely independent of each other. Aside from suggesting rather rare and old books like Tony Meisel's Single-handed Sailor, I would suggest you experiment with your vane and tiller, which may require many repositionings of turning blocks and line tensioning before you find what works.

Once done, however, you'll have a reliable method of self-steering in most conditions.
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Old 06-02-2012, 11:08   #4
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Re: Windvanes used with tiller pilots

Hi bigdog5. I don't have any experience with the Windpilot Pacific, but your idea is exactly what we're pursuing with our Rafiki-37. She's 14 ton, tiller-driven, transom-hung rudder. We have an Aries which works wonders when the wind blows, but for light airs, or when we're under motor, we're installing a new smartpilot x-5 tiller (Raymarine).
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