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Old 19-02-2017, 15:03   #1
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Old school vane quiz

Ok who can help me out here? I cannot remember the name and/or make of this vane! It's not a QME but of the same vintage. It appears that it will fit on my boat well and I have fond memories of using a QME on a friend's boat many moons ago. I wonder if anyone remembers the name and had any experience with this model? It is a horizontal axis, not inclined axis, model and I am wondering if anyone remembers that they found (or find??) this to cause too much yawing around. This picture is from Lechter's book "Self Steering for Sailing Craft." It has a fabric covering (different sizes I believe) and the weighted arm slides in and out for adjustment.
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Old 19-02-2017, 18:32   #2
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Re: Old school vane quiz

Perhaps it was a home-made job? I just looked in the book, and there's no indication of make, but since it was on the author's boat, it seems likely to me he made it himself.
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Old 19-02-2017, 18:36   #3
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Re: Old school vane quiz

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Perhaps it was a home-made job? I just looked in the book, and there's no indication of make, but since it was on the author's boat, it seems likely to me he made it himself.
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Yes that is true, though the one I am considering, from photos from afar, looks almost identical and it looks like is very professionally built and welded. Thanks for checking.
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Old 22-02-2017, 08:10   #4
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Re: Old school vane quiz

Don, I dont know anything about that vane, but the mounting tubes look very long and not very strong. The longer and thinner the tubes are, the more easily damaged they can be. If I remember correctly the old QME didnt have anything in the water and depended on lines from the vane directly to the tiller. I suspect that your boat is large enough that you will find that system too weak to handle some/maybe many/ conditions. Without a servo in the water to add power to the system you are at more risk for gybes or just not steering reliably. I see servo pendulum vanes for sale on Craigslist often enough that I would not fiddle with the less powerful vane. You dont want to have to be adjusting things every time the wind speed changes by 5 or 6 knots. Weight will be an issue for you, but I think a better vane will give you much better service. Of course this is just my opinion. Best of luck. _____Grant.
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Old 22-02-2017, 10:38   #5
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Re: Old school vane quiz

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Don, I dont know anything about that vane, but the mounting tubes look very long and not very strong. The longer and thinner the tubes are, the more easily damaged they can be. If I remember correctly the old QME didnt have anything in the water and depended on lines from the vane directly to the tiller. I suspect that your boat is large enough that you will find that system too weak to handle some/maybe many/ conditions. Without a servo in the water to add power to the system you are at more risk for gybes or just not steering reliably. I see servo pendulum vanes for sale on Craigslist often enough that I would not fiddle with the less powerful vane. You dont want to have to be adjusting things every time the wind speed changes by 5 or 6 knots. Weight will be an issue for you, but I think a better vane will give you much better service. Of course this is just my opinion. Best of luck. _____Grant.
Thanks Grant! Agreed, but in my case I have an outboard on the transom so that means I don't have room for the servo type. The one I am looking at buying would have shorter supports than in the photo.
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Old 22-02-2017, 11:45   #6
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Re: Old school vane quiz

Don, here goes another 25 cents worth of advice. If you plan on long passages and long term cruising , then move your outboard off to the side and mount an aux rudder type of vane. I say aux rudder type because they are narrower and that means less off-set of the outboard. With over 8000 miles with a vane and an off-set outboard, I found the vane far more important than the outboard. An outboard is a pain on a cruising boat anyway. I sunk mine before I did long passages and only occasionally missed it. Maybe this is only 5 cents worth. _____Grant.
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Old 22-02-2017, 22:37   #7
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Re: Old school vane quiz

Hi, Don,

If she has a tendency to be squirrelly downwind, an auxiliary rudder type will help, because it adds lateral plane aft. On our IOR quarter tonner, it really helped, and indeed, steered thousands of miles. Jim sort of copied the ideas from an Autohelm, but used an aeronautical book about wing design to come to his rudder design. He invented the stern attachments for it, making it detachable for repairs. Didn't need too much of that, although did need to re-do the balance. Ask him for details, if interested.

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Old 23-02-2017, 17:54   #8
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Re: Old school vane quiz

Thanks, yes, if I had my druthers I'd go with a more modern servo or auxilliary rudder design. I don't really have enough transom to hang an engine and rudder from though. And like I said, I do recall having good luck with a QME many moons ago, but not so much downwind. It will take some experimentation. In my own case I am not planning to go to Hawaii or Mexico any time soon, just tooling around the coast with maybe the longest non-stop jaunts being 9 or 10 hours. I'd just like to be able to relax for a while making lunch or dinner. Right now I am just adjusting sail and lashing tiller, which is ok, but slows me down a bit.
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Old 01-03-2017, 17:43   #9
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Re: Old school vane quiz

A little closer now. Here are a couple shots of it. I don't have it in hand yet, it's still on the opposite coast. Look familiar?
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Old 07-05-2017, 11:34   #10
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Re: Old school vane quiz

OK here are a couple more shots. I finally have it now and I am impressed with the quality and workmanship. And this one has seen very little use so it is in beautiful shape (but I am not selling it!) It does not seem to be a homemade vane unless someone had a great machine shop, could weld aluminum beautifully, and did this on the side. I am still hoping someone will recognize it and have a little info on it. I need to add a bit to my pushpit before I can mount it but I'll post photos to my album on the progress for those interested.
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Old 08-05-2017, 01:58   #11
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Re: Old school vane quiz

It looks a lot like a very nice adaption of a Bill Belcher OGT MK1. Is the vane 1500x380 or so high? He recommended it for boats up to about 9m but used it directly on his very narrow 11 meter sharpie/dory Josephine for the trans tasamn Solo. Unfortunately it steered too well amd he ended up on Middleton reef. The original plans were for home construction out of wood.

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Old 08-05-2017, 03:20   #12
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Re: Old school vane quiz

Looks like the book's worth a read.
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Old 08-05-2017, 03:30   #13
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Re: Old school vane quiz

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Looks like the book's worth a read.
I've read it, and can say that John Letcher's "Self-steering for Sailing Craft" is better. Lots more info, lots more theory, better written, and some very good practical advice.

But while I'm here, though it's rather too late for the OP: I bought a used Sailomat presicely because it can be mounted off-centerline. So my transom now has: rudder amidships, outboard to Port, servo-pendulum to starboard, and sculling oar socket even further to Stbd. It's my understanding that not all windvanes can be mounted off-center: hence I shopped for one that said it could.
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Old 08-05-2017, 04:36   #14
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Re: Old school vane quiz

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Looks like the book's worth a read.
Its a great book, much simpler than Letchers excellant work, and much more practical I think. He has detailed plans for a variety of units that have been tested and work well. He uses a simple modular approach to mix and match vanes systems to auxilary rudders, trim tabs or servo pendulum's. A mate built a servo pendulum to these plans out of stainless steel and it steered his 29 foot gaff cutter very very well. Every bit as good as my Fleming.

They are all designed to be easily built using standard hardware store materials, the odd stainless dinghy fitting and a few simple tools, but he encourages use of stainless or alloy if you can weld or fabricate it. The key is in following the carefully selected gear and feedback ratios.

Bill Belxher also has a very good Celestial navigation book, and is was an accomplished singlehanded sailer, winning the singlehanded transtasman on one of the smallest boats (a small production 26 foot GRP boat) in one of the roughest races. Beating (to his suprize) a bunch of much bigger and faster boats.
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