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Old 07-12-2021, 22:12   #1
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Join Date: Dec 2021
Location: Occupacia Creek, VA USA
Boat: Gloucester 16, 16 feet
Posts: 3
South Atlantic Self-Steering Windvane

Steer clear, mates. I lost my money. Caveat emptor: SouthAtlantic's Paul Eimers built two servo-pendulum windvanes for me and neither one worked: unbalanced pendulum rudder (solved by me) and killing friction (unsolvable). Nope, not even close. Mine is a special case, an attempt to fit typical bluewater equipment on a 16-ft camper, more or less to open up a new market. He adapted his L360 model using aluminum, nylon, and I suppose general downsizing to give me something that weighed an acceptable 15 lbs., and very nice lifting out or deploying. However, after numerous attempts in all conditions light and heavy, on and off the wind, and frequent back and forth with Paul, we got really nowhere. I realized the man was reading little or nothing I sent him. Especially the word "friction." After two warm weather seasons, I returned both units in original condition to be told that though he refused to sea-trial either gear, he could look at each of them and tell they were perfectly serviceable. That and a couple of lame excuses turned a reasonable working relationship into something that went way south of South Atlantic. Translate "We got your money. Adios." So, life is short. Turning to my own resources, I fitted my boat with a fairly nice servo trim tab and am on my way.
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Old 08-12-2021, 05:53   #2
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Re: South Atlantic Self-Steering Windvane

Shame the sweet little Navik for small boats is no longer with us. That used cranks not gears and a trim tab on the water blade. Probably would have still been a bit much for a 16' though!
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Old 08-12-2021, 16:53   #3
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Re: South Atlantic Self-Steering Windvane

Not sure what a Navik is/was, but I admit Paul Eimers had a job on his hands coming up with a unit small enough for a 16-foot sloop. Could you describe the Navik?
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Old 08-12-2021, 18:12   #4
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Re: South Atlantic Self-Steering Windvane

Google Navik windvane parts diagram if you are interested...worked same as any windvane but used a trim tab on the water blade to keep things light.
But it sounds like you have a transom hung rudder so what you have done with a wind vane driving a trim tab on your rudder is always the simplest solution with some experimentation.
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Old 09-12-2021, 05:45   #5
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Re: South Atlantic Self-Steering Windvane

Thanks for your information about you experience with South Atlantic..
I have a Tufglas 33 with very slim stern so also needed a light weight unit.
I have a standard L360 which worked for about 2 weeks then lost control.. After this I was unable to centre the pendulum properly. I got it working to a reasonable degree after hours of adjustment..then the pendulum snapped off, in calm conditions, at the weld above the pendulum . I repaired this at sea.. I was mid atlantic. After that I had the same problem of not centreing.
After several attempts over a period of months I have been unable to get the L360 to steer.
I'm now in Cape Verde and have just completely rebuilt it making several minor improvements. It appears to be functioning correctly but is not yet sea trialed..
I had some contact with Paul Eimers but he basically said the centreing problems I described could only require minor adjustments... The unit is very poorly manufactured and the whole mechanism had come loose inside the tubes.
In a couple of weeks I'm heading over to the Caribbean so will test it en route.
My advice is steer clear of South Atlantic.!!
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Old 09-12-2021, 12:56   #6
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Boat: Phantom 32
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Re: South Atlantic Self-Steering Windvane

Second the Navik sentiment. I loved mine and did thousands of miles in a Triton 26. Tiller steered, not sure how it would do with a wheel
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Old 09-12-2021, 13:54   #7
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Location: NSW Australia
Boat: SS34
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Re: South Atlantic Self-Steering Windvane

For a 16 foot boat I would suggest the easiest and cheapest self steering gear would be one of Walt Murray's original designs. The plans are not easy to come by now but the first one he had which was made using plumbing plastic pipes cost about $20. His designs used a crank instead of bevel gears. It would cost more nowadays but if you have stuff laying about in your workshop it can be done cheap still. They work well too once you tune the sliding block and the crank. I built one for my quarter tonner then later shifted it on to a half tonner. Eventually I built a SS unit with bevel gears and used that for a few years before replacing it with an Aries. The photo is an early version of the Walt Murray. I used SS but most use plywood.
https://windvaneselfsteering.com/wal...commentary.htm
Video of my early Walt Murray.

Quality is poor now but there are other videos on my channel.
The Hebridean would probably suit as well. Self-steering Servo-Pendulum Wind Vane Kit & Plans for DIY Kit for Tiller & wheel boats | www.windvaneselfsteering.co.uk
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