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Old 09-08-2019, 12:00   #16
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Wink Re: Is self steering possible or practical?

I agree with sailng_gal: contact Hydrovane, they are most helpful, and, the Hydrovane system works with its own deep rudder. I have one on my 41' Westerly Oceanlord and it steers on all points of wind. It is an absolute boon, well engineered and designed by sailors for sailors. Balance your sailplan, lock the wheel/tiller with your rudder offset to compensate for any tendency for weather/lee helm and sit back and relax.
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Old 09-08-2019, 12:08   #17
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Re: Is self steering possible or practical?

OMG, it would be a sin to mount some kind of self steering on that boat. You should have ample batteries to run your AP without problem.
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Old 09-08-2019, 13:10   #18
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Re: Is self steering possible or practical?

One would expect a beautiful old schooner like that to balance quite nicely. If so, in most conditions, then a modern AP will not be working hard and will draw little juice.
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Old 09-08-2019, 13:32   #19
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Is self steering possible or practical?

It is a beautiful boat. As other have mentioned that full keel will play a large role. My Cabo has full keel and at roughly 23K pounds displacement it’s pretty sea kindly. So even though I have a fairly robust auto pilot the power drain is minimal since it doesn’t usually have to work very hard. I had a friend help me deliver it from Naples to Tarpon Springs FL. We were zipping along at 7.5kt when he told me that AP wasn’t working. I asked why he thought so. He said the wheel wasn’t moving. I just pointed out that the compass heading wasn’t changing either.

Power drain was minimal. Try it out with just the AP. You might find you don’t need a windvane and use that money for other goodys like dinghies or rum.

Edit: just curious but how much do you draw. Based on photo I’d guess around 6 ft.
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Old 09-08-2019, 13:56   #20
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Re: Is self steering possible or practical?

Quote:
Originally Posted by rhubstuff View Post
Please, PLEASE, go sailing with an experienced schooner sailor. The "self-steering" system on a schooner is known as the "sails" and it is all about balance. A good schooner will steer itself on any point of sail except dead downwind if her sails are trimmed properly. The worst case is downwind in heavy air and big seas, in which case the sail plan look like: Mains'l furled and stowed, fores'l set deep-reefed with a preventer, clubfoot stays'l sheeted in hard to hold the bow off. All other points of sail are relatively easy and depend on wind/sea conditions. If you need a wind vane on a schooner, it is because of a poor design or lack of knowledge about schooner sailing. The main boom will remove it at the first jibe anyway. This is your boat telling you to "Get that thing off my a$$ and learn how to sail me!"



No self steering or auto helm will work if the boat in not well balanced and the sails are not well trimmed. The converse is true as well, any system will work on a well balanced boat.

My Seawind cat has an AP, but I often forget to turn it on; but only after probably 10-15 minutes of adjusting the sheets on the screecher, working jib, and mainsail AND most importantly in my experience the traveler. At that point it tracks like a freight train.

On the other hand I have been on race boats with lots of weather helm that are impossible to keep on course with out continuous adjustments at the helm.

Boats with more than one mast are a lot easier to balance than those with only one mast; as long as they are well designed in the first place. You may want to get more experience sailing your boat before trying to figure out which assist for self steering is the best.
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Old 09-08-2019, 16:21   #21
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Re: Is self steering possible or practical?

Yes wind vanes are ugly but they get the job done, after all the autopilots bit the dust. Auto pilots, when working consume gallons of watts and amps. Not a good choice for crossing oceans.
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Old 09-08-2019, 17:25   #22
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Re: Is self steering possible or practical?

While wind vanes are still good gear for crossing oceans, its just no longer the case that electronic APs consume "gallons" of watts. A Raymarine Type 1 hydraulic AP pump is rated at 24 watts (2A @ 12V). Thats less than many other loads on a typical modern cruising boat.

I recently crossed the Atlantic with a similar AP pump, AP power consumption was a non-issue.

The ideal solution for offshore is still to have both.
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Old 10-08-2019, 02:17   #23
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Re: Is self steering possible or practical?

Yes that is 2amps. At normal load big seas bigger load. AP’s are good if you have
A big boat with a big battery bank. Not so good on my 27’ boat. 24 amps is a quarter of my capacity.
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Old 10-08-2019, 02:39   #24
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Re: Is self steering possible or practical?

It's a bit old-school-quirky... but you COULD put a trim tab on the back of the rudder, and drive that with a through hull cable arrangement.

Not ideal, I concede, but very workable. I looked at it quite closely for my boat a while back and the materials are available make it both practical and reasonably low maintenance.

I have a bit of a "thing" against electrically powered autopilots, though I do have one that mostly works. I got caught with a dead electrical system on the delivery trip of our boat and ended up hand steering for five days.

I also like wind-vane steering systems with the least dependence on the steering system of the boat that I can contrive. So something like a steering pedestal failure, in my books, should not render the windvane inoperable.
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Old 19-08-2019, 06:57   #25
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Re: Is self steering possible or practical?

I circumnavigated with a Cap Horn wind vane system which worked well. Precise heading control was not that great though and when I needed that level of control going up the inside of the Australian Great Barrier reef it was not there. So, I installed a brute of a hydraulic Auto Pilot in Cairns which served me well for the rest of the world cruise. Big thing is the yacht needs lots of electrical storage and lots of charging capability. Panels and wind gen will not cut it although we had both. You need an oversize alternator to eliminate endless engine runs for charging purposes. I had all that: 800 amp hours of house batteries and a 300 amp hour alternator together with the standard 125 amp hour alternator. The system could bounce the batteries from say 70% to about 90% in about 45 minutes while at the same time operating the desalinator and the fridge/freezer. However, if I lost all electrics and/or the autopilot, I still had the wind vane steering. Yacht was a Beneteau 440.
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Old 19-08-2019, 08:33   #26
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Re: Is self steering possible or practical?

Your Stella Polaris, appears to be a 40' LOA, x 9'6" beam, x 4'8" draft. We successfully used a Hydro Vane on a 38' fin keel, skeg / rudder, about 16,000 lb displacement. For a 55' LOD ketch, full keel, and displacement 65,000#, we choose to use an auto pilot tied into the two station hydraulic steering system. That system handled the boat well even in hurricane force winds, over 40,000 miles of cruising. Charging was either via a generator or main engine, both of which had 150 amp 12 V alternators, and daily running was required to make water, run compressors for eutectic freezing and refer plates. The house battery bank was 1200 amp hours.

If you wanted the Hydro Vane, it only requires 3 transom attachment points, so it is removable when not needed. We don't know which "Autohelm" system you have, since they were made from wheel steering attachments to full hydraulic models which tied into the ship's steering system.
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Old 19-08-2019, 09:04   #27
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Re: Is self steering possible or practical?

If you want a windvane, you need to put a rudder post through the hull. That doesn’t sound like a particular good idea to me. A schooner is a good rig off the wind but does require a lot of attention steering. An auto pilot would work hard. A windvane would spoil the looks IMHO.

If you insist on a windvane you need to add a thruhull and secondary rudderpost. The above deck port would have to be clear of the boom and lines.

I think a hydraulic autopilot and diesel gen set with many spares is the way to go.
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Old 19-08-2019, 09:06   #28
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Re: Is self steering possible or practical?

* Lashing the tiller and balancing the sails: if the wind is reasonably steady in strength and direction and blowing between Force 3 and Force 4 lashing the tiller then fine tuning the balance of the sails by slightly loosening or tightening the mainsheet works very well for me on my Alberg 30 with a 110% genoa. Note that it didn’t work very well for me with a 150% genoa which tended to develop too much weather helm. It takes practice and most of all patience to balance the boat without just grabbing and moving the tiller because the boat will need sometime to settle into its equilibrium. I have not found that adding bungees into this system improves anything. The most necessary thing is a method to firmly lash the tiller while still being able to make micro adjustments. The major problem with this system for self steering is that if anything causes the boat to fall off enough for the mainsail to stall (moving toward the bow too quickly on my boat or a lull in the wind) the steering will not recover and the boat will jibe unless you can grab the tiller quick enough to prevent this.
* Sheet to tiller self steering. Try to find a copy of at least Chapter 3 of the book “Self Steering for Sailing Craft” by John S Letcher, Jr (sometimes available as a free online PDF). I would say not as good as a windvane (which I can’t afford) and not a total replacement for a tiller pilot, but much quieter than my tiller pilot and frees me to move about the boat. Unlike the tiller pilot it adjusts to changes in the apparent wind. Once again to be successful this is a sailing skill that takes patience and practice but I have found learning and improving these skills to be as rewarding as learning to sail and I believe they have made me a better sailor because I am much more in tune to the balance of the sails and to avoiding just man handling the tiller to overcome any imbalance.
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Old 19-08-2019, 12:28   #29
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Re: Is self steering possible or practical?

Scanmar builds custom windvane units to fit many different shaped vessels. You provide them with your boat spec/type and they likely have the blue prints on file to show you what setup works best for your boat. The owner of Scanmar is an experienced cruiser and will go out of his way to help you out. Contact them https://www.scanmarinternational.com/



Both Monitor and Hydrovane windvanes are good designs, not sure if Hydrovane works well with a schooner rig. Pros and cons to everything.



Both companies will be attending the Annapolis Sailboat Show October 8 - 15.
Scanmar tent C-31, Hydrovane tent A-21. Great opportunity to see the equipment for yourself and to ask the experts your questions and see how they respond in person.
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Old 19-08-2019, 15:55   #30
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Re: Is self steering possible or practical?

Sure is a beautiful b[oat. As usual, lots of opinions with many valid points. My view is that I love the simplicity and robustness of windvane steering and no need for electrical power. I have a large overhang as well and find the Hydrovane works well. The Hydrovane was one of the windvanes that performed pretty much trouble free during the Golden Globe Race. Sylph and I have been around the world 1 1/2 times now so I can also testify to it being a very reliable system. I have also found as it is independent of the main rudder, it is near frictionless and will steer the boat in the lightest of breezes. Due to technical difficulties I have posted a link to my blog with photos of my steering sytem rather than posting a single photo (sorry).
Good luck with your voyaging.

http://blog.mailasail.com/sylph/post...k-in-the-drink
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