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Old 23-09-2016, 16:41   #16
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Re: Wind vane alternatives

The Scanmar Autohelm auxiliary rudder is a design that looks good but apparently doesn't work well. Every one I've seen on a boat has been a decoration hanging off the back of the boat in various states of disuse and disrepair. Apparently they don't work or at least well enough for them to be maintained in working condition. Would be interested in hearing if anyone has had one that's worked successfully for long passages or short.

Because there is a small amount of bleed in a hydraulic steering system they do not work with direct attachment to a pendulum servo self steering system. Attach the self steering directly to the rudder shaft and bypass the hydraulic steering with a pressure relief valve and you are in business.

Failing that, you need an aux. rudder self steering system. If you got fabrication and design skills you try and do it home-brew. Don't expect it to be easy to get a system that will work and certainly not cheap unless you build it yourself. There a number of auxiliary rudder self steering systems available but none are cheap. Hydrovane, WindPilot Pacific Plus, and Fleming are some. Have a WindPilot Pacific Plus on the boat and it's worked a charm as long as I tighten the mounting bolts. Sailed the boat DDW to Hawaii with a relative wind of less than 10 knots. That's the worst point of sail for a self steering system in light air but the vane did a super job.
Peter O.
'Ae'a, Pearson 35
'Ms American Pie', Sabre 28 Mark II
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Old 23-09-2016, 17:01   #17
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Re: Wind vane alternatives

yeah, my rudder is under the bed in the aft cabin but wiring it to a windvane all the gear would be under the bed - i cut a hole in the front of the bedbase so my tiller sticks through making it quick and easy to dis/connect. The issue with the mizzen, if you think about it, is almost irrelevant - anything from reaching to hard close hauled your boat will probably steer itself if the helm is locked a bit to windward. The main use for the vane is downwind and the mizzen should always be down for running downwind - i prefer 2 headsails, no main and no mizzen. The big problem with trying to use hydraulic steering for any self steering system is the inevitable creep - the steering is always moving around and it defeats the self-steering. I tried a pendulum to wheel drum on my boat - too much friction to the center cockpit, too much steering creep even if the friction wasnt a problem, too many turns on a hyd. steering system for the amount of movement available from a pendulum.
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