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  #31  
Old 08-24-2013
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Re: Self steering dilemma

Quote:
Originally Posted by Exile1 View Post
Mark -- Is your comment re: windvanes mostly about the risk of deviating off course with changes in wind direction, esp. when single or short-handed? As someone who singlehands a lot, what do you use for backup, if anything? Is heaving-to for rest realistic if all else fails?
Hi Dan,

I know 3 boats lost thru wind vanes and only 2 were solo.

Yes, its a wind shift problem... and one of the examples hass appeared in the next post to yours!

I dont have a back-up my Raymarine (ex charter boat so its done lots of miles) has had 35,000nms trouble free except for a small spot just north of Bahamas where it started playing up and I had to hand steer for a bit. Funnily enough the error occured again at the same latitude in the ICW 6 months later!

My back up would be to hand steer and hove to when tired. On a long passage it wouldnt be fun... but it would be a bit character building.



Quote:
Originally Posted by TQA View Post
Jeanne has just completed her 3rd single handed circumnavigation.
The back up was a Hydrovane which just kept on ticking.

Well, you mis-read it or she is lying.
In 2008 her boat was lost on a mexican beach (after I met her both sides of Panama) when her overslept her alarm and while she was asleep the wind changed and her wind vane put her boat on the boach as a total loss. The boat wasnt as good as the Najad so it was fortuitous for her to get an insurance payout plus whatever to have the new Najad built.

Mark
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Last edited by MarkofSeaLife; 08-24-2013 at 08:45 PM. Reason: spelling
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  #32  
Old 08-24-2013
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Re: Self steering dilemma

Some of the other reasons I dont like wind vanes:

Expensive.
Moving parts
Moving parts in the weather
Blocks swim platform
Often for sale on radio nets in cruisng areas. why?

Why I like auto pilots.
Reliability
Quick to set, change course, then forget.
Inexpensive
Few moving parts.
No moving parts in the weather.
Low amp draw. (half that of a fridge)
Never do I hear long range cruisers selling them to go to wind vane steering.
I hear very very few having problems.
Steers a course far better than I ever could.
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  #33  
Old 08-24-2013
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Re: Self steering dilemma

Quote:
Originally Posted by MarkofSeaLife View Post
Quote:

Originally Posted by TQA
Jeanne has just completed her 3rd single handed circumnavigation.
The back up was a Hydrovane which just kept on ticking.
Well, you mis-read it or she is lying.

In 2008 her boat was lost on a mexican beach (after I met her both sides of Panama) when her overslept her alarm and while she was asleep the wind changed and her wind vane put her boat on the boach as a total loss. The boat wasnt as good as the Najad so it was fortuitous for her to get an insurance payout plus whatever to have the new Najad built.
Well, you would be wrong about that...

Actually, that boat WAS a Najad, a 361...

And, she was motorsailing to her AUTOPILOT at the time, when it tripped off into STANDBY, and she veered into shore:

Quote:

“Nereida was grounded halfway from Aca-
pulco to Zihuatanejo on a desolate, mostly
uninhabited part of the coast, after the auto-
pilot went down just before first light on June 19,” Jeanne wrote on her website on July 1.

“I was taking my usual timed nap — a
stopwatch set for 45 minutes — which looked
fine in the situation: full moon, some swell
and waves but not much, motoring in very
little wind, a good distance from a long sandy
shore. Because I was motoring in calm condi-
tions, the resultant change of course was not
obvious enough to wake me up in time, as it
would have had I been sailing.”

Jeanne believes that the wireless remote
for her Raymarine autopilot was the culprit. “If
it’s not plugged in and it discharges, the head unit will go on standby
automatically,” she said. “I discovered that fact quite by accident, and
have been very careful ever since to plug it in when I take a nap.” As
it was part of her routine, she’s sure she plugged it in but concedes
it must not have had a good connection or it wiggled loose.

http://www.svnereida.com/article/Nereida_Lost.pdf

Ooops...


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Old 08-24-2013
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Re: Self steering dilemma

Quote:
Originally Posted by MarkofSeaLife View Post
Hi Dan,

I know 3 boats lost thru wind vanes and only 2 were solo.

Yes, its a wind shift problem... and one of the examples hass appeared in the next post to yours!

I dont have a back-up my Raymarine (ex charter boat so its done lots of miles) has had 35,000nms trouble free except for a small spot just north of Bahamas where it started playing up and I had to hand steer for a bit. Funnily enough the error occured again at the same latitude in the ICW 6 months later!

My back up would be to hand steer and hove to when tired. On a long passage it wouldnt be fun... but it would be a bit charter building.

Mark
Always great to hear opinions from sailors like yourself who are out there doing it!

I have had a similarly positive experience with my below-decks B&G. In fact, I have an excellent dealer who has helped me learn the finer points of the system, and he consistently talks me out of spending lots of money on spare parts! Like a windvane, balancing the sail plan is essential, esp. for conserving amperage. When appropriate (fully awake near shore or far offshore w/alarms), I can also set it to steer off the wind like a windvane and not have to fuss with sail trim. This is particularly helpful when tacking upwind. I agree that it steers much better than I can on any point of sail.

I am nonetheless more positive than you about windvanes, but this is only from what I read & hear vs. actual experience. B'twn cost, installation, and having a larger, center cockpit boat, I have been reluctant to conclude that it is the way to go for me. FWIW, there's a wheel pilot made by CPT that is reputed to be the only one robust enough for larger, heavier boats. It costs about $2,000 and can be stowed in a small case unless needed for emergency backup.

I must confess to some paranoia after reading so many internet posts about AP failures & the ubiquitous "Mr. Murphy". This is thus far contrary to my own experience with my AP and apparently yours as well.

Thanks again for chiming in.

Dan
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Re: Self steering dilemma

Quote:
Originally Posted by JonEisberg View Post
Jeanne believes that the wireless remote
for her Raymarine autopilot was the culprit
http://www.hydrovane.com/wp-content/...es-Nereida.jpg
It would be very ungenerous for me not to believe those statements. I must say my very clear recollection at the time was different. However, of course, I wasn't there on her boat I was on mine sailing across the Pacific with a Raymarine that never missed a beat.
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Re: Self steering dilemma

We have a Raymarine below deck with CPT wheel pilot as back-up. The below deck uses much more power than the CPT so we switch back and forth as needed.

Only reason I want a windvane is the possibility of a back-up steering system if we have a rudder failure. I would have to remove our davits and a 210watt solar panel to do it....not sure if its worth the loss.
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Old 08-24-2013
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Re: Self steering dilemma

One of each, waiter. If you would be so kind.

I've only been offshore in other people's boats, never my own. Fair bit of coastal in our boat(s) but not offshore passage making. Coastal the AP just seems to make sense.

Long term, if we didn't already have a Hydrovane I'm not sure I'd get one but fitted with Tiller Pilot option it is nice to have a back up rudder. I am intent on moving our HV off centre to allow for platform. HV themselves say this will not effect performance.
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Re: Self steering dilemma

Mark thanks for your posts.? What do you use for back up steering
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Re: Self steering dilemma

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Originally Posted by outbound View Post
Mark thanks for your posts.? What do you use for back up steering
Quote:
My back up would be to hand steer and hove to when tired. On a long passage it wouldnt be fun... but it would be a bit character building.
If the question is 'why dont you have an automated back up" then I would say that its not necessary. If it was I would have a second Auto Pilot before I would have a wind vane steering system.

Make no mistake: If any or either unit, or anything else on your boat breaks down you need to be able to do the hard yards to get yourself into port. Sailing when the sh!t has hit the fan isnt easy nor fun but you and me have to be prepared to do it... the only other choices are to hit a red button and abandon the boat. Sailing manually might be tough but its a damn sight easier than rowing the boat the same distance


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Last edited by MarkofSeaLife; 08-24-2013 at 08:45 PM.
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Re: Self steering dilemma

Wasn't worrying about the AP rather rudder failure.when prepping for many races or joining fleet sails need to demonstrate that you have a emergency rudder.? Do you carry one. Thanks
Surprisingly find even fin keel boats tract well enough if balanced to use brake and go below for short stints. Been trying to spec emergency rudder set. May be worth the extra bucks for a hydrovane
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