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  #51  
Old 08-26-2013
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Re: Self steering dilemma

Quote:
Originally Posted by Exile1 View Post
JonE -- Always nice to have feedback from someone with direct experience. The servos have the rep of working better the worse the conditions. I've always been a bit dubious whether this applied to the non-servo Hydrovane, esp. on larger, heavier boats. In the conditions you described on your trip on the HR, do you think it would have been realistic -- hypothetically and assuming you lost your self-steering and were single/short-handed -- to have heaved-to when rest was needed? Nice pic, btw.
Sorry for the delay in my reply... Again, my experience with the Hydrovane is singular, and should probably be taken with more than a few grains of salt...

Hydrovanes seem to be quite popular among the ARC fleet, and consistently get high marks from their users. But I suspect much of this comes from those with center cockpit boats, where they may be a bit more suitable.

A servo-pendulum vane will be challenged by most center cockpit configurations, the length of the line control runs can inject too much stretch into the setup, and thus degrading performance... One of the reasons I am so pleased with my Sailomat, is that my boat is tiller-steered. I feel any vane is likely to work significantly better with a direct connection to a tiller, than the loss of efficiency when coupled to a wheel, and having to counter all the additional resistance in a wheel steering system... In many cases - especially with center cockpit boats - I think the best way to hook up a S-P vane would be to bypass the wheel completely, and run the control lines directly to the emergency tiller, instead...

It's no surprise a Hydrovane wouldn't steer that H-R as well as the autopilot, a quick glance at the comparative sizes of the respective rudders would make that obvious, the former being but a small fraction of the size of the ship's rudder... sure, it will keep the boat going in a general direction, but as most of my trip was being sailed DDW with the headsail poled out, no way would I have trusted the vane to avoid an accidental jibe, or backwinding the jib...

If one is going for a vane, seems to me you want a S-P unit that offers the ultimate in performance, as opposed to an auxiliary rudder system that might be pressed into service in the highly unlikely prospect of a complete rudder failure... Far better to sail a boat with as bulletproof a steering system as possible to begin with, and use a system least likely to allow something like an accidental jibe, which can lead to gear breakage, rig failure, or worse... And, in my view, one of the most important components of any emergency steering system should be the provision for flying twin headsails DDW, most any boat can run off using a Twizzle-style rig and some sort of drogue, alone...

I'm a big fan of windvanes, but appreciate they aren't for everybody, and certainly not for every type of boat. But I suspect many who bad-mouth them have little actual experience with them, and I've always suspected that one of the primary reasons they are not more popular among modern cruisers, is the fact they cannot be interfaced to steer to a waypoint :-) And, with the proliferation of dinghies being stowed on davits, stern arches and the amount of crap on the back in general, it would seem their performance can be so compromised as to be almost worthless... In a recent article in CRUISING WORLD about their most valuable gear aboard OSPREY, Wendy Mitman Clarke rated their windvane among the top items - although looking at all the potential for interference of the airflow forward of the vane, I can't imagine it being unaffected by any apparent breeze forward of the beam...



But, when everything is dialed in, there are few things finer than being steered by a windvane. Closest thing you'll ever see to a perpetual motion machine, and the very essence of what sailing is all about, using the natural forces of wind and water alone... An absolute miracle of invention, a beautiful blend of engineering and art, I put Blondie Hasler right up on the pedestal with Rudolf Diesel as among the greatest men who ever lived :-)


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  #52  
Old 08-26-2013
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Re: Self steering dilemma

Good post -- very informative, thanks. Loved the 2nd pic!
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  #53  
Old 08-26-2013
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Re: Self steering dilemma

Quote:
Originally Posted by chall03 View Post
Yes in theory. In reality I am not havng much luck. I am open to recommendations if anyone does genuinely know of a cheaper suitable alternative.
Challenge accepted!

I've been eyeballing the MrVane options. Seems well made and in my personal correspondences with the owner/designer he sounds really down to earth. I was asking him if his setup would work for my boat (bigger than spec) and he had some really good answers. His first answer was "size doesn't matter all that much but everybody want's to know what size it fits." He figures it will work on my boat but he suggested I use my emergency tiller, and hand steer from a preset length of tiller as a test. Great idea and I got the idea he didn't want to sell me something that wouldn't work.

Cost is EU-1,750 shipped to Aus. If you buy one, I want to know ALL about it.

The hudrovane seems like a bad idea unless you're waterline is low because of cash. Your auto works, so you're looking for a backup right? Why get the most expensive vane when it only "might" be used.

Other questions:
-How does your boat steer with bungees on the tiller, or the wheel lock and the sail's balanced?
-How big is your battery bank, and if you lost charging, could you still use the AP for a while?
-Worst case, ie middle of the trip, how many days would you have to steer?

If I were you I would buy the windvane I mentioned. Inexpensive, you get to play with windvanes, and it will work in case of total electric failure. Also, you get to try it out for Medsailor!

Second option, I would get a second above decks AP. Only a total electric failure would be a problem then, and if you can set up your boat to self steer, and the passage is short, you'll be fine. I'd take a close look at the CPTauotpilots for a backup. They're reportedly burly, reliable, and use very little power.

Enjoy your trip. I'll be following in your wake in a few years!

MedSailor
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  #54  
Old 08-26-2013
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Re: Self steering dilemma

Quote:
Originally Posted by tdw View Post
I get the feeling he is confused between back up steering (emergency tiller) and back up rudder. Certainly I'm not aware of any regulation that requires a back up rudder as such.
...

Andrew B
From the TransPac rules:
-----------------------------------------------------------
Each competitor in the SSS TransPac race from San Francisco to Hanalei, Kauai (Hawaii) is required to meet this rule:

4.33 An alternative method of steering the yacht in any sea condition in the event of rudder failure. The Race
Committee may require that this method be demonstrated.

------------------------------------------------------------

Note, it says "method of steering" not rudder. Outbound, you might want to check your wording and see if it says "method of steering" in which case you might be able to use a drogue.

Also, here is a link to some of the home-made transpac rudder designs. Hope it sparks some ideas, or maybe you could just show these to a fabrication shop.

Transpac Rudder Designs

MedSailor
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  #55  
Old 08-26-2013
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Re: Self steering dilemma

Quote:
Originally Posted by MedSailor View Post
From the TransPac rules:
-----------------------------------------------------------
Each competitor in the SSS TransPac race from San Francisco to Hanalei, Kauai (Hawaii) is required to meet this rule:

4.33 An alternative method of steering the yacht in any sea condition in the event of rudder failure. The Race
Committee may require that this method be demonstrated.

------------------------------------------------------------

Note, it says "method of steering" not rudder. Outbound, you might want to check your wording and see if it says "method of steering" in which case you might be able to use a drogue.

Also, here is a link to some of the home-made transpac rudder designs. Hope it sparks some ideas, or maybe you could just show these to a fabrication shop.

transpac2008[/COLOR]/emergency_rudder_designs/emergency_rudder_designs.html"]Transpac Rudder Designs

MedSailor
Wow ..... I wonder is the rule is still current ? Interesting looking at the list of boats. Very cruiser oriented ... or was that just a division ?
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Re: Self steering dilemma

Med sailor you're the best. Found a sistership who had the same issue. Will pattern after their design. Great to hear from Jon as well. At end of day after reading this thread think I will go with AP and jury rig emergency rudder. Have hard dodger,hard Bimini with panels on top and two d400s. Even with walker bay deflated and lashed to foredeck there's no clean air to run vane. Yesterday took yarn on a pole and sailed putting stick in likely places for vane. Spun like a whirligig.
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  #57  
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Re: Self steering dilemma

Quote:
Originally Posted by outbound View Post
Med sailor you're the best...
Awww shucks! I know I am (because my mommy told me so) but it's nice to hear it all the same.

Another idea that might save you some time and coin, is to shop around used boat shops, boatyards with derelict boats, and boneyards. Pull a spade rudder of some other boat and rig a couple brackets and a long tiller like the transpac guys. Saves having the emergency rudder itself fabricated.

Always glad to help!

MedSailor
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  #58  
Old 08-27-2013
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Re: Self steering dilemma

Quote:
Originally Posted by MedSailor View Post
Challenge accepted!

I've been eyeballing the MrVane options. Seems well made and in my personal correspondences with the owner/designer he sounds really down to earth. I was asking him if his setup would work for my boat (bigger than spec) and he had some really good answers. His first answer was "size doesn't matter all that much but everybody want's to know what size it fits." He figures it will work on my boat but he suggested I use my emergency tiller, and hand steer from a preset length of tiller as a test. Great idea and I got the idea he didn't want to sell me something that wouldn't work.

Cost is EU-1,750 shipped to Aus. If you buy one, I want to know ALL about it.
MedSailor
Thanks Medsailor,
Had a bit of a look at the website, it does look interesting. It is however the Servo-Pendulum style vane, that on my wheel steered, centre cockpit boat is problematic. This is my issue, The Hydrovane while at a premium, seems to be a damn neat fit.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MedSailor View Post
The hudrovane seems like a bad idea unless you're waterline is low because of cash. Your auto works, so you're looking for a backup right? Why get the most expensive vane when it only "might" be used.

MedSailor
Yes and no. I do like the idea of a vane on passage. I would see it the other way around, vane as main, AP as backup.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MedSailor View Post
Other questions:
-How does your boat steer with bungees on the tiller, or the wheel lock and the sail's balanced?
Only tried once, umm no comment I think I need to practice more.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MedSailor View Post
-How big is your battery bank, and if you lost charging, could you still use the AP for a while?
-Worst case, ie middle of the trip, how many days would you have to steer?
300Ah at the moment in the House Bank, with 200W Solar only ATM.
Trip length 6-7 days so I guess, worst case handsteering for 4 days.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MedSailor View Post
Second option, I would get a second above decks AP. Only a total electric failure would be a problem then, and if you can set up your boat to self steer, and the passage is short, you'll be fine. I'd take a close look at the CPTauotpilots for a backup. They're reportedly burly, reliable, and use very little power.
Seriously thinking about this.

Thanks Medsailor!
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