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  • 1 Post By MedSailor
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Old 08-26-2013
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Affordable wind vane? Anyone know anything about these?

For a while now I've been interested in having a windvane and autopilot. Problem is, both are really expensive. It gets really expensive if the auto is belowdecks and the windvane is mostly for backup. $6k for backup? Hmmm.... not in my budget.

I came across a fellow in The Netherlands that is making lightweight, affordable wind vanes. About $2K shipped to the USA (or anywhere else) for the bigger/stronger model. This got my attention.

Mister Vee wind vane self steering | Freedom with a Vee

He has 2 models of self steering vanes: the MrVee and the Y&B with the Y&B being the larger model.



The design looks simple, and removable, which is excellent for a backup. Even if used as your primary steering offshore, wouldn't it be nice to take it off when inshore? Those plumbing sculptures look like a liability when not in use and I hear they increase your turning radius unless you can pull up the steering oars.

Also I found the owner/designer a very reasonable guy when I emailed him. I asked him about use of his vane on a boat larger than designed. He gave a detailed and thought-out answer about steering ease and boat design as well as a simple test. He suggested I hook up my emergency tiller and try steering from a certain length. If it was easy, it would likely work. If difficult, this might not be the vane for me. I like that he was interested in my having the RIGHT product, and not just having his product.

Anyone know anything about this setup? I would love to know more. If it isn't "too good to be true" it could be a real boon for smaller boats, and those of us who don't want/need to spend $6K on stainless stern art.

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Last edited by MedSailor; 08-27-2013 at 02:26 AM.
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Old 08-26-2013
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Re: Affordable wind vane? Anyone know anything about these?

Let me subscribe to this thread for I find myself in the same situation.
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Old 08-27-2013
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Re: Affordable wind vane? Anyone know anything about these?

Don't know about the one you mentioned but I installed a Norvane. It is considerably cheaper than other brands and it works. NORVANE Self-Steering Wind Vane. Stainless steel, servo-pendulum. Powerful, sturdy and reliable for sailboats 20’ to 60’
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Old 08-27-2013
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Re: Affordable wind vane? Anyone know anything about these?

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Originally Posted by smurphny View Post
Don't know about the one you mentioned but I installed a Norvane. It is considerably cheaper than other brands and it works. NORVANE Self-Steering Wind Vane. Stainless steel, servo-pendulum. Powerful, sturdy and reliable for sailboats 20’ to 60’
Great find! Looks much more compact than the Monitor/Aires models.

Can you give us any more details? Was it easy to install? Easy to figure out? Does it always work? Any gripes or issues?

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Old 08-27-2013
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Re: Affordable wind vane? Anyone know anything about these?

Every few years it seems a "new, betta, cheaper, more wonderful" windvane steering device comes on the market. Sure all the designers are going to say it's the "best". Think you need to see it out on the market (sea) before buying. Nothings cheap out here. The Cape Horn windvane used to be all the rage...now we don't hear about it so often, wonder why? Maybe folks didn't like drilling a 4" hole in the stern. I'd give this new fangled piece of kit some time on the market before spending my peso's.
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Old 08-27-2013
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Re: Affordable wind vane? Anyone know anything about these?

Quote:
Originally Posted by MedSailor View Post
Great find! Looks much more compact than the Monitor/Aires models.

Can you give us any more details? Was it easy to install? Easy to figure out? Does it always work? Any gripes or issues?

MedSailor
I don't have anything to compare it with but it works quite well. It has taken the wheel for many hours. I've even used it while motorsailing. As a singlehander, having a windvane is not an option.
The only issue with any of these is that they become less effective downwind as the wind traveling over the surface of the vane gets closer to boat speed. When boat speed=apparent wind, there is essentially no wind to activate the unit if you know what I'm saying. Another thing that affects operation is weather helm. If I have too much sail up or if the rig is not balanced, the unit cannot overpower weather helm. If the wind is gusting and making the boat head up because of weather helm, the unit cannot compensate and will be overpowered.
The folks that make the Norvane seem to know what they are doing and have specs. for a lot of boats. They had made vane(s) for A35s before, so the parts all fit, making the installation straightforward. Installing takes some mechanical skill in doing stuff like this and routing lines will be different for every boat. It does take some practice to get used to them. It's not even remotely like using an electronic autohelm. But then again, it will never drain batteries.
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Old 08-27-2013
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Re: Affordable wind vane? Anyone know anything about these?

I realize that this is easy for me to say, considering we have a Fleming that has reliably steered thousands of ocean miles, but here goes anyway.

We have all read about the miserable passages where the steering device (fill in the blank) has failed, and the boat had to be hand steered for days or weeks around the clock. Even the best helmsperson would be hard pressed to steer a course as efficient as a good wind vane, in almost all conditions.

I'm not sure this is the item to skimp on, or experiment with, if one is planning long ocean passages. I understand the budget constraints, but it might be possible to salvage a used one somewhere. The good ones don't really wear out, so a used tried and true vane would be better in my book than an unknown new one at a cheap price. As conditions come up, the loads on the servo-pendulum are huge, and I don't think I'd chance the unknown one without some heavy weather testing.

It may be your most important piece of gear on a long voyage.

I know, easy for me to say.


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Old 08-27-2013
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Re: Affordable wind vane? Anyone know anything about these?

There is an Aries and a Monitor wind vane on ebay asking $3K and $2.8K respectively. Why not go with a proved success? Then get a tiller pilot or old Autohelm 3000 for flat water work.
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