Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Thunder Bay, Ontario
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Yup ... hard to make it out sitting on the ground like that. Does look like a home-built version.
As to the how-to-use question, we sail with an Aries on our boat, and I've used a Monitor (and we're headed for NFLD in two years). There is a bit of a learning curve, but it's not that hard once you have it properly mounted and rigged to your tiller or wheel. BTW I assume this is a servo-pendulum version ... that's what it looks like to me.
The basic operation of a windvane is first get the boat on course, then trim and balance the sails as well as possible. Once you're happy, rotate the vane part of the windvane into the neutral position. In effect, you want to put the vane in irons, or perhaps just slightly off. Then lock the wv control lines onto the helm and fine-tune with the vane's control lines.
... It's actually a lot easier than my description makes it sound.
You do have to watch when steering with a windvane, especially here on the Great Lakes where wind is constantly variable. You're steering to the wind, so if the wind changes direction, so does your course.
Hope it works out. I love our Aries. We have an electric auto as well, but I'd much rather use the wv. It's like a living extension of our boat. Always amazing to watch it work.
Why go fast, when you can go slow.