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  #1  
Old 08-19-2010
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Installing a Windvane OFF CENTER.

Anyone had experience installing a windvane off center, to allow passage through the stern? I have a windvane with a paddle that moves athwartship and two lines to connect to the tiller, not sure what make it is. Any ideas?
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Old 08-19-2010
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My vane is on-center, and I don't have experience with one that is off-center. Based on my experience with vanes over the last 30 years though, I would look carefully at whether the vane would be "shadowed" by the hull when it's on the down side. That is, if the vane is mounted to port of center, and you're on starboard tack, the whole bulk of the hull might tend to block the wind from the vane, leading to erratic steering. We've had that happen even with our on-center vane what with weather cloths around the cockpit, outboard motors on the rail, etc.

Have you looked at Scanmar's Swing-Gate? It appears to have been invented exactly for this problem. See http://selfsteer.com/ and scroll about halfway down the page.
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Old 08-19-2010
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Another real issue is whether the vane's paddle will be submersed deeply enough on both tacks. One reason for wanting the wind vane on centerline is to ensure that the vane's paddle is submersed enough to work properly on either tack. If it is offset to one side, it will be less powerful, since it will have less area submersed, on one tack that the other which might make it less reliable on one tack.

Most boats with a transom wide enough to have a walkthru design are large enough to require a pendulum servo type vane to have enough power to steer the boat.
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Old 08-19-2010
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A few vanes are designed to work off center, but most aren't. Post a pic of your vane and someone will tell you what it is.
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Old 08-25-2010
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I have always heard to never mount off center - it's logical to me. Your problems would start at the worst time; when the paddle exits the water...
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Old 08-25-2010
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The Cape Horn self steering system can be mounted off center as long as it is kept parallel to the keel, even by enough to clear an outboard rudder.
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Old 08-25-2010
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Sailomat also can be mounted off centre.
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Old 08-25-2010
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Hydrovane can be mounted well off-centre. Ours is about 40 cm offset to starboard. Follow this link to Hydrovane's info on off-centre installations.
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