Over Hill Sailing Club
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Adirondacks NY
Thanked 105 Times in 102 Posts
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I can vouch for the Norvane. Bought one new and installed a couple of years ago. It works well as long as the helm is balanced. The principles of how it operates are pretty straightforward but there is obviously a LOT of engineering involved to make something like this actually work reliably and not fall apart in short order. The tuning of them is pretty fine and they take a lot of constant stress when working. There are a many things I'd attempt to build from scratch...this isn't one of them. By the time you bought all the s.s., pillow blocks, bushings, etc. there probably would not be much in the way of savings. To me this is too essential a piece of gear to experiment with. Good luck building one. Please do some follow up posts to let us know how it works out.
The operation is determined by wind on the vane. Vane is adjusted to be balanced upright in the apparent wind with helm on a course. When vane is pushed over because boat gets at an angle to wind, off the course, the vane turns the rack and pinion type gear which turns the rudder at an angle to the current. The rudder shaft with a pivot point at deck level pivots back and forth moving the control lines attached at the top of this rudder arm. So the force of the water on the rudder is what moves the lines which are attached to the wheel (drum) or tiller.
Alberg 35: With a philosophical flourish Cato throws himself upon his sword; I quietly take to the ship.
Last edited by smurphny; 01-06-2012 at 06:38 PM.