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  #31  
Old 01-07-2012
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How is the Norvane downwind in stronger winds? At what apparent wind does it improve going downwind?
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  #32  
Old 01-07-2012
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The Norvane works well in strong winds as long as the helm is balanced and the wind is not too gusty. It is best when well offshore, away from changing wind conditions. In a steady wind, it is a real pleasure to be able to get away from the wheel. The thing will steer for hours on end. The effects of shore on wind direction and intensity happen too quickly for the vane to deal with. It needs to be adjusted if the wind direction changes to maintain the same course. It cannot correct enough to overpower gust-caused windward helm. It will try its best but just cannot turn the wheel enough to deal with this. I have arranged the wheel lines so that they can be immediately released when this happens. It is not as efficient as a good autopilot which will correct immediately but requires no power drain.

With a following sea, I would estimate that it is really not very useful below 5 knots but I have not done that much serious experimentation with it to see if I can improve its performance in those conditions. Also, a following sea causes the boat to slew around a bit coming down the backsides of waves and this complicates its mission. The apparent wind is often close to 0 when going downwind below 10 knots so there is really not much wind for the vane to detect. Once the wind gets to blowing faster than the boat can go, it is more effective.
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  #33  
Old 01-07-2012
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I am considering a Norvane for my tiller steered CS27. It seems a good fit as it looks well designed and engineered. Also its weight is much less than a Monitor which I think is a better choice for a smaller boat like mine. The price is a bit less as well.
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  #34  
Old 01-08-2012
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Price was surely a factor in choosing the Norvane. It was considerably cheaper than some of the others but had good reviews from folks who had one. The casting work is solid stainless and there are no major weaknesses or corrosion points that I can see. I did have to build a longer main tube mount but that was no big deal. Norvane had all the specs for my boat so there was no guesswork. Everything fit well. These ARE heavy and put quite a lot of additional weight in a bad place, cantilevered out over the stern as they are. Keeping the bow down/mast raked forward a bit is desirable in these full keel/large overhang hulls so an equal weight needs to be distributed forward to trim the ship.

The reason for the longer main tube mount was that the counterweight wound up hitting the rail with the standard mount they sent. I could have raised the whole thing or extended the main mount which is the way I went. This something to think about when planning the mounting and cutting the tubes to length.
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  #35  
Old 01-08-2012
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I think most windvanes require a custom mount on many boats. My boat is a fin keel design with an outboard rudder so I have to plan around that. I don't expect to have to rake the mast forward. While it is weight in really the wrong place it is necessary and the Norvane weighs a lot less than many vanes.
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