Just how important is a wind gauge? - SailNet Community

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Go Back   SailNet Community > General Interest > General Discussion (sailing related)
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  #1  
Old 06-19-2008
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Just how important is a wind gauge?

How important is this little thing to you? This is the picture. You are just starting a trip to Key West from Ft. Myers, Fl. on a 38' catamaran. You notice that it isn't working. Would you take your life in your hands and go or stay in port until it's repaired? This is assuming that you actually can sail and you have only a week for the trip. The weather is normal for this time of year. I would like to hear your reactions to know if this is a go or no go instrument.
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Old 06-19-2008
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A Wind Gauge is a gadget..

Gadgets don't sail boats, people do.

They most often don't have them on small sail boats, and some folks don't even have them on larger ones. Those boats sail fine without them. If your looking for a wind directional indicator, tie a piece of yarn on some of the stays.

I hardly ever look at my wind speed gizmo when I sail.

DrB
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Old 06-19-2008
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Day sailing around the bay with its shifty winds - very important. Once out of the bay - not so much. If you have a Windex on your masthead (although its a neck breaker) and a hand held wind meter you are all set. If I didn't have a Windex I'd buy one and put it up on the bow pulpit (if I couldn't get to the masthead) just to have something to keep referring to.
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Old 06-19-2008
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A steady wind has never caused me any problems....It is the microbursts or squall line that has...the wind gage will not be giving you an accurate reading once your knocked flat on the water and clinging to the side of your hull for dear life...

Learn to read the weather and the characteristics of your boat not a gauge..


PS: Never buy or venture out to sea, a boat with a max wind speed warning lable affixed to its hull...

Last edited by Stillraining; 06-19-2008 at 12:30 PM.
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Old 06-19-2008
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I don't have one, or want one (masthead that is). I set sails based off of current conditions. If the boat (mono) is heeling past about 20 or so degrees, reduce sail. If it heels more, take more sail in.

I have a windex, but that just gives wind direction (more important than speed). I do have a little handheld wind unit that I pull out for a few seconds when the wind is piping up good, just for a rough reference though.

Yeah, I would "take my life in my hands". If you let that stop you from getting out, sell the boat. Like that candy bar commercial says "not going anywhere for awhile?"
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Old 06-19-2008
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Are you talking about an anemometer (wind speed) or a wind direction indicator? I do like my masthead windex but it's not a vital piece of gear for me. I have, can and would sail without one just fine. Like was mentioned before a piece of yarn on a stay will tell you wind direction.

Also, if you mean anemometer, that also is not a vital piece of gear. You can tell when it's time to reef by how the boat is handling.

Just my two cents.
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Old 06-19-2008
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My wind speed crapped out about a year ago and I haven't really missed it since. I will eventually fix it but am in no hurry to do so.
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Old 06-19-2008
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I wouldn't even give it a second thought. Go sailing, repair the wind gauge when you finish your trip. You are not "taking your life in your hands" by sailing without one -- far from it.

We don't even have one on our boat. Someday it might be nice, but as far as upgrades, it's a pretty low priority.

We do have a masthead Windex, but again, its absence would not delay a departure.
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Old 06-19-2008
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The wind gauge is great for filling out your weather log. But what you are reading is the apparent wind. Now you need to convert that to true wind.
But if you are tie up at the pier then your wind gauge will read true wind.
You can use it to determine when to reef... but the pucker power of your backside would have already determined that it is time to reef.

Pucker power is the tightness of your anus to where you can't drive a needle up it or when you become very anal retentive. Now that is pucker power. And it will tell you when to reef before the wind gauge does.
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Old 06-19-2008
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Yep, I know all about butt lip marks in seat cushions and no, the anemometer isn't necessary. Oh Joy doesn't have one either.
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