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Thread: Windvane Steering Necessary for Long Ocean Passages? Reply to Thread
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  Topic Review (Newest First)
01-30-2007 05:25 PM
rtbates If all your ports are down wind this will get you there

randy cape dory 25d seraph #161
12-22-2006 11:07 PM
camaraderie Vega...Jack Tyler of Woosh hasn't been on this board in over a month but often you can find him on the site if you need a response.
12-22-2006 06:01 PM
Originally Posted by WHOOSH
Stormer, I think the ''bible'' on sheet-tiller steering was written by John Letcher some years ago (Self-Steering for Sailing Craft, I belive) - no doubt out of print but available sooner or later with a search. I think it''s excellent and I used those techniques on all points of sail aboard our first boat, a Vega 27, in Pacific coastal sailing with great success. However, the Vega was the sweetest sailing offshore boat I''ve experienced and this technique probably works less well with less responsive boats. (snip)
I may be a little late to this thread but, since I have a Vega and I hate to hang a large plumber's nightmare off the transom, I'm interested in the details of how you rigged your self steering on the Vega.

12-19-2006 03:09 PM
Newport41 I agree. The simplest was would be to rig the vave with blocks to the tiller. We have found the combination of autopilot and windvane to be god sent. As for actuator size. I can't say mutch except bigger is better. As for windvane. I would go with whatever Monitor recommends. They're easy to deal with and very upfront. I would deffinitly recommend Monitor.
12-18-2006 12:15 AM
Originally Posted by Newport41
We have the largest below deck hydrolic autopilot we could find and we carry a spare drive unit and I still wouldn't rely on it offshore.
I'm looking at this scenario. I have a 41-foot full keel steel pilothouse cutter of 24,000 lbs. light load (no water, no cargo, full diesel tanks) with Marol hydraulic rotary actuator driving a ram that is attached to a transom hung rudder. This rudder also has a tiller head and a proper tiller. There are two steering stations, a wheel in the pilothouse and a small (30 inch) wheel in a "well" about 15 inches deep on the aft deck. The actuator is 19.3 cu. in. capacity and works well. I am leaning toward a ComNav Commander autopilot with a somewhat larger (25 cu. in) actuator. I want to pair this with a largely separate windvane and tiller arrangement for offshore. I figure to motor under autopilot, or sail coastal with autopilot, but to passagemake with windvane for reasons of power and wear. What size actuator would you recommend and what type of windvane would you favour?

What is the best method of hooking a windvane into a hydraulically driven autopilot? I would have thought the simplest method would be to avoid it completely and to just rig blocks and line on the tiller arm and watch for chafe...but I like to hear people's thoughts.
12-10-2006 03:18 PM
Newport41 Just to add on to hpeer. We also have an emergency rudder attachment for our Monitor. It works a lot better than some plywood on the spinnaker pole.
12-10-2006 03:15 PM
Newport41 YES!! It is. We have a 19000lbs 41 foot boat with a Monitor wind vane. It is among our most essential peices of equipment. I've spent enough time triming sails that I can sail a my boat reasonably well without using the rudder. It's true you can balance any real sail boat to hold a course but it requires constant attention and is generally slow. I dissagree with a post above saying that wind vanes work best at slow speeds. We use out electric autopilot below 3kts and the Monitor from 3 up. It works wonderfully at 9.5kts. Works well on all points of sail and it's steered the boat in 40+kts of air. I would not go offshore without it. We have the largest below deck hydrolic autopilot we could find and we carry a spare drive unit and I still wouldn't rely on it offshore. Not to mention the power consumption. Also, even with a crew of 6 or 7 steering gets tiring. Some will disagree but i find myself more alert in the long term when I'm not steering and I can focus on watching the sea, the sky, the horizon, and the boat. Helmsmen often make mistakes due to fatigue and tunnelvision
11-27-2006 10:24 AM
camaraderie Jones...I would say that the majority of boats with windvanes out there have wheel steering. What is it you are trying to determine?
11-26-2006 10:24 PM
hpeer My vane works with no attachment to the wheel or tiller.

I have a auxillary rudder/trim tab vane that was designed by John Belcher and self-built by the fellow I bought my boat from. It works great and is strong as an ox. It can be used as a emergency rudder.

It is heavy and makes backing difficult.
06-07-2006 11:34 AM
Eric! You might be interested in our trim-tab design guides. We've tried all different kinds of designs and tested them at sea.

We've used our trim-tab for about 7,000 miles and it's worked great with the autopilot. Hardly any power use, there's no load on the tiller pilot and it has built in feedback which keeps the boat on course without the autopilot having to fight the motion.

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