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Go Back   SailNet Community > General Interest > General Discussion (sailing related) > Sheet to Tiller or Windvane?
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Thread: Sheet to Tiller or Windvane? Reply to Thread
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Topic Review (Newest First)
06-26-2012 01:31 PM
JonEisberg
Re: Sheet to Tiller or Windvane?

Quote:
Originally Posted by peterchech View Post
NICE PIC!!! where is that at?
About 200 miles off New Jersey, approaching the Stream, enroute to Bermuda...

That was a fast trip, but I should have had weathercloths back then... (grin)

When the breeze and seas start to build, there is little comparison between the power and performance of my very capable Raymarine 6002 tillerpilot, and the Sailomat vane...

The latter is vastly superior in every respect in a breeze, definitely near the top of my list of money well spent...

I'm always perplexed by the relative lack of American cruising boats further afield not sporting a vane, I truly believe it's in large part due to the fact such a purely mechanical device cannot without needless complication be interfaced to a chartplotter, and made to steer to a waypoint... (grin)

06-26-2012 11:35 AM
peterchech
Re: Sheet to Tiller or Windvane?

Quote:
Originally Posted by JonEisberg View Post
Obviously, you've not had much experience with a quality vane... (grin)

Sorry, but I'm with Brent, and couldn't disagree more...

One is not a substitute for the other, and small boat really meant to go places needs both...

NICE PIC!!! where is that at?
06-26-2012 12:38 AM
JonEisberg
Re: Sheet to Tiller or Windvane?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Frogwatch View Post
Get an Autohelm 1000 and a solar panel. I use an autohelm 750 and solar panel and I use it a lot. I have crossed the Gulf of Mexico with it four times. A windvane, what a silly thing to own when it is useless for most things you need an autopilot for.
You will spend a lot of time with no wind at all and a tiller pilot will seem like a godsend when you are motoring for two days.
Windvanes look all "cruisery" but I cannot imagine a more useless expensive piece of equipment.
Obviously, you've not had much experience with a quality vane... (grin)

Sorry, but I'm with Brent, and couldn't disagree more...

One is not a substitute for the other, and small boat really meant to go places needs both...

06-25-2012 09:12 PM
Brent Swain
Re: Sheet to Tiller or Windvane?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Frogwatch View Post
Get an Autohelm 1000 and a solar panel. I use an autohelm 750 and solar panel and I use it a lot. I have crossed the Gulf of Mexico with it four times. A windvane, what a silly thing to own when it is useless for most things you need an autopilot for.
You will spend a lot of time with no wind at all and a tiller pilot will seem like a godsend when you are motoring for two days.
Windvanes look all "cruisery" but I cannot imagine a more useless expensive piece of equipment.
My windvane is one of the most useful pieces of equipment I have ever put aboard ,in 28 years of mostly full time cruising. Have an autopilot screw up in mid ocean and you are in for some hard times. Not much chance of getting it fixed out there. My wind vane never breaks down and draws zero electrical power. Nothing like an autopilot breakdown in mid ocean to make one appreciate the simplicity of a wind vane.
I'd never consider heading offshore with something as fragile as an electronic autopilot. Best have both, one for motoring and the other for sailing. My autohelm drives the trimtab on my rudder, reducing the load on it to mere friction, Autohelms work far better than Navik , on a steel boat
06-25-2012 06:45 PM
Cruiser2B
Re: Sheet to Tiller or Windvane?

I really appreciate everyones input. Looks like I am going to getting a Norvane windvane. I will also get a tiller pilot soon. I plan to single hand so that will be handy. I got a good deal on the Norvane unit(good thing too, its all i had), its practically new. I will post pics and let you know how it works out.

I am hoping to sail offshore from Norolk, VA to Cape Cod next year so this should give me some time to learn the setup and sail trim it likes.
06-18-2012 12:55 PM
Barquito
Re: Sheet to Tiller or Windvane?

I have not been off shore either, but, from a meta analysis in my own mind of the stuff I have read, a common setup for long passages is both vane steering and tiller pilot. Need tiller pilot for motoring (no worries about power), and changing sails. Nice to have vane steering to conserve power on a long passage. Going upwind in reasonable conditions, I can balance my Bristol 27 enough that I can let it sail itself indefinitely (Slocum-style). Probably wouldn't work well in big seas.
06-18-2012 11:00 AM
TQA
Re: Sheet to Tiller or Windvane?

Learn how to set up sheet to tiller. A couple of eyes some string and bungee and an afternoon or two of messing around should sort that out.

You also NEED a simple autopilot/tillerpilot for motoring and sail raising. They are not wonderfully reliable if used offshore on long passages IMHO.

A servo windvane like an Aries or a NAVIK if your boat is small will be a huge asset if you make long passages but again they need setting up and learning how to trim the sails to suit. Also most have problems down wind with big seas and full sail. You CAN build your own but access to a good workshop is essential and you may find wear to be a problem long term as you are not likely to include enough corrosion proof bushes. [At least I did not. ]
06-18-2012 10:31 AM
ccriders
Re: Sheet to Tiller or Windvane?

The problem you will have with sheet to tiller is that as you move about the boat, you change the trim of the sails and cause the boat to luff up, maybe even backwind the jib. If you want to keep a compass course regarless of what you or the wind does, then you need a tiller pilot. If you want to meander around with the wind, then a vane will work. Only the tiller pilot will let you get away from the tiller when motoring.
I would think that on an Alberg 30 a tiller pilot plus a sheet to tiller arrangement would cover the waterfront, so to speak. With the left over money you can put in a solar power system that will serve many uses. I used to sail a full keel attached rudder (plus centerboard) 22 foot sloop and found it very easy to balance so that it sailed itself with the tiller lashed in place. Only problem is that I was a significant percentage of the ballast and my movements upset that balance rather quickly.
Sometimes I wish I could afford it all and have a gold platted sailing yatch, but then I really like simple things that work well and will never have the money for gold.
John
Oh and one more thing, with a tiller pilot, go oversize just like your anchor. For a few dollars more you get a better, more robust pilot that has reserve power for when the wind gets up.
06-18-2012 08:41 AM
johnnyandjebus
Re: Sheet to Tiller or Windvane?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cruiser2B View Post
I have looked into a tiller pilot, but they seem very unreliable and also use the battery up. At this point, I do not intend to sail more than maybe 50-60 miles in a day but my plans are for extended cruising so I only want to spend my money once. I am intrigued by the sheet to tiller but realize that I will probably just buy a windvane. I have seen the sheet to tiller YouTube videos just looking here for more first hand knowledge about setup and reality!
For a detailed setup see;
A Pearson Ariel Page

I followed it to setup sheet to tiller on my contessa 26 and it works well if the wind is not gusty(day sailing on Lake Ontrario)
Could it be relied on for off shore cruising? I don't know as I have never been off shore. With that said it seems to me that it ought to be a requirement as a backup in case of equipment failure. I have found that the more I use it the better it works.
Regardless of weither you ever go off shore I suggest you try it out, it forces you to become better at balancing your rig. The above link suggests you build a wooden lever for off wind sailing, I tried it and didn't like it. Too awkward to setup. Instead I run the jib sheet back to the leeward winch, over to the windward winch and cleat it off. I then attached a line to the jib sheet between the two winches back to the tiller. Basically treating/connecting to the jib sheet the same way you connect to the mainsheet when going to windward, it worked well. Some thing to try when sailing off the wind.
Not sure about where you live but up here in Canada Lowes sells surgical tubing by the foot(at a god awful price) I purchased mine at a shoppers drug mart, a medical supply store.

John
06-18-2012 02:40 AM
Frogwatch
Re: Sheet to Tiller or Windvane?

Get an Autohelm 1000 and a solar panel. I use an autohelm 750 and solar panel and I use it a lot. I have crossed the Gulf of Mexico with it four times. A windvane, what a silly thing to own when it is useless for most things you need an autopilot for.
You will spend a lot of time with no wind at all and a tiller pilot will seem like a godsend when you are motoring for two days.
Windvanes look all "cruisery" but I cannot imagine a more useless expensive piece of equipment.
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