wind vane for smaller boats? - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 7 Old 07-30-2003 Thread Starter
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wind vane for smaller boats?

ok, so I just had my first DAY of sailing (read, 12+ hours) and have come to the conclusion that standing by the tiller all day is not fun, and is a bit draining.

So I''d like to rig some sort of self stearing.

I''ve heard of sheet to tiller stearing, where, by some assortment of lines, pullies, and bungie cords, the tiller is strapped to the boom, and this stears. This sounds rather complicated (although everywhere I hear about it they swear it''s not) So if someone could tell me how to do it SIMPLY (I''m an imbicile, remember this in your explination ) I''ll give it a shot.

Otherwise, is it practicle to rig a wind vane on a 20'' boat? Any brands I should look for, or look out for?

Other suggestions?


-- James
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post #2 of 7 Old 07-30-2003
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wind vane for smaller boats?


A wind vane is a very expensive proposition for a 19'' boat whose longest voyage will be to cross to the Channel Islands. We''re talking a couple of thousand bucks, used.

Lashing the tiller in place (shock cord does a better job than small cordage) is the simplest solution to get your hand off the tiller for a while, and I have used this quite effectively when sailing to windward in my Catalina 22. It''s going to work better on a close reach than any other point of sail. I used a rolling hitch around the head of the tiller stock, so that I could just grab it and give it a twist to adjust the tiller position, or grab it and pop it off the end of the tiller when I needed to take over in a hurry.

Since the tiller won''t be in your hand giving you all that wonderful, real-time feedback, it''s a great opportunity to practice sail trimming and learning how it effects the boat''s sail balance, speed, and course.

Rigging some sheet-to-tiller set-up will let you point over a wider range relative to the wind, and be more immediattely responsive to second-by-second changes in wind direction and boat direction. Oceans have been crossed using this method. I''ve never done it, but many people have with good results, and the materials are cheap. I found a site with pics at:


It looks easy to understand. There are many other sites which discuss this technique, and any combination of the search terms "sheet to tiller steering" will yield a whole hit list of information.

P.S. I found your story about your trip: thanks. That''s the problem with crew: they just don''t share your passion, and want to turn around and go home as soon as the sun goes down...
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post #3 of 7 Old 08-01-2003
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wind vane for smaller boats?

I have considered trying to market a small simple windvane for small boats but the more I look into it, the worse the idea looks. The cost of Tiller pilots and solar panels keeps coming down. The wind vane has some advantages and disadvantages compared to the tiller pilots but the cost difference is so great, the tiller pilot is the way to go on small boats.
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post #4 of 7 Old 08-12-2003
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wind vane for smaller boats?

There is a book called Singlehanded Sailing, I think it''s by a guy named Henderson. It''s a really good book, and has a whole chapter devoted to different sheet to tiller configurations. The simplest seems to be to run the jib sheet around it''s leward wench a couple of times, then once around the wench on the windward side, then tie it to the tiller. Then, tie a shock cord on the leward side of the tiller. The shock cord will try to pull the boat up into the wind, but the pull from the jib will keep the boat down.
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post #5 of 7 Old 08-12-2003
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wind vane for smaller boats?

A bit off the exact subject, but, I have a Monitor Windvane for a bigger boat for sale. It is off my Pearson 365.
If interested, email to [email protected]
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post #6 of 7 Old 08-30-2003
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wind vane for smaller boats?

Does anyone know where I can find a comparison of the different windvanes? I know the Monitor, but what about the others?
Mclion71 - where are you and how much do you want for your Monitor?
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post #7 of 7 Old 09-03-2003
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wind vane for smaller boats?

Check this site. They sell several brands and have some good information on different types.
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