Join Date: Aug 2002
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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...