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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
    Location
    Oslo, Norway
    Posts
    165

    Default Decent wind vane for classic 35ft sailboat



    A decent wind vane for the open oceans... I have no experience, and here in Norway they are sparse. I know the different ways they function, and for a reason I seem to think the Hydrovane could be just the right one for me. But they are expensive! -And I cannot find many of the for sale used in good condition.

    My boat is a slim 35ft classic 70's style from Finland. Only 8,5ft wide. Has a fairly long fin keel (lead), and the rudder has a skeg. Steering is by tiller. It's VERY course stable, exept going with the waves of course.

    What should I look for? What should I make up an opinion on before deciding?

    Weight is an issue. So is the fact that I have installed a nice little platform back there, and I would really like to keep it (hence Hydrovane...). But I could get rid of it if I had to.

    My boat (Artekno H35):


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2017
    Location
    Norfolk
    Posts
    1,389

    Default Re: Decent wind vane for classic 35ft sailboat

    The choice of windvanes is very nationalistic: The British tend to favour Hydrovanes, the Germans Windpilots, the Americans favour Monitor, etc.

    Very few people have extensive experience of different types of windvane on the same boat, so there are few really valid comparative experiences. And then, apart from innate 'nationalistic' preferences, there are other 'deciding factors' which are often 'clinchers' when making the decision, such as weight, lack of lines to cockpit, availability secondhand, price, off centre mounting, perceived usefulness of an immediately available emergency rudder, etc, rather than a simple choice based on steering performance alone.

    I've had extensive experience of three (Navik, Monitor, Hydrovane) on different size boats and the Monitor and Hydrovane on the same sort of boat which we used to build. All worked OK with the Navik being the 'best' in terms of the steadiest course in all conditions on a Contessa 32 type boat. It was a superb and with a few spares on board, it steered reliably every inch of the way. (Sadly no longer made).

    Now my choice would be the Monitor - it's tough, reliably and steers well. The emergency rudder that fits it, is also a handy bit of kit.

    But the Monitor is a significant addition to the transom, and although the Hydrovane is nowhere near as powerful (it's not a servo-pendulum rig), it works well enough as a trimtab to the main locked rudder, and it's lack of lines to the cockpit, it's ability to be mounted off-centre, etc make it a good choice for those who are probably supplementing a reasonable electronic autopilot.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
    Location
    Oslo, Norway
    Posts
    165

    Default Re: Decent wind vane for classic 35ft sailboat

    Contessa 32 is not so far from the construction of my H35. A little wider and shorter.

    So the Hydrovane doesn't pack as much "power" compared to a servo-pendulum, of course. Will I need more power? If so, in what kind of conditions?? I suspect going downwind is always a challenge with less wind over the boat to keep the vane straight.

    The Hydrovane shure has a weight/price ratio that kills all other competitors. Less weight for your money - I really fail to see why it should cost so much more. There's a used one one the market here, demanding around 2000 Pounds for a 20+ year old vane(!).

    The Monitor is most likely not available around here. I can get a brand new and complete Windpilot Pacific Light delivered from Germany for a fair price though. Less than for the used Hydrovane. Go figure...


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2017
    Location
    Norfolk
    Posts
    1,389

    Default Re: Decent wind vane for classic 35ft sailboat

    From that photo, it would seem that the boat reaches under spinnaker with a quite neutral helm. That's a good sign if you're trying to self steer!

    The Windpilots are servo pendulum and as such they not only powerful, but also have a course damping effect when sailing down wind in waves which is good. As the stern begins to swing around, the servo paddle is moved so the helm applies a corrective force long before the vane detects a change in apparent wind direction. Just like an experienced helm. It makes a huge difference to downwind sailing.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
    Location
    Oslo, Norway
    Posts
    165

    Default Re: Decent wind vane for classic 35ft sailboat

    Quote Originally Posted by Motor_Sailor View Post
    From that photo, it would seem that the boat reaches under spinnaker with a quite neutral helm. That's a good sign if you're trying to self steer!

    The Windpilots are servo pendulum and as such they not only powerful, but also have a course damping effect when sailing down wind in waves which is good. As the stern begins to swing around, the servo paddle is moved so the helm applies a corrective force long before the vane detects a change in apparent wind direction. Just like an experienced helm. It makes a huge difference to downwind sailing.
    Here you are teaching me something! :-)
    I never thought of the servo paddle actually sensing the movement of the boat and then correcting the course with the main rudder - as indeed like an experienced helm! That feeling when you just sit there and contra-steer on "a feeling" before the boat actually swings around. This downwind and with the rolling waves...

    Upwind my boat cuts through the waves like a knife. And even on a sharp reach I must have missed big time on how much sail I put up before the tiller gets heavy.

    As you can see:....
    https://www.instagram.com/p/BSa8yfXj3Jx/

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Bricks & mortar: Italy. Boat: Aegean
    Posts
    10,443

    Default Re: Decent wind vane for classic 35ft sailboat

    Quote Originally Posted by H35 View Post
    I can get a brand new and complete Windpilot Pacific Light delivered from Germany for a fair price though. Less than for the used Hydrovane. Go figure...
    The Pacific Light may be a little...er, light, for a 35-footer, but it will certainly help that you have a very directionally stable boat. Suggest you e-mail Peter Forthman at Windpilot to ask his opinion. He's a mine of info and happy to advise.

    I did an Atlantic circuit, mostly solo, on a 32-footer with a Windpilot Pacific: great bit of kit. And light airs not a problem: if there's enough wind to sail, there's enough to steer. Watching them work is mesmerising...so clever and subtle. And the power in the servo system is astonishing, handy in the Trades when a big one belts you on the stern quarter.

    Presumably your cockpit is quite small. If you go for a servo-pendulum system, you might consider making a tiller bridle, which liberates a heap of space and puts the windvane lines away from your working area. (The tiller pilot also mounted from bridle to pushpit (or from pushpit to windvane if guiding the Windpilot directly), also freeing-up space.) Image attached: WTFII_03 lo-res.jpg
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by macd; 27-04-17 at 09:03.
    All epigrams are false

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
    Location
    Oslo, Norway
    Posts
    165

    Default Re: Decent wind vane for classic 35ft sailboat

    Quote Originally Posted by macd View Post
    The Pacific Light may be a little...er, light, for a 35-footer, but it will certainly help that you have a very directionally stable boat. Suggest you e-mail Peter Forthman at Windpilot to ask his opinion. He's a mine of info and happy to advise.

    I did an Atlantic circuit, mostly solo, on a 32-footer with a Windpilot Pacific: great bit of kit. And light airs not a problem: if there's enough wind to sail, there's enough to steer. Watching them work is mesmerising...so clever and subtle.

    Presumably your cockpit is quite small. If you go for a servo-pendulum system, you might consider making a tiller bridle, which liberates a heap of space and puts the windvane lines away from your working area. Image attached: WTFII_03 lo-res.jpg

    I have emailed a little with Peter. He says he knows my boat quite well(?). And he recommends the Pacific Light for it. Although a 35 footer indeed, it's only 3,5 tons empty weight, and as I've said VERY course stable. The only boat I can manage to go down under and put the kettle on, just letting the boat steer itself - in many conditions.
    Last edited by H35; 27-04-17 at 09:05.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Bricks & mortar: Italy. Boat: Aegean
    Posts
    10,443

    Default Re: Decent wind vane for classic 35ft sailboat

    Well, Peter would know. I presume you've downloaded his excellent book from the Windpilot web site?
    The full-size Pacific is, of course, rated up to 60-footers.
    All epigrams are false

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    Solent
    Posts
    3,162

    Default Re: Decent wind vane for classic 35ft sailboat

    I have just installed a seafeather on my little Cheverton Caravel. Have only had it a few months and the longest trip so far is 150nm. However, it seems to do the job very well. Construction is solid. Service from Lee and Gemma excellent and at only £2k all in it seems and affordable option.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    South Wales and Bristol Channel, UK
    Posts
    2,508

    Default Re: Decent wind vane for classic 35ft sailboat

    There are a number of windvanes in production performing very well; the biggest advantage and convenience of the Hydrovane is not the performance but the ability to be installed off the centre line, to the left or right of the transom, and therefore not blocking stern access. Naturally, performance, no lines connected to steering and acting as an emergency rudder are also important. The cost is a killer for many. Surprised that no one has made a near copy of the Hydrovane, perhaps, the Chinese are thinking about it.

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