Re: Wind Vane Autopilot

smiles bernard

Hi there

Some  thoughts on this based on my experience/preference
We crossed the N Atlantic E to W recently in our mid 80s Maramu without a windvane
It was my first longish offshore trip without vane steering & really brought home to me how much i value having one 
as soon as we got the the Carib we ordered and installed a Hydrovane 
I've been on different boats with different vane gears but i like the hydrovane best of all due to the fact that it provides a separate steering system 
That sits well with me - i like a level of redundancy on important systems on a boat , if at all possible
Especially wrt steering  as I sail with a young family and hand steering for days on end would be very tough on the crew ;)

SM have that redundancy built in i think from the start with their 2 * electrical autopilot setup. Brilliant, and if i hadn't gone for the hydrovane I would have carried a complete spare setup for the electronic pilot 
but the cost of that was similar to the hydrovane so i chose a wind vane  : no power, silent, tireless, low tech

I was a little concerned about how well the hydrovane would perform on such a big boat. My previous experience was on a 38ft long keeled thing
It worked like a charm though. When things went wrong wrt the course it prompted me to think about what I was doing wrong with the sail trim
Normally that was the issue for me and i found the prompts helpful!

We have a installation just off centre so as to not mess with out rear step access and we have the extended head tube to take the vane above our solar arch and into cleaner air
We also struggled with weed on the rudder too at times - seems to be more and more of it -  but i used a boat hook - one pass down leading edge of the rudder cleared of any weed that was caught and i could do that from inside the guard rails pretty easily. The SN has a different rear so might be more precarious proceedure ?
Ive never removed or installed the rudder at sea and i can imagine thats would be tricky
We added a massive backing pad in the transom and used the biggest washers we could find 

All down to personal preference of course

All the best

On 19 Sep 2020, at 18:02, Dennis Johns <sbmesasailor@...> wrote:

Hi Bernd,

If you don't have a solar arch that sticks out over your stern, you should look at the Hydrovane option. They have brackets that work well on the many different stern configurations and their product can be offset from the centerline:

Dennis Johns
Maramu 121

On Sat, Sep 19, 2020 at 7:48 AM Bernd Spanner <bernd.spanner@...> wrote:


I am looking for opinions and recommendations to make my SN independent of electricity in case of eg a lightning strike frying my electronics in the middle of the NAT or PAC.
Navigation is clear, revert to basics. But how about wind vane Auto Pilot.
yout thoughts, experiences and recommendations please.

SN 119 / Cascais, Portugal

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