Wind Vanes

Dear Steve, I have just finished your Offshore Cruising Encyclopedia. What a book!! It is now on my bookshelf next to Calder, Marchji and Brion Toss – sitting with the greats!! Just a quick question though. You make no mention of wind-vane steering. Have you never fitted this or do you rely totally on electronic autopilots? Thanks, Howard, Cape Town, South Africa

Hi Howard: Actually, we do cover the basics on pages 60-61 – with a lot more detail on autpilots as they are a lot more difficult to decide on. Re: vanes, on smaller boats, where not a lot of motoring is required, they make the most sense. We like the servo pendulum types ourselves – Aires, Monitor types. We used an Aries on our 50-footer – which was a pig to steer in strong winds – and it did very well (especially in a black Southwester in the Aghulas Current coming to Durban many years ago). On the other hand, if you are going to be doing a lot of motoring, a reliable pilot makes the best sense to us – because it works when powering and when sailing. But you need a powerful, well built unit (we like WH Pilots from Bainbridge, Washington, USA). Regards – Steve

Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)

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