View Full Version : plans for wind vane

mike kelly
08-11-2001, 12:28 PM
i was looking for some plans or drawings for a wind vane on an external rudder.I know there are some books written on the subject, but cant remember the names. anybody know? thanks

08-11-2001, 12:46 PM
What kind of boat....l.w.l., displacement? and is rudder outboard?

mike kelly
08-11-2001, 01:42 PM
Its a H-28 weighs aboat 12500lbs and water is around 24ft

David Ray
08-11-2001, 02:03 PM
There's a great site for a windvane system designed by Larry Pardey. In my opinion the least obtrusive and most simplistic and elegant design I've seen. The site is: www.freehandsteering.com (http://www.freehandsteering.com) Enjoy!

P.S. They sell the system(its pricey) and the plans...

Bob Cleek
08-11-2001, 04:20 PM
There was a book written by John Letcher (I think) called "Self-steering for Sailing Vessels" or something like that... back in the '70s when the technology was coming of age. It has an extensive treatment of all the various systems. When you come right down to it, though, they are all poor compromises. The Monitor windvane system is reputed to be one of the best wind/relative systems. The Tillermaster takes the prizes for the best compass/relative electric driven unit. Custom made rudder attached trim-tab systems are very critical as to their design matching the boat itself. Great fun to tinker with, though. Still and all, self-steering systems are really only worth their expense and trouble if one is going to do long distance ocean crusing, and even then, they require watching. Certainly, a self-steering machine would be a questionable investment for the Sunday sailor or even the coastal navigator. Not all they are cracked up to be, IMHO, but better than nothing. Letcher's book has all the formulae and so on for calculating what size trim tab and vane is needed to swing a matched rudder, together with techniques and gizmos that dampen oscillation and so on. Check it out.

Mike Keers
08-11-2001, 05:53 PM
There is a book by Bill Belcher called "Wind-vane Self-steering, how to plan and make your own". It used to be available from International Marine.

It explains the basics of how they work and designing them, and gives plans for several models of varying complexity, From simple windvanes to work a tiller directly, thru auxiliary rudder units, trim tabs, and two servo pendulum units. All are hand built with simple hand or power tools from wood and common hardware.

I built his servo-pendulum gear (like a Monitor/Aries)for my Columbia 29, and it carried me all over Mexico and on to Hawaii single-handed last year. Cost me exactly zero $$ to build, with hardware and materials on hand.

While I was anchored in Hilo, a solo Westerly 30 came in, with the same gear. He was as pleased with his as I was with mine. I saw a third boat, a 36-footer in Mexico that had come down form Oregon with the same gear.

[This message has been edited by Mike Keers (edited 08-11-2001).]

Mike Field
08-11-2001, 08:58 PM
To add a little to Bob's comment, the book he mentions is Self-Steering for Sailing Craft, by John S Letcher, Jr. It was published in 1974 by International Marine, and the ISBN is 0-87742-042-4.

I think Bob's comments about them are pretty valid -- only much use if you're making long open-sea passages. But the attractive thing about them I think is that, once set up, they're free.

For coastal work, in exactly the same period, the 12volt TillerMate was being extolled in PBO as being the bees' knees. (Or was that the ants' pants?) But I must say that I myself have no direct experience of either type.

mike kelly
08-12-2001, 09:09 AM
thanks for the all the info and ideas.I would like to incoperate a vane into the new rudder(old one needs replacing)It would be nice to think i"ll get off at some time.

Ian McColgin
08-13-2001, 08:48 AM
For the H-28 you might think about a trim tab on the trailing edge of the rudder and vane to that. The pressure required is small and the engineering relativly simple.

If you go the servo-pendulum approach, buy something really good, like the Monitor, rather than build your own.


Mike Vogdes
08-13-2001, 09:37 AM
There's a very good resource online that shows lots of detail on self steering. Self Steering Designs by Walt Murray, it can be found at www.mindspring.com/~waltmur/SelfSteering/ (http://www.mindspring.com/~waltmur/SelfSteering/)
I hope this can be of help to you.

Norm Harris
08-13-2001, 04:40 PM
Lechter's book also has a good discussion on sheet controlled self steering. Using the main sheet for sailing on the wind, and a headsail sheet when sailing off, combined with a counter force control line made of rubber or shock cord, an inexpensive self steering system can be set up for either coastal or long-distance cruising.

Obviously, this is only a wind-relative mechanism and needs some attention. Still a good system when you have the room, have little other traffic and want to kick back and read a good book while under way.

Lechter's book is out of print, and finding a used copy that someone is willing to part with is difficult


Mike Field
08-13-2001, 07:47 PM
But Bookfinder is currently listing about a dozen copies, ranging in price from $15 to $122.