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windvanes/self steering

Posted: 22 Oct 2017, 13:44
by postboy
Does anyone have experience/advice on windvanes or self steering systems for single handing? I have an electric tiller pilot, but at around F4 to 5 it can't really cope. I'm thinking 'Hydrovane' at the moment...any experience and advice would be welcome.

Re: windvanes/self steering

Posted: 11 Sep 2018, 15:09
by Mitch
I haven't any direct experience on the Nicholson, but I'm actively looking for a wind vane at the moment. I've used a Monitor on a Bristol Pilot Cutter with a huge boom and gaff main and I've also used a Wind Pilot Pacific on a slightly higher performance UFO 34. They were both exceptionally efficient when they were properly set up and the boat was balanced, but the trick was (and still is) to get the sails balanced almost perfectly before you engage the wind vane. You need an almost 'neutral' helm, with little in the way of weather helm - it can help if you practice achieving this with your electric auto helm at the moment.
You also need to be more prepared to reef your sails to balance the helm, even a good wind vane can't work effectively when the boat is overpowered.

If anyone has a spare wind vane that is looking for a good home - please let me know.


Re: windvanes/self steering

Posted: 11 Sep 2018, 18:51
by postboy
Ok thanks

Re: windvanes/self steering

Posted: 20 Nov 2018, 18:41
by tramontane
I installed a Monitor windvane years ago and I'm very happy with it, even works in light winds and under spinnacre up to Bft 4-5

Boom to Tiller self steering

Posted: 24 Feb 2019, 16:45
by ran
Has any one tried self steering using the mainsail or Genoa to rig a self steering line to the tiller? If interested there are various methods described in YouTube. Just enter "Boom to Tiller self steering" in the search window.

Re: windvanes/self steering

Posted: 28 Jun 2019, 22:02
by 101Ragamuffin
Hi All, I am new here and new to sailing but I ended with Ragamuffin (101) as my first boat. I was told a beginner should not have a Nic31 :-) She came with an Aries fitted. David the previous owner used it extensively and was happy with it. I just had one go at it while David was on board but planning to start to test it seriously in a month time. If anybody wants to come along to see it working, more than welcome. I will post my experience but that might be skewed by me being a beginner. We are on the Solent.

Re: windvanes/self steering

Posted: 30 Jul 2019, 23:14
by Mitch
You’ve an excellent yacht and a super wind vane, I’ve just fitted an Aries and hardly touch the helm when under sail.
Don’t forget to really get the sails trimmed and balanced - many people have sails in too tight for the vane to work properly. To balance the headsail and mainsail you will probably have to reef earlier than you might think. You will also have to re-trim the sails when you change course. All you need to do then is keep an eye open for course changes due to wind shifts.
There is a good Facebook group for the Aries, with access to a lot of information.