Hebridean Wind Vane

One of the things I need is some kind of self steering, so I don’t have to sit at the wheel for hours on end. There are two main types – an electric autopilot that connects to your chartplotter and can steer compass courses, and a wind vane, which is basically a big paddle that sticks in the air and connects to your rudder, keeping you at the same angle to the wind. (Picture from http://www.selfsteer.com)

ABC_SelfSteeringTypes

Both have pros and cons, and I really want both. An electric autopilot is expensive, and until I upgrade my solar/battery I can’t handle one, so my first purchase will be a wind vane.

Only problem is, all the commercial models are around 4 to 5 thousand dollars. Ouch. And the crew of the Nancy Blackett won’t sell me theirs, no matter how much I ply them with beer!

Looking around, I found something called a Hebridean windvane, website is here

He sells the plans and some metals parts for it for 330 pounds (around 600 CAD) and additional material is probably another 400 bucks – putting it at a 5th of the cost of a commerical system. Other advantages include easily replaceable parts, it’s very easy to unmount and store, and it has RAVE reviews from everyone who has tried one.

I have to build it myself, but that’s a great winter project I feel, and will give me more experience working with metal and woodworking, which is one area I feel I lack experience.

Unless something else comes up, I’ll plunk down the cash for it before the end of the year and by the spring should (hopefully) have a nice working windvane!

 

Matt

3 Comments

  1. I know this is a bit late to be replying, but perhaps someone might find this useful. The Norvane windvane (servo-pendulum) is an all stainless steel construction, and 100% US made vane. It sells for about $2,200. USD. They have a website whose address escapes me now, or can be reached by phone at (760) 929-9884. Very good vanes. My understanding is that the vane works best on boats 35′ and under. At least one boat I know (Pearson Triton, sistership to mine) of has made two transatlantic voyages with no problems.

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