Date: Tue, 30 Nov 1999 05:57am

I'm considering adding a wind vane steering system to my Seawind II (Voyager, hull 57, located in Baltimore). Have any of you done this? I'm concerned about interference with the mizzen boom... as well as cost, of course.

Date: Tue Nov 30, 1999 8:48 pm

We installed a Monitor wind vane about 4 years ago or more, time flies when your having fun!  It has saved our lives on one occasion when it was simply to dangerous to remain in the cockpit, we were pitching 30 degrees riding up over waves and heeling to 70 degrees for 14 hours in the Gulf of Mexico during a "bomb" as meteorologists called it.  Another vessel less than 30 miles west of us "maydayed" and were picked up by a large ship loosing their vessel to the sea.  So as you may imagine, we are sold on the Monitor, its all stainless, built for the sea, looks great and I would suggest that you look around for a used one, new they run around 3K,  I believe.  The installation is not difficult , can be done by yourself and the company that supports the unit will sell parts or even upgrade it as engineering developments occur.  Scanmar Marine in California, ask for Scott, or when we return from the West Indies, we'll be glad to assist you in every way.

Date: Wed Dec 1, 1999 3:17 pm

    I'm glad to have the recent e-mails about self-steering vanes.  I'm shoppng around for the right one, too.  Spirit is a cutter, so the mizzen isn't a problem, but she has Edson pedestal steering, mounted where the ketch's mizzen is stepped, rather than aft-mounted rack and pinon wheel steering.
    Now, my question is this.  I've heard that servo-pendulum self-steering is most effective in conjunction with a tiller and that these systems lose power badly when led through lines and blocks and clutches to a wheel--especially, to chain and cable wheel steering like I have.  Critics who take this line say I'd be better off with auxiliary rudder self-steering (like Hydrovane) than with servo-pendulums (like Monitor). Further, they say it's no good to rig the servo-pendulum to the emergency tiller since, unless you disconnect the cable steering system entirely, the self-steering unit still has to work against the friction of the wheel steering system.
    What luck have people had with servo-pundulum/wheel combinations, and what are folks' oppinions on this issue?  Whatever I do--servo- or auxilliary rudder--it's gong to be expensive, so I want to be careful. 
    Thanks for any feed back.

Date: Wed Dec 1, 1999 7:11 am

One of the first modifications we made to NIRVANA was to raise the mizzen boom so Tim could stand under it. When we installed our wind vane, we raised the boom another foot. Yes, you must recut the mizzen sail. However, until we could afford new sails we used the mizzen with one reef.

We had a MONITOR wind vane. We loved it. We used her in heavy winds and in light winds. It took a while to fine tune the installation and many hours of practice but it was worth it. We never could have crossed the Atlantic without it. Not only is the equipment good, the company has excellent after sale support. In 1994 when we were ready to leave Georgetown's harbor for Cuba we discovered that we were missing a part of the wind vane. It was the pin that locks the rudder down. MONITOR not only sent us a new pin at their expense but they took full blame for a possible quality control failure by one of their suppliers. This, in spite of the fact that we told them we had inspected the MONITOR the previous day and all was well; that we think someone took the pin.

And, having a wind vane lets you do things like this. On our return trip from Europe we were boarded by the US Coast Guard at 0200 as we approached USVI. I was on watch. We had heavy following seas and winds. We were using our 120 genoa and the wind vane. The Coast Guard personnel had difficulty boarding from their inflatable to our cockpit because of the wave heights. They had to time their step onto NIRVANA from the top of a wave. As soon as they came on board I made a big production of moving away from the wheel and never going back to it the entire time they were on board. Several of the personnel stayed in the cockpit because they told me they would get seasick in "the closed environment of such a small boat". One of them was "green" just being in the cockpit. There were many questions about the handling of a sailboat in the conditions we were in. I will confess to not being able to resist telling them the following winds were a "transportation enhancement". They were very nervous about the fact that no one was at the helm even after I explained about the wind vane. Tim and I felt it was "payback" for coming upon us at 0200 out of the dark and throwing a spotlight on us. Of course, we did not have the radio on until I woke Tim up (he had just gone off watch). So, they may have been trying to hail us but it did scare the s--t out of me and I enjoyed making them uncomfortable. 

I must add that the Coast Guard personnel were very courteous and professional in their manner. I don't know if I would have the nerve to step onto a strange boat in the middle of the night in the middle of the ocean.

We receive the digest version of this mailing list so I also have seen Don's letter. We second everything he says. Tim says to say, "It is worth every penny".  He also reminds me that we carried the spares kit and a spare wind vane. We had the MONITOR for many years (as Don says, time flies when you are having fun) we never had a problem; never used any of the spare parts.

Date: Tue Jun 27, 2000 11:09 am

I believe I also followed your earlier, enthusiastic report on the Monitor in an issue of the SW newsletter.  Spirit has a wheel steering pedestal where the ketch's mizzen mast is stepped.  The Edson steering is chain and cable and there's a fair amount of non-negotiable friction in the system, to which cockpit lines and a wheel clutch would add, and then there's that big rudder. . .  Knowledgeable folks have suggested I look for auxiliary rudder gear, rather than servo-pendulums, to by-pass the main steering system entirely and do away with cockpit control lines (Sailomat's super-duper is much to big).  I've looked at Hydrovanes ($$$!) and also one-offs from a respected local vane guy.  But maybe I should just forget this approach and go for a Monitor, as I started ou to do?  (I've used Aires on other boats and don't like them much, though there are a lot around, cheap.)  More feedback welcomed.

Date: Mon Feb 5, 2001 5:47 am

Windvane-autopilot: I have unshipped my Windhunter windvane-autopilot-entrained generator system (trying hard to recover the money, more on that one of these days), and fitting a Cape Horn windvane plus a small Autohelm 1000+ tied to the "oar" as a cheap back up to my Autohelm 4000+.

I should have results late this Spring, but I have tested the Cape Horn with a friend on his Swan 42 late fall and it works, besides being lighter and more elegant than Monitor-Aries or Windpilot (and I believe, cheaper), plus Yves Gelinas, the Quebec inventor, is a delight, and comes to install and test with you!

Date: Sat Mar 31, 2001 2:44 pm

Yves Gelinas tells me you are interested in a Cape Horn. As you may have read on the SWII website, I am installing one, the Jean-du-Sud style (a friend of mine has installed the next size up "Spray" on his Swan 42 last October with good test results before wintering, on my suggestion he investigate the Cape Horn family, and he was hooked).

If you know any details on the Windhunter people, I would appreciate them, including their bankruptcy judge coordinates if they finally went into bankruptcy. They have not acknowledged my renewed requests for reimbursement since almost a year, by email, fax or phone.

The installation went fine, and took a day and a half. Yves worked ceaselessly despite the cold, and I was his helper. He stayed at our home to limit expenses and exchange life philosophies with Barbara and me. He took the tower back to Montreal to shorten it some, as it was interfering with the mizzen, and shipped the modified tower 2 days later. He expects the new tower to arrive mid-next week.

Without the tower, the installation is barely noticeable, contrary to most windvanes that look like oil platforms cantilevering out of transoms. That was part of the appeal of Windhunter, but it is just too complicated, with the wrongest materials and design details!

My masts will not be up for another couple of weeks, as I change my main stays, and spend the 6-15Apr week in Paris with family from mother to grandchildren. I will not be able to test before late April at best, but I do not expect problems at this time, what with the Swan experience, and Yves' own experience around the world alone with an Alden sloop barely shorter and lighter than ours, in heavy weather as shown on his thrilling video-cassette which you should see too. In any case, I shall report as soon as practical on the actual tests.

Date: Mon Apr 2, 2001 4:07 pm

Autopilot, I remember meeting in nearby Oyster Bay a Seawind II owner very satisfied on his NY-Florida crossings by his Robertson hydraulic autopilot, the Cadillac of autopilots. The problem is cost and electrical consumption.

I would currently avoid any British product as the experience on this side of the Atlantic is negative on just about every mechanical-electrical product. My Windhunter was a catastrophy from all points and they are bankrupt or quasi-so. Most cruisers I met abroad had, or were to instal, the German Windpilot... or a Cape Horn for the fewer who knew about it, and like its aesthetics. Hence my decision to recommend to my friends that they look at both. I hope to soon narrow that to Cape Horn alone, once I have sufficient experience.

My Autohelm 4000+ was chewing belts and bearings before I disconnected the Windhunter hydarulic ram, it has been satisfactory on the Long island sound since, but not tested in heavy weather downwind with swells. I am installing a $400 Autopilot 1000+ on the Cape Horn steering oar, as back up, and you may consider this as your basic autopilot for a start.

The Autohelm 3000 with exterior belt and a much larger motor than 4000+ may no longer be offered. It has a good reputation and may be found second hand in several cruising meccas, eg, Horta, or on the net. However, I did not pursue because of the cluttering of the cockpit combined with our inclined wheel, and the lack of immediate availability. I went for 4000+ because it was available in Ponta Delgada, San Miguel AZ.

I am watching my Autohelm 4000+, and the fact that I am spending 400+$ for a back up gives the limits of my trust. The most common complaints I heard in cruisers' meccas deal with autopilots, refrigeration, and heads in that order. Redundancy is a must for autopilots, I and my one crew had enough of the slavery of the helm for some 8000 NMiles...

But since your start form scratch, and are interested in Cape Horn, consider it as a package with Autohelm 1000+, and you might be able to leave it at that for a long while. At least, Yves Gelinas thinks so... and he has credibility with me, so far.

Date: Mon Apr 2, 2001 8:39 pm

In 1999 I started with an Autohelm 4000. This steered from Baltimore to Bermuda and thence to Antigua very well, on all points of sail. We never hand steered. But by arrival in Antigua the belt was shot. Later, sailing through the islands, the plastic ring assembly came apart. I purchased another, new autohelm 4000 as a spare. On the return leg to Bermuda the first failed completely - again, the plastic ring that mounts on the wheel is a joke and the little wheels inside break off. The spare steered back here, but was hurting.

I sent both units back to Autohelm/Raytheon for repair and felt was treated quite fairly. In 2000, from here to Nassau and back, again both failed in the same manner but I managed to keep them going so did very little steering.

A friend stuck a Ctrek unit on his Bristol 40. $4000 for the unit. It consumes 6 amps on the same Baltimore to Nassau trip and back in 2000, compared with around an amp for the 4000.

So, this year I've added an old Sailomat wind vane, and am re-engineering one of the 4000 units. I put a 10" gear on the steering shaft under the access hatch, and built a gear and clutch assembly, not yet installed. The 4000 motor drives this, and the unit has the same gear ratio as the belt did on the original unit. The 4000 compass and electronics all control it.

My idea is that this is all under the hatch so is much drier, and the only failure points have been the belt (now gone) and the silly plastic ring around the helm (replaced by the gears). I'm leaving the spare 4000 (repaired) on the wheel as backup.

The unit isn't quite done... but I'll give all a full report in August after the test sail (Baltimore to Bermuda to Turks& Caicos and direct back).

It sure is a fun project, though!

The Sailomat is the older unit that does not connect to the boat's wheel; it has it's own external rudder. I like the redundancy of that. Test sails on the Chesapeake Bay have been successful, but that means little. Again - a full report in August.

Date: Mon Apr 2, 2001 8:23 pm

Very ingenious! Sketches or drawings or scanned pictures or a combination would be wonderful when you can find the time, besides the experience, but you are certainly on the right track.

I still think that the Cape Horn is worth consideration, with the advantage of the designer coming on board to install (I was the helper) and test, and the Autohelm 1000+ on the oar via the internal tube (protected, just above the quadrant) becomes more than sufficient as a no-belt, low amp autopilot.

Date: Fri Jun 22, 2001 6:18 pm

Cape Horn Windvane: I just cruised for 10 days to Newport for a wedding and back, and am most satisfied with the new Cape Horn "Jean du Sud", which worked without fine tuning in speeds above 2.5kts and apparent winds above 5 kts, quite a feat. It was impeccable in my max wind of 25 kts, and a friend has had great results in following winds of 35-40kts with commensurate seas on the way to Maryland.

4. Inside Flying Forestay: I noticed after a violent and drenching thunderstorm that my genoa suncover was showing a couple of tears,probably from age (I learned that dacron lasts only 3 years, especially with tropical exposure as I had, compared to much more resistant sunbrella). It was simple to set the inside forestay which is parked on a stanchion base by the starboard top stay, with the old hanked on working jib. To better balance the boat and help the windvane, I took a reef in the mizzen.

5. Kitchen Sink: I have replaced the dismal 12" deep sink that constantly filled with seawater and finally rotted, with a 6.5" sink of the same foot print (I only had to alter two of the stud holes in the counter top). Now I almost never have to close the valve, except on a tight starboard tack up wind. Lewis Group has such a sink on the catalog. Another advantage is a better slope of the drain hose, so no more rotten eggs smell. Cooks and dishwashers, and all crew indeed, will be happier.

6. Museum of Yachting in Fort Adams, Newport has a wonderful small harbor with 7' at the 4 floating docks which circle its with ample truning room. I was welcome there as a paying guest when I mentioned the "classic" character of my Seawind. I had time to visit the Museum which is charming, and has a whole loft devoted to solo sailors doing "first" across the Atlantic and the globe. It is very informative and aesthetic, but does not have anything on Alan Eddy taking the first plastic fiberglass (Seawind I) around the world. Is there a local SW owner who would like to pursue the matter? The reception desk said it could be of interest and the website is

Date: Wed Aug 15, 2001 10:54 am
Perhaps you'd also be interested in this year's wind vane experiences. My round trip from Baltimore to Bermuda to TCI and back covered 3000 ocean miles in June and July so was a good shake down. Some background: Voyager came with an Autohelm 4000. 3 yrs ago I sailed with this from Baltimore to Bermuda and then to Antigua. The 4000 barely made it. I had a girlfriend who visited bring in a new 4000. Now after about 8000 miles with two of these I think they are junk. First, the belt must be replaced often - about once a week at sea. $55 each at West Marine. But once you do that the unit is never the same. The engagement lever will flip itself to the unengaged position. I use shock cord to keep it engaged, but that's one more annoying thing to do whenever turning the A/P on. Second, the unit has about 6 wheels inside that keep the two halves together. These break off. Glue works for a while. I finally thru-bolted these on with #10 bolts, and the units work much, much better and more reliably. But.... two 4000s are good for one summer (3000 miles) of sailing. Then both need to be rebuilt. The electronics units and motors, so far, have been fine. Anyway, I looked at putting a Monitor on but wasn't too thrilled with running lines all over the cockpit. I found an old 601 Sailomat at Ocean Outfitters in Annapolis (a marine junk shop - a must-visit for people near Maryland) for $250. The unit's main shaft was seized and it had a number of other problems. This is the older design, not made anymore, that uses a servo-pendulum oar to control its own external rudder. There is no connection to the wheel, and if you lost your main rudder, can still steer with this. A 50 ton press at a machine shop freed the main shaft. Much other work was required to rebuild the thing. However, it's works perfectly. Better than imagined. With the 4000s I run the boat slow - never more than 6 knots as they can't handle things much faster. With the vane the faster the boat goes the happier she it. I came on deck one morning and found us doing 8 knots through the water. At first I was alarmed and started to reduce sail... but then realized she was happy as a clam, steering fine, no water on deck, nothing really out of control. I went back to bed. The vane does follow the wind, so requires attention out of the trades. 10 degree windshifts are too little for me to sense but the unit does, so the course will change. And it does not work when there's no wind and you're powering. So an autopilot is still essential. Still, I'm totally thrilled with the unit. It's hanging on the stern, like most are. It's a strong point, though, so the kids can use it for a handhold when climbing up the ladder.

Date: Wed Aug 15, 2001 12:20 pm
Subject: Re: [Allied_Seawind_II] Wind Vane and Autohelm 4000 report


Glad to see you're happy with the sail-omat!  I frequently inform friends
that the two best items I've ever purchased are the Monitor steering vane
and my radar.

The Monitor saved our lives one in a Gulf of Mexico storm that forced us
to retreat to the safety of the cabin for over 14 hours with water coming
over the decks in volumes.  A vessel west of us maydayed and was rescued
by a ship but gave up their vessel.  The Monitor steered the entire time
as the winds just screemed in the rigging.  The weather boys called it a
"bomb" which is a nice term for 24 hour Gale or Storm condition.

Our autopilot is a CPT which was purchased by the people who make the
Monitor.  We have two units aboard in case one fails but now after using
it for some 10 years have been happy with it in settled conditions.  If
the winds blowing over 8 knots the Monitor takes over and in strong winds
only the Monitor can really do the job, I'm of the opinion that
autopilots are not up to the job in the really rough stuff.  Would anyone
care to comment?

Date: Wed Aug 15, 2001 11:05 am

Windvane: Around offshore cruising circles last year, I heard that Windpilot and Monitor are the best values, but most regretted the mini-oil platform on their transom and the cabling running all over the aft space, plus the chafe. My own experience with Windhunter was catastrophic in economics and performance. They bankrupted before reimbursing me!

Cape Horn intrigued me, and an Englishman working on a classic boat of his own on the hard in St.Martin swore it is the only aesthetic windvane with strong performance. We all have a classic boat, so I contacted Yves Gelinas, owner-designer at I have now a windvane which works in apparent winds of 5kts and speeds of 2.5-3kts (for the steering oar to grip), and fits easily under my mizzen boom (raised by 14" at the mast foot, rather than raising the boom and reducing the sail area). Oar stows up easily. Yves Gelinas travels from Quebec to your boat to install, and overall economics are very favorable. Yves has a wonderful, prize-showered video on his trip around the world on an Alberg 30, similar to our own, during which he fine-tuned the design in the Roaring Forties.

Another advantage is that you can install a low cost, low-amp Autohelm 1000+ inside the lazarette attached to the Cape Horn actuator which will do the work of a 5000+ at 1/10th of the cost and the amps. As a main autopilot, or a back up of an existing autopilot (cruisers always groan about their autopilot's reliability and need for back up...), this is hard to beat.

Date: Wed Aug 15, 2001 11:34 am

Many cruisers offshore or not, will rely on their windvane whenever possible, and the autopilot only when under power or at night close to shore, before you unship your Hydrovane

Date: Sat Sep 22, 2001 9:34 am

I may have written earlier that I have a Hydro-Vane steerer that came with the boat. It is in truly great condition and had actually offered it up for sale a few months back but I admit that I have read much about the inherent simplicity of the Saye's Rig and may wish to investigate something a bit lighter and simpler to eliminate that dreaded weight aft problem. The new Raytheon ST 5000 sail pilot is expected to do most of the work except for the lengthy offshore legs I anticipate where electrical consumption may be best conserved.

Date: Fri Oct 12, 2001 4:05 pm
I am not quite at the stage of autopilots or wind vane installation, but I thought I would glean as much info. as I could ahead of time. Would be better to have a moderately powerful autopilot such as the ST4000 combined with a windvane to cover a variety of sheltered water and offshore uses, or to get a stronger (and more expensive) autopilot that uses a mechanical or hydraulic actuator under the deck?

Date: Fri Oct 12, 2001 8:35 pm

The wind powered steering systems are many and varied in design. Most are not specific for use with mizzens as the vane itself is very likely to interfere with the boom.

I had an opportunity to see the Cape Horn aboard Bert's boat and I must admit that it is impressive for several reasons. The first is it is very light weight. It takes up very little space. The vane size is incredibly small and the mechanism is very simple. If it has a short point, it drives the ship's rudder. In the case of rudder damage it may not be so simple to clear away as it is attached to the rudder stock. With the ASWII rudder arrangement I suspect rudder damage would be difficult to do.

Date: Tue Oct 30, 2001 6:36 pm

By all means consider the Cape Horn windvane, very effective for our size vessels as well as larger one (a different model). I installed it last Spring and have had wonderful experience in winds from 10 to 55kts (the recent SW gale in LI sound, sailed all night with it both down and up wind). There is only one hole in the transom, line are limited to interface between two quadrants (the boat and the vane's) inside the lazzarette, the aesthetics are great (no oilk platfrom hanging off the stern) and the weight minimal.

Date: Wed Oct 31, 2001 12:00 pm

Agree, and experience is great from 10 to 55kts so far, and water speed 3kts and above. Plus the addition of a simple tiller pilot (eg, Autohelm 1000) gives you a low power,very effective autopilot system.

As a fleet, we may obtain a special discount from Yves Geminas, who is also ready to come and install himself at a very reasonable labor rate, for one source responsibility!

Date: Wed Oct 31, 2001 7:23 am
The unit we have is made of 316L Stainless Steel and lightweight 52 lbs. (24 kgk.) The company that makes it is Scanmar Int. and located at 432 South 1st Street, Pt. Richmond, CA 94804 USA Tel: 510 215 2010 Fax: 510 215 5005 Toll free 1-888 WINDVANE I too was pleased to see them outperform some many different types and sizes such as the Caliber 38, Endeavor 38, Irwin 37, that however is not the first time I've seen that as we were able to remain with the Amel 42 during a strong tropical depression until they called and wanted to heave too, we suggested they fall off 10 degrees and keep going to out run the storm which we did. Waves washed completely through the Monitor windvane during this voyage with no affect what soever. One can purchase these at reduced prices at marine flea markets or by watching the Boat US classified. I purchased mine that way and have only had to replace a part or two that was sun damaged after some 15 years of service.

Dec 28, 2001 11:58am

I have not installed the Autohelm 1000 yet on my Cape Horn, and will do next spring. The Cape Horn has proven a great companion this summer in the sound and off to Block Island, actually changed my life aboard, with a rare need for the wheel-mounted Autohelm 4000+ bought in the Azores in Fall 99 and no longer using belts like shoe laces thanks to this lighter, rarer use.

But Dan Goodspeed of Rye NY who bought a Swan 42 and upgraded it for making the same trip as I (around the Bermuda High to Africa and back via Carib.), installed a Cape Horn along with the Autohelm 1000 on y suggestion, and has been testing the two this summer along the East Coast with great success he says, including in 40-50kts winds with 30-35ft seas.

Dec 28, 2001 0:54pm

I have used both an RVG vane and an Aries, which I use now. In a gale South of Bermuda, the Aries vane steered better than I was able to steer.

Dec 29, 2001 6:49pm

I have an Aries Vane. When I installed the vane, I positioned it so it fit under the mizzen boom. The mount is sturdy, so it can be used as a step to get to the end of the mizzen boom if necessary. I understand Aries vanes are now manufactured in Denmark.

Jan 3, 2002 9:55am

The Cape Horn was designed initially on Yves Gelinas' Alden 30, very comparable to our Seawind II, and tested and improved during his solo around the world in the Roaring 40s... It has two vane plates (I name mines Daisy for light winds, from its petal shape, and a shorty "Al" made of aluminum for heavier winds, easy to reproduce in spare), easily interchanged en route.

It is very simple to tune as you engage by simply pulling the slack in the ropework through grips, and works well at all speeds above 2-3kts and apparent winds above 5-8kts. I even tack or gybe by turning it by hand (plus backing the mizzen a bit) without having to disengage. A dream...

Jan 3, 2002 8:27am

As you surmise, windvanes are a powerful acquired taste. After the woeful and expensive ordeal of the (now bankrupt) Windhunter, I knew I wanted a working windvane of reasonable cost, and got the Autopilot back up along with it, all for a very reasonable cost. I have used the vane in moderate and heavy weather on the Sound from New York to Block Island, and I would not return to a windvaneless ship (the slavery of the helm for a year around the Atlantic is a bittersweet memory), even on coastal cruising.

Jan 3, 2002 9:55am

The Cape Horn was designed initially on Yves Gelinas' Alden 30, very comparable to our Seawind II, and tested and improved during his solo around the world in the Roaring 40s... It has two vane plates (I name mines Daisy for light winds, from its petal shape, and a shorty "Al" made of aluminum for heavier winds, easy to reproduce in spare), easily interchanged en route.

It is very simple to tune as you engage by simply pulling the slack in the ropework through grips, and works well at all speeds above 2-3kts and apparent winds above 5-8kts. I even tack or gybe by turning it by hand (plus backing the mizzen a bit) without having to disengage. A dream...

Jan 3, 2002 0:08pm

I'll second what Bert says about a wind vane, having installed one last year and sailed about 3000 offshore miles with it since then. A vane (mine is the really old Sail-O-Mat) requires some fiddling, sail balance, and a bit more attention than an autopilot. But what a wonderful thing! It steers quite well and reliably. I found that at 6 knots the Autohelm really can't control the boat. Well, on the way to Bermuda this summer (singlehanded) I came on deck in the middle of the night and saw Voyager was doing 8 knots, with the vane steering. At first I was concerned, but watched for a while and the vane steered beautifully. What a fun ride! I went back to bed.

Jan 15, 2002 6:33pm

I have seen and read much to do with the various autopilots and windvane's used and recommended by this group. My Seawind II came mounted with the Saye's Rig. Shortly after acquiring her, I put her on the hard to accomplish various projects and upgrades I removed most of the windvane hardware and never really got to play with the windvane. Besides, being land locked (for the time being) its rather difficult to have time to set the course, set the windvane before its time to tack again.

My question is, does anyone have any experience with the Saye's Rig? Is it a viable windvane for offshore purposes? The previous owner did'nt have much to offer on this subject.

Thanks for any info

Jan 15, 2002 7:12pm

Rich - there is a nice website on all sorts of vanes with testimonials - it's

I have sailed boats with this sort of pendulam control attached directly to the rudder. I prefer the Aries/Monitor type. Take a look at the testimonials and the website, it should operate as well as Monitors & Aries. I don't know about the Cape Horn type, but I am sure you will get a response from the Seawind people who own one. They swear by them. But then I swear by our Aries also.

Jan 15, 2002 7:50pm

I don't know about Sayes'Rig, and hope Sharon's website will help. You may even find a chat room on Sayes.

I don't know how much landlocked you are, but Champlain or any of the Great Lakes is not unlike our LI Sound. A windvane is very handy there, even if not as vital as offshore. (Yet I spent a year offshore around the Atlantic without a windvane and with a non-working autopilot most of the time, it's doable, although a pain: nevermore!)

The key is obviously to have a very quick set up. I Know only the Cape Horn (forget Windhunter!):

- untie the steering oar and drop it in the water (3 sec, a bit longer to hoist it and tie, say 10 sec)

- place the vane in its lodgin, fit and secure the butterfly bolt that locks it (6 sec, 4sec to undo)

- orient it into apparent wind, while keeping boat and helm stable on the intended course (4-10s)

- pull the line loop that links the vane to the rudder quadrant and lock into the double grip (2 sec).

It does not take more than 20 sec to be on your way, even if you may tune up later. It takes 1 sec to separate the system from the rudder, just reach and pull the double line off the grips. The rest is merely stowage and can wait until you come into the harbor, even once at anchor.

Tacking does not require disconnecting the quadrants' loop, I only turn the vane by hand into its new position (symmetric of the previous one), and push the mizzen into the wind to ease the coming up and past irons. It is almost as fast as directly with the helm, and no disconnect!

That is why I have now the Cape Horn active whenever there is 10kts apparent wind and 3kts of speed, and I have at least 10 or 15 minutes of straight course or clear tacking. It does change your life as solo (or as duo...), and eager crews can always disconnect if helm-happy. If you don't have yet an Autopilot, the Cape Horn can serve buy adding a simple Autohelm 1000 or equ.

Good luck with the Sayes. Once you get it to work, you may find ways to simplify/accelerate the connect/disconnect. Happy New Year! Bert de Frondeville, Pianissimo 80K

Jan 15, 2002 9:25pm

I've delivered three boats with Saye's Rigs.... As the wind vane immediately converts wind direction directly to the ship's rudder via the simple hardware, the size of the rudder is actually the measure of its efficiency.... I suspect on the SW II it is very likely a superb unit.

Jan 27, 2002 10:03am

Dear Gil and Judy:

Congratulations on so seriously considering a Cap Horn.

1. Yves G. charges normally his travelling expenses but, unlike US lawyers, he tries very hard to reduce them. He certainly did, both for a proposed installation in St.Martin FWI, and when he actually came down to Rye NY, by seeking best deals and combining trips. He stayed at our home to avoid hotel/living charges, and thus became a friend. His daily labor charge is one of the world's best value, given his effective tooling, long hours (plus early start) and ardor at work.

2. Installation: I would send him a picture (scanner?) or drawing of the obstructions around the quadrant. But he had some second thoughts about using my minitiller anyway, and the line arrangement is not that complicated between the two quadrants. It does not have to reach far towards the hull sides. I had to increase the length of the fuel filling/vent hose to arrange for the passage of the horizontal tube which carries the CapeHorn quadrant. So, peanuts, and Yves is good at adapting to local spaces, having installed many systems himself. This is a great advantage of his one-source approach.

Although I enjoy my higher boom for headroom, I understand why Yves does not make it a requirement.

3. Autohelm 1000: Any tiller autopilot incorporating its electronic compass will fit. I have not fitted mine yet, because it is not urgent since my 4000+ still works, but I will at some time. Yves checked for space and showed me how it could be done. Try to add the remote control option, I have not yet purchased that one, but I understand from my Swan42 friend that it helps if you can't access quickly and clearly the buttons. I believe I can, so far, so will give it a try.

Any questions? Can any other, besides Howard, add to the pot by ordering one? Yves would grant the discount if we were 5, I am sure he would agree to count mine as one, so you would need two companions!

Jan 28, 2002 7:38pm

Can I pleae ask some more details about the approximate cost involved on this Cap Horn system?... there is a possibility that I also could be interested. Since I too am located in Florida it would add to the benefits or discounts that you've been discussing. Any other details would be appreciated.

To be more precise I am located in Merrit Island, Fla. That's not too far from Cape Canaveral.

Jan 29, 2002 8:25am

The cost of the windvane is $2150.00 + $50.00 shipping. Five windvanes get a 15% discount. Bert said that it is retroactive.

Installation takes about two days. If you don't do it yourself, that's about $600.00 plus expenses. Travel time is $300 a day. Expenses are mitigated by Yves already being in the area or sharing amongst several installations. I'm going to do the installation myself. I'm fairly handy and money is tight. (Advice to all, don't start a family with three kids and two dogs after you retire.)

I'm sending my check today.

My decision to do it is based on a discussion at the Annapolis Boat Show with Yves prior to his knowing that I corresponded with Bert and Bert's endorsement. Do you hear that Bert. Good or bad, this is going to be all your fault. Actually, I don't have any reservations that all will be fine.

Feb 1, 2002 5:21am

There was an interest on my part in getting a Cape system installed on my vessel, however I need to put that on hold for now. I have just entered in a contract to buy a waterfront home with deepwater dock. It will be nice to sit in the porch and admire the beautiful lines of this love of mine berthed right in back.

So for now that is my priority. I hope eventually to check back with you.

Thanks sincerely,

Jan 29, 2002 9:34pm

I hear! and so does my friend Yves! He has to perform, and I know he wants to and can! Bert dF

P.S. He already has lowered the price, so you can try for a credit against shipping and installation costs...

March 04, 2002 4:23 PM

Gave the Cape Horn its first test yesterday, in pretty challenging conditions, as we sailed along the Florida coast from Government Cut (Miami) to Lake Worth Inlet (West Palm Beach). The wind was south at 20 - 25 and seas were huge. We were almost dead downwind under 120% genoa (brand new) and mizzen and must have gotten an assist from the Gulf Stream as we were making about 8.5 K over the bottom. Didn't think we were far enough out to be in the stream but we were moving. We fetched up a few miles off the inlet and made our jibe onto port tack a little late so wound up close hauled. Only then did we realize how strong the wind had been. Fortunately, we fetched the inlet without tacking. We are pleased and impressed as the Cape Horn handled all that down wind sailing with big seas at least as well as we could have done hand steering.

3868 Sep 19, 2003
Has anyone installed a Monitor Wind Vane on their Seawind II ?
Ed Hooligan 040K

3871 Sep 20, 2003
Yes, we have one on " Talisman " and I know of other SW's that have em as well! I am very satisfied with the unit and the company that makes them as well. The quality of the product seems excellent, and it literally saved our lives in "the bomb" which was the storm that created the description in the Gulf of Mexico. We remained below strapped in as the waves plowed over the top cabin structure all night, the vessel rolled to 70 degrees on two occasions, and pitched to 30 degrees up on two occasions, but the Monitor remained in control throughout. We were lucky indeed to have the unit aboard and we wrote the manufacturer thanking them for the fine product. Have a Great Day!

3872 Sep 20, 2003
Thanks for the info. I am very familiar with the Monitor vane. I've been using Monitors for over fifteen years and have had one on no less then three boats. It is an outstanding vane, that has seen me through some bad weather also. The problem I am having is, installing it on my boat. The picture I got from Scanmar shows the top brackets just above the rub rail and on my boat they will not fit there. How do you have your top brackets mounted? Is it posable to send me a picture of your vane? Ed Hooligan 040K

3874 Sep 21, 2003
Will be mounting the unit on Monday and will take some measurements and see if I can help out.
Have a Great Day!

3875 Sep 21, 2003
My brackets are mounted on top of the rail! At least two of them are. The other two are located just above the water line lower down on the stern. There is adequate room and its no problem. We remove our vane when its not in use, and store it in our garage. Its so simple to install, just takes about 30 minutes to complete. On Monday I'll be installing it for the Apalachicola voyage and hoping to meet other SWII's as well.
PS. I do remove the SS swim ladder when the vane is on, and replace the swim ladder when its not, getting the best of both worlds.
Have a Great Day!

3886 Sep 22, 2003
When you say your upper brackets are mounted on top of the rail, do you mean above the rub rail, on the horizontal edge of the coaming? That is where I thought I would mount my upper brackets but there is a problem, it is 15inches between the tubes. This means I would have to move my diesel fuel fill and stern light. Have you seen the drawing that Scanmar has for the installation of a Monitor on a SW II ? I talked to Scanmar about it and told them it was impossible to install the Monitor this way. They said they are working on it and will get back to me.
Ed 040K

3893 Sep 24, 2003
My brackets are located on the vertical section just above the aluminum rail, not on the upper flat section and they do not interfere with the fuel fill, or the stern light or anything else. They face aft, are almost in a vertical position but angled just a bit because of the shape of the stern. It took us about 20 minutes to mount the entire unit the other day. Looking forward to using it again.
Have a Great Day!

3910 Sep 28, 2003
I was hoping to keep my swim ladder, perhaps off to starboard on stern, when I mount the wind vane that I plan to order this winter. Any ideas on that?
Grey SWII104K

3912 Sep 28, 2003
I have no swim ladder but a removable one at the portside entry port, that must be removed before getting underway. As I sail often solo, I need another arrangement, so I either hang a rolled up rope ladder with a line attached to pull it down, or a simple loop long enough to put my foot on it as I climb, also hanging ready to be pulled down below the waterline.
After reading many horror stories, and because the rope ladders or rope loop are hard to climb for many crew or passengers, I am looking like Greg for something less temproary and yet unobtrusive and compatible with my axial Cape Gorn vane, admittedly less of a spacehog than most windvanes.
I am toying with the idea of a couple of permanent stainless steps (eg, wide horizontal U handlebars) bolted on the transom on one or the other side of the vane, actually on port where I already added an extra stanchion to reinforce the pushpit (from the time when I dragged a windhunter entrained hydraulic turbine and 8 Amp generator). I would then add either a flapping 2 rung ladder to the lower rung, or a rope ladder, depending which one is most user friendly when trying to start the pulling up of my old body (or of my heftiest friend/crew or my weakest lady crew). As you see, I am still thinking and measuring, but it's on my winter list.
Be well, Bert dF Pianissimo 80K

3913 Sep 29, 2003
We only use the monitor vane when traveling longer distances so we remove it and store it when not traveling. This keeps the unit in excellent condition rather than deteriorating sitting at the wharf. When the vane is not on the swim ladder is and vice versa. This works for us.The removal and installation of the ladder requires about 30 minutes with two people.
Have a Great Day!