Frequently Asked Questions - General self steering

Hi,

I have a Marples 26 foot constant camber trimaran that to which I would like to fit wind vane steering gear, however, I note the comment in the guarantee information that the wind vane steering gear is not guaranteed for use with multihulls. I would be grateful if you could explain why as the Mr Vee Standard Y&B looks otherwise perfect for my boat.

All the best,

Simon

Windvane self steering can not cope with constant acceleration followed by slowing down. This means that it may not be possible to steer an ultra light displacement boat or multi hull.
A windvane self steering system uses the apparent wind direction to keep on course.
When the boat accelerates, the direction changes. The system will correct accordingly which will in the end make the boat slow down.
The course will again be corrected and the cycle starts again.

Hoi,

Is de mister vane ook geschikt om met een oude mini een COCO de oceaan over te steken. Laten we zeggen max speed 10 knopen.

Can a Mister Vee windvane self steering system steer a mini transat?

Ultra light displacement boats like Mini Transats generally are too fast to be steered by a windvane self steering system.

The boats apparent wind is cause by the boats speed as well as the true wind direction, and that makes course keeping unreliable, often resulting is big variations in course and continuous speed changes.

I stumbled on your site during a search for an affordable windvane and found your site. Will this system produce enough power to steer my Pearson 40 (modified balanced rudder) for extended periods in heavy weather.I was wondering if the SS gears would be more appropriate as well. Thank You. Bruce

The power a windvane self steering system can deliver is directly related to the size of the pendulum blade, and the height above the water. The higher the mounting, the longer the pendulum rudder, the higher the force the system can generate.

But the the actual force depends on how light the boats steering actually is. An un-balanced barn door rudder will require more force to steer the boat than a fully balanced spade rudder. The lightness of the transmission in the rudder system is also a factor.

Unless there is a high reduction or high friction in the transmission, in most boats Y&B with the standard length rudder (1450 mm) should work well.

Do you have the attachments to fit this unit to a 9meter cable/wheel steering catalac catamaran?

Catamarans can be notoriously hard to get satisfying results from windvane self steering.
This is why we do not offer support for catamarans.

Ik vaar met een victoire 34, met een stuurwiel. Twee jaar geleden heb ik een tweedehands navik op de kop kunnen tikken. Door omstandigheden heb ik er nog niet mee kunnen varen.

Nu ik me wat beter in windvanen heb verdiept begin ik te twijfelen of de navik wel een goed systeem is op mijn schip en overweeg toch wat anders te kiezen Komend jaar vertrekken we voor een rondje atlantic... dus ik kan de navik niet uitgebreid testen voordat ik vertrek.

Is er ooit een Navik / Y&B op een victoire 34/1044 geplaatst en was dit succesvol? Zo nee, enige indicaties of dit succesvol kan zijn of niet?

Groeten,

Mark

Navik self steering systems have generally been used for for smaller boats with tiller steering.
But as long as the wheel steering is purely mechanical, the forces that need to be generated are more or less similar to tiller steering, except for the power to accelerate the steering wheel, if very quick and rather big movements are needed.

So in general, a Navik should be able to steer a boat with a steering wheel.

But if there should arise a need for the boat to be steered with bigger forces, like in a sudden gust of wind, with no time to adjust the trim of the sails, the system will try to provide that bigger force, and the way the paddle is designed may prove too weak.

Mr Fleming of Scotland told me you can supply a steering hub to suit the Fleming self-steering wind vane.

My boat is 30ft long. What size hub and associated gear do you recommend I buy and how much please, including post to Australia?

Thanks and best wishes.

The wheel adaptor available from Mister Vee has a diameter of 16 cm (about 6.5"), which is more or less a standard dimension for most brands.

Pricing can be found and orders can be placed in the webshop, under "accessories"
Shipping to Australia by post is eu 35.--

Self steering systems are designed to be used when the boat is going forward. But what happens when you (need to) reverse the boat?

With a servo pendulum, the blade will be unstable when reversing the boat and it will want to swing to the side.
If it can do so freely then there is no problem. It will float to the surface and will not affect the boats manoeuvring.

But it is very different when the pendulum rudder can not float to the surface freely.
The swing can be limited by design, like with monitor, Aries and Beaufort self steering systems, or by set-up, for instance the steering lines do not allow a full swing.

If the swing is limited by design, there will be a pull to the side that needs to be compensated the opposite way.

If the swing is limited by the steering lines, VERY BIG LOADS may act upon parts of the steering line guidance which can cause damage or dislocation to the mounting. Proceed backwards with caution. Contact Mister Vee for advice.

Generally, No, unless there is a bypass valve and an emergency tiller option.

The servo pendulum systems that are on offer from Mister Vee can not overcome the internal friction of a hydraulic transmission of steering input. Only auxiliary rudder type systems, which Mister Vee do not offer, will do in this situation.

A boat with a centre cockpit requires longer steering lines and more guide blocks than a boat with a normal cockpit.

This can easier lead to more stretch and less responsive steering. Combining that with wheel steering kan make things even more complicated.
On a wheel steered boat there often is a reduction between the wheel and the rudder. If that reduction is done with hydraulics, Mister Vee do not offer self steering for your boat. The hydraulics have too much internal friction for a standard servo pendulum system to overcome.

If your boat has a connection for an emergency tiller that can be used for windvane steering, that is by far the easiest option. The systems from Mister Vee require a tiller of about 35 cm (just over 1') and if it would make things easier, it can even point to the rear of the boat. If there is no E-tiller, then a wheel adapter is required. This is connected to the centre of the steering wheel and the steering lines are connected to the adapter.

The manual for using your Vee (and servo pendulum systems in general) can be found in the Mister Vee brochure in the download section.

The assembly manuals are available as PDF files. Access to these files is enabled when your system is shipped.
You need to be logged in to access them. They can be reached from a menu further down the website.

On a wheel steered boat there often is a reduction between the wheel and the rudder.

If your boat has a connection for an emergency tiller that can be used for windvane steering, that is by far the easiest option. The systems from Mister Vee require a tiller of about 35 cm (just over 1') and if it would make things easier, it can even point to the rear of the boat.

If that reduction is done with hydraulics, Mister Vee do not offer self steering for your boat unless there is a bypass valve to switch off the hydraulics.
The hydraulics have too much internal friction for a standard servo pendulum system to overcome.

If there is no E-tiller, then a wheel adapter is required. This is connected to the centre of the steering wheel and the steering lines are connected to the adapter.

A lot of boats have equipment mounted on the transom, close to where the self steering unit needs to be.
Experience has shown that it is easier to remove this equipment, then mount the windvane self steering and then remount the other equipment.
But if you have some equipment that is really difficult to move somewhere else, please send us an email so we can have a look at the options.

Windvane self steering can not cope with constant acceleration followed by slowing down.

When the boat accelerates to a significantly higher speed, the direction of the apparent wind changes. The windvane will steer the boat away from the wind, changing the total balance of boat and windvane.
The boat can then easily lose power from the sails and the system starts to steer back in to the wind.
This means that it may not be possible to steer an ultra light displacement boat or multi hull.

Especially on fast accelerating boats this will lead to unsatisfying steering. This is why we will not guarantee satisfaction when you install a windvane self steering system to a multi hull or a boat that has the ability to plane.
Use headless Vee, a Y&B self steering system without the mast and windvane, plus a simple tiller pilot for this purpose.

If you have a (very) small boat you may wonder if it can be useful to set up a windvane self steering system.
Usually that will depend on two things: The kind of sailing you do how windvane self steering compares to the alternatives.
If you never go sailing for more than two hours then for most it would be pointless. But if you always get too tired when you sail longer that 2 hours but you actually would like to go futher, then windvane self steering may be the ticket to Vreedom.

Small boats are often very lively which means that when you leave the tiller the boat immediately goes somewhere you do not want it to go. That often means that you can not feed yourself or get enough to drink.
Also, sitting at the helm, in the same position, for hours on end makes you tired. Self steering can change all that, which opens up possibilities to go where you could not go before.

But is windvane self steering the most practical?

Most sailors turn to an autopilot first. And on short trips that is often a good choice. But you do need enough power from the boats battery to be able to keep the auto pilot going. And that is often where smaller boats have a problem, especially on longer trips. If the wind picks up, an autopilot consumes more power. And on a small boat that can amount to something like 70% of the daily power consumption! Draining the battery can break it. With windvane self steering you do not worry about power consumption.

The light weight Mister Vee self steering systems offer the best alternative to an autopilot, especially on a smaller boat!

You may be wondering if windvane self steering will work on your boat. What weight will work, or what length?

Well, neither weight nor length are used as a general guideline.
Servo pendulum self steering systems were designed to take over the steering from a human helmsman. That means that the forces and movement that need to be generated by the system are comparable.
That leads to a two-part answer. If your boat has tiller steering, and the boat can be properly trimmed so that you do not have to fight the tiller to keep the boat on course, than a servo pendulum system like the ones on offer from Mister Vee should have no problem to do the same.
On a wheel steered boat there often is a reduction between the wheel and the rudder. If that reduction is too high it may be difficult or even impossible to set up self steering. However, if there is an option of connecting the self steering system to an emergency rudder, things get easier.
There is a separate FAQ about wheel steering.

Generally not. Usually once the course is set there is no need to change the settings unless there is a change in the balance of the forces at work. The most important change you will have to make is for a lasting change of windspeed or wind direction.