Self-steering gear

On board Santana I have an electronic Tiller-Pilot.  It works well under the right conditions, but cannot hold a course off the wind or in strong winds.  Mine cannot hold a course relative to the wind as I no longer have a working wind readout and new wind systems are not compatible.  It is noisy and heavy on the battery, which I managed to flatten on my last passage.

Those who have wind vane self-steering seem to swear by them.  I was rafted along-side one such user recently who was very effusive and my research on the web has found many such appreciations.  I am seriously considering investing in a vane system. They are not cheap – from £1,500 upwards.  There is a bewildering choice of design and manufacturer.

Does anyone have experience of vane type self-steering, especially on MG30s?  Also most are transom mounted, which involves drilling through the transom in lease four places.  Given the clear stern, I would consider mounting it on the pushpit, but would want to take advice on that.

Any input would be appreciated.  Tony.

One thought on “Self-steering gear

  • July 5, 2007 at 11:01 am

    Hi Tony,
    I have always been very satisfied with my autohelm 800 (1990 or so?). I also have the (autohelm) windvane attachment, but it is only useful when going windward. It is limited to the size of the battery of course. Never hooked it up to a GPS, which should be possible. In strong winds I do have to reduce the mainsail, so the auto helm can manage.

    Wheras a real windvane will go on forever, but I do not aspire to be a Flying Dutchman.

    mvg Boudewijn

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