“Shorthanded crews don’t steer offshore. Before we got our wind-vane, we had no self-steering on one passage after our electric pilot failed. That passage lasted three days - but it seemed like three weeks!” Beth Leonard, The Voyager’s Handbook. I can relate to Beth’s experience, Sandpiper is not fitted with self-steering and even on an 8 hr journey up the bay I found myself always looking for someone else to take the helm.
Bristol Rose is fitted with a Robertson AP 22 Autopilot which works great in the bay, but we don’t have any back up. “Many cruisers augment their steering with wind-vane self-steering. There is no question that the servo-pendulum type is the most effective-I would not consider any other type for offshore work” Nigel Calder’s Cruising Handbook . In addition the Autopilot is a drain on the 12 Volt power system that is of concern on an ocean passage under sail.
I can’t say I am overly excited about having a Wind Vane fitted to Bristol Rose. I love her classic lines and the wine-glass transom. All wind-vanes change the way she will look, but then again Bristol Rose is a cruising sailboat and designed for the addition of a wind-vane.
After some months of consideration I have ordered a Monitor Wind-Vane from Kopi from Scanmar International, Jay from Annapolis Rigging will fit the wind vane to Bristol Rose.
I selected Monitor for a number of reasons:
- The design is well proven, the first Monitor was made in 1975
- The Monitor design seems to be the least intrusive, I really liked the Cape Horn but fitting it to a Shannon 43 looks difficult.
- A number of Shannon 43’s have Monitor Wind-Vanes fitted, so I know it will work.
Having gotten over the shock of fitting a stainless steel contraption to Bristol Rose I am now looking forward to introducing myself to the Monitor Wind-Vane over the summer. Who knows I may even weaken, like so many other cruisers, and give the new crew member a name?