Two of my cruising friends were dismasted while making a crossing from the mainland to the Bahamas. They are now installing a new rig and would like to know what wind instruments are current in favor and there pros and cons.
Following is their note to me:
“We are undergoing our re-rigging after dismasting. Come to find out
that the B&G wind instrument atop the mast is virtually unavailable.
For $1000, it can be obtained. Rather than throw money at
unsupported hardware, we are looking at changing the whole nav inst
package. Other than B&G what are you using? Do you like it? What
problems have you had?”
Any help or suggestions is appreciated.
We used RayMarine wind instruments for years with much success. On our friends boat his are going on 12 years now and still giving us good readings. We learned the hard lesson of trusting the instruments crossing Monterey Bay when the wind speed read 40kts at the mast head, we only felt 12kts at the deck level, sailed another 30 minutes when the wind altitude dropped to deck level, yes we had our hands full; we turned to weather flogging the dog, made 3 miles to weather before we could get the sails reefed, lession learned.
Thanks Marty, I passed the information on to Jim and Bentley.
Two of my cruising friends were dismasted while
making a crossing from the mainland to the
Bahamas. They are now installing a new rig and
would like to know what wind instruments are
current in favor and there pros and cons.
Itchen has a Windex windvane and that’s all. Advantages are that it’s cheap, totally reliable and adds minimal weight. Disadvantage is that one has to look up once in a while and twist my increasingly cranky neck to see what’s going on at the masthead, rather than at the yarn telltales on the shrouds and jib luff and main leach. At night one needs a red-lensed flashlight to check the fly and telltales but usually that just confirms what can already be intuited once she’s “in the groove”. We had B&G instruments on a Victoria 34 I helped race years ago and they worked just fine until the displays fogged up and proved punitively expensive to replace. Of course, on a racing boat everything is punitively expensive to replace!
When racing, instruments certainly gave a slight edge in early warning of shifts but for cruising on Itchen I have felt no need to upgrade the Windex with electronics. As for wind speed readout I decided it really didn’t have much practical utility, other than to add accuracy to log notations or to enhance bragging rights at the bar after a heavy air race. I now tend to stick with approximate Beaufort numbers or even more immediately useful, how many reefs are tucked in!
If I were buying electronic indicators today I would look at one of the new wireless/Bluetooth systems – don’t know how well the work in practice but getting rid of all that wiring would be VERY nice.
My masthead priority this month is to replace the Aquasignal 40 tricolor/anchor light with an LED masthead array to cut down on battery drain. Anyone have a favorite? Radio interference is said to be a potential problem
Now that Scott has finally opened the “low-tech” approach, I can’t resist weighing in. WhitewingsIII has a ball of white yarn (stolen from my dear wife) in one of the lockers. I tie one length to each of the mid-stays about head height and replace them as they wear…about once every two years. For cruising, that is as precise as I feel I need to be, they survive a blow quite well, and are unbelievably cheap.
Regards wind instrumentation, we have a 15 degree rule....if we are heeling much more than 15 degrees, we need to shorten sail. Final wind measure is, if you are standing on the cockpit side looking straight ahead at only water, it is blowing really hard!
Sailed a friend's boat with a mast-head windex last summer and it was two days before I could move my head freely again.
For what it's worth............Tom
IDUNA’s is even lower tech. We sail without masthead wind instrument or index nor do we tie “stolen” yarn to our rigging. That’s probably the reason Itchen always takes IDUNA to the k-Itchen when she sights us.