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S&S Swan General - Wind vane steering
06 February 2012 - 18:44
Join Date: 01 February 2007
Posts: 57

Wind vane steering

Has anyone tried fitting a Hydrovane or Pacific/Pacific Plus (made by Windpilot)to a S+S Swan ? Whatare the pros and cons based on practical experience ?

Many thanks

Richard Forrest

07 February 2012 - 12:26
Join Date: 31 January 2007
Posts: 46

Hi Richard,

I have not tried any of those you mention, but have fitted my 38 with a wind vane from Sailomat. It is made from aluminum, hence quite light weight, and it has a small footprint. It can be mounted off-center, and I am therefore able to keep the stern swim ladder. So far it has worked well. I sailed last summer to Greenland with a differnt type vane (the name slips my mind), and I think I prefer the Sailomat. Hope this might be helpful.

Rgds, Terje.

07 February 2012 - 15:42
Join Date: 15 April 2011
Posts: 393

HI Richard,


I am not familiar with those windvanes, and it's been a while since I used one, but I do have experience with the Monitor windvane on my Shanno 50 and, more important to you, a S&S designed Tartan 41 built in 1973.  I used this windvane almost exclusively in open ocean sailing as well as when cruising throught he Bahamas.  It's big and really detracts from the look of the boat, but it's strong and works well.



07 February 2012 - 20:51
Join Date: 01 February 2007
Posts: 234

Hi Richard, I fitted a Hydrovane with no problems. We made the wooden blocks to keep the hydrovane rudder the distance recommended from the main rudder. We also made the internal hull washers ourselves to make them as large as we could given the space. Make sure the wind vane can move freely 360 degrees around any ariel poles etc. 

08 February 2012 - 08:43
Join Date: 03 March 2007
Posts: 241

Hi Richard,
I am having the same internal debate. I have seen pictures of a windpilot pacific on another 40 and it looked like a nice setup. I am considering a Windpilot Pacific Plus or an Aries. The plus is a great unit, I have a number of friends who have used them. I am talking with the Aries builder next week. I have not decided yet.

Just got the new Kycera 135 solar panels. I am mounting them on the new bimini. I am hoping 390 watts of solar panels will handle our needs in the Carribean.

Where are you heading to this year? We start out around the first of July on our journey to the ARC start in November on the Canaries.

All the best


08 February 2012 - 10:14
Join Date: 01 February 2007
Posts: 57

John, many thanks.    As I have a radar pole right in the centre of the aft deck, i.e. the 12 inches between the cockpit coaming and the stern toerail, I am concerned that the vane might hit it when it tilts forward under certain wind conditions (see photos).     The long protuberance projecting aft with the Navtex aerial has since been removed and the little wind generator will also be removed (too little power for the trouble) but that still leaves the pole.    That too could be moved to port but might still get in the way.    I have thought about a Scanstrut backstay fitting for the radar dome but the dome would still have to face aft so as not to foul the mainsail or get caught in reefing lines.    Roughly how close to the backstay does the vane come when right forward ?

No rush, this is going to be a next winter project.





08 February 2012 - 11:07
Join Date: 30 January 2007
Posts: 461

This thread is very interesting and I thank you all very much. May I ask you to please indicate clearly your boat in your signature? I reckon that in the body of the message it is often stated but in this way it would easier for who reads to understand if the discussion deals about a boat like his/her own.

Daniel, 411-004.

08 February 2012 - 12:14
Join Date: 01 February 2007
Posts: 234

Richard, if you look closely at my picture you will see my pole has been dropped to fit into the workshop. The pole fits to the side, but when the vane is used for dead down wind it does touch the pole (something I never considered when fitting). So this forces me to sail just off dead down wind on one tack. I am looking at getting the stubby vane which has the same surface area, but is shorter. The tall vane clears the back stay.  The Hydrovane is expensive, very easy to fit and use, the service and support very good. I also fitted my stern light to the pole giving it more height, therefore easier to see! My radar scanner is up on the mast.

John B  411/010

09 February 2012 - 11:23
Join Date: 01 February 2007
Posts: 57

Daniel, good suggestion.  My boat is Swan 40 Moksha.  

11 February 2012 - 11:47
Join Date: 03 March 2007
Posts: 241

Hi Richard,

Decsion made. Bought a WindPilot Pacific Plus. I like the fact that there are no lines ( better for kids) in the cockpit and that it does not use the boats steering gear thus reducing wear on quadrant and cables. This and discussions with other users help me make the decsion. I will send pictures after the installation which will occur in May.


23 February 2012 - 12:45
Join Date: 10 December 2010
Posts: 23

Hello Richard,
We have a Swan 41 and are long distance cruising in it. Our Wind Pilot Pacific Plus has faithfully steered us from San Francisco to New Zealand. We have never had a bit of trouble with it, and we both operate it. We have no lines in the cockpit to trip over or chafe. It's a good machine. You might want to have a look at a thread I started here in December 2010 titled "Long Distance Cruising in a Swan 41" I posted a pretty good photo of our unit. Let me know if you would like others - we have a few. For technical questions, I would recommend contacting Peter Forthmann in Hamburg (on the Windpilot site), as he is very helpful. Our radar mast has never had a problem with the pilot, and when we were looking to install, Monitor advised us that the radar would be a problem with their unit. Fair Winds. Rod Lambert

15 October 2015 - 07:09
Join Date: 03 March 2007
Posts: 241

Hi Guys,

An update on our experiences with the Wind Pilot Pacific Plus. We have just completed an Atlantic circuit with one, sailing from Denmark to Martinique via the Canaries, Cape Verdes, then up the chain to the Chesapeake where we over wintered and finally returning to Denmark via Bermuda and the Azores. In all we sailed around 18000 NM using a Wind Pilot Pacific plus for the majority of the trip. The only problem we had was when we were rubbed by a False Killer whale which cracked the rudder post causing the rudder to break off. Can't blame the Wind Pilot for this. Anyway, the WP and Storm Svale make a great team. The WP steered in 2 Beaufort 10s as well as down wind in less than 10KTS of wind. It is an amazing unit, it's value being reinforced when we had to shift to the E pilot after the whale incident... I do not like it in the harbours of Europe but for offshore it is quiet, uses no power which is a huge plus and steers in everything except no wind. I would not go offshore without one.
Fair Winds

Storm Svale with Wind Pilot

Storm Svale with Wind Pilot

Storm Svale and Ophelia ready for Winter TLC

16 October 2015 - 12:39
Join Date: 02 March 2007
Posts: 83

This is a Neptune servo pendulum, cheaper copy of Windpilot.Steered us 95% of the time

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