Frequently Asked Questions

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OVERHANGING MIZZEN OR MAIN BOOM - I have a ketch (or a sloop with an overhanging boom) - won't this prevent me from using a windvane?

At first glance, this seems to be an unsolvable problem - the airvane blade and the boom are trying to occupy the same space. However, in most cases it's really a non-issue. The windvane sits on the stern, on boat centerline, with the airvane blade atop it - the airvane can rotate 360 degrees and must be free to tilt off the either side of its pivot axis, creating a "cone of clearance" needed to operate. Even when sailing close-hauled, the mizzen or overhanging main boom does not come close enough to boat centerline to interfere with the airvane movement; neither does air spillage off the sail interfere with operation.

A bit more work is needed when coming about - and when you're on a long offshore passage, you're not going to be coming about very often. There are two ways to go about it. If the mizzen has a topping lift, the sheet can be slacked off, and the aft end of the mizzen boom can be raised with the lift. The boom can then be swung over the airvane, lowered, and sheeted home again. If there isn't a topping lift, the airvane can be unshipped by loosening the two knobs holding it in its clamp. After coming onto the new course, the airvane is set into its clamp and the knobs are tightened. That's all.

When running, it's recommended that a preventer be rigged to stop an accidental gybe; that's something you wouldn't want to happen whether or not your windvane is steering. If there's only about 10"-12" of overlap, the boom will simply push the airvane over during a gybe without damaging it.

Mizzen Booms

Green 35 "Brazen" - Little Compton, Rhode Island

Mercer 44 "Fred L. Baker" - South Freeport, Maine

Colin Archer 40 "Agia Ohio" - Bergen, Norway

Colin Archer 42 - Norwegian boat, unknown name

Joshua 40 "Northern Light"

Mariner 36 "Myway" - Wilmington, Delaware