Frequently Asked Questions
WHICH STEERING SYSTEM SHOULD MY WINDVANE USE - THE BOAT'S OWN RUDDER, OR AN AUXILIARY RUDDER?
The Monitor windvane is a servo-pendulum vane which steers using the boat's own rudder. It is less cumbersome, less vulnerable, easier to install and more powerful than windvanes which use other principles. The servo-pendulum system is the most popular principle for windvanes in use today. It works well on surprisingly large yachts since it steers using the boat's own rudder, rather than a smaller auxiliary rudder. The more wind there is the faster the boat will move through the water, and more steering power is developed by the servo-pendulum gear. On difficult points of sail and in hard weather this will become very noticeable. Before motoring, the Monitor's paddle can be easily and remotely lifted out of the water - many auxiliary rudders cannot, and vibration from propellor turbulence can be a problem.
Another benefit is positive yaw dampening found only with this sort of gear. As the boat is coming back on course, the water paddle automatically 'feathers' itself back to neutral position, eliminating oversteering common to some windvanes.
We sell more Monitors by far, compared to the other windvanes we manufacture, because the Monitor is the best windvane for the majority of boats. The custom mounting, which is included in its price, allows the Monitor to fit thousands of different boats. We would recommend our SAYE'S RIG or AUTO-HELM only when we believe that the Monitor would not work well on your boat. The reason may be hydraulic steering, stiff main rudder steering, davits on the transom, or a number of other factors - see the relevant sections of this FAQ section. After over 30 years in the self-steering field, fitting the correct gear to thousands of different boats, we are expert consultants and see our job as matching the right gear to each and every boat. The prices of our windvanes are within a few hundred dollars of each other. Price difference should not be the deciding factor for a piece of equipment as important as self-steering. We feel competent to fit any boat given the three different vane selections we have to offer, and most importantly because of our technical expertise.
In the "Auxiliary Rudder vs. Servo-Pendulum" section of our "Windvanes 101" course you'll find a comprehensive review of the comparative merits of both systems.