Frequently Asked Questions

We started in the self-steering business in 1977, after our founder Hans Bernwall's circumnavigation from 1970 to 1976. During that time he fabricated and experimented with windvanes. Since the beginning, the staff of SCANMAR INTERNATIONAL have attended many boat shows across the United States and Europe. We've heard you and taken note of the most frequently asked questions, and have tried to answer as many of them as we can think of here. We hope this proves helpful to you. If you prefer to talk to us directly, give us a call - we're at 510-215-2010, and we're here 9AM to 5PM Pacific Coast time, Monday through Friday. You can also e-mail us at



2. WINDVANE OR AUTOPILOT? - I've got a new boat with all sorts of electronic equipment on board. Why shouldn't I just get an electricity-powered autopilot?



5. MONITOR PRICE - What's included in the Monitor price?

6. MONITOR SPARE PARTS KIT - You recommend buying the spare parts kit. Should I expect to have to repair my Monitor?

7. BOC/AROUND ALONE EXPERIENCE - What's so special about the BOC? I am just a cruiser. I am not racing. How is this relevant to me?

8. MONITORS ON BOC/AROUND ALONE BOATS - Competition says that you were on the BOC boats because you gave the gear to the racers? Is that true?

9. ARE THERE DIFFERENT SIZES OF MONITOR? - Some other manufacturers claim that they have many sizes. Does the Monitor come in only one size?

10. MONITOR DESIGN & CONSTRUCTION - The mounting system of the Monitor has been likened to an oil rig! Why is it so substantial?

11. STAINLESS STEEL vs. ALUMINUM CONSTRUCTION - Some windvane manufacturers claim that aluminum in a windvane is better than stainless steel. Do you agree?

12. USE OF ALUMINUM IN WINDVANES - Why then is aluminum used if stainless is so superior?

13. INSTALLATION AND MANUAL - Where do I get instructions for installation and operation? Do I have to haul my boat? Does a yard have to do it?

14. OFFSET WINDVANE MOUNT? - I have a centrally-mounted stern ladder! Some of your competitors say that off center mounting is OK. Can the Monitor be mounted off center?

15. CAN I USE A MONITOR ON A CATAMARAN? I've seen articles that state that a windvane won't work on one!

16. LOCAL DEALERSHIPS - Do you have a chain of local dealerships I can order from?

17. TOTAL COST - What's the full price for one of your windvanes?

18. CUSTOMER SERVICE - What service can I expect after I buy a Monitor?

19. CHANGING TO A NEW BOAT - Suppose I decide to sell my boat and buy another? Can I shift the Monitor without much trouble?

20. OPERATING LINES TO AN EMERGENCY TILLER - Why don't I hook up the windvane to an emergency tiller on deck if I have one? Then it can probably be 30 inches long.

21. OPERATING LINE SETUP - I do not want lines in the cockpit. Why not get a system without lines?

22. OPERATING LINES TO THE BOAT'S QUADRANT - Why can I not lead the lines directly to the quadrant?

23. DAMAGE CONTROL - What happens if the servo paddle hits something when you are sailing in full speed? Does the paddle kick up?

24. PADDLE ENGAGEMENT & DISENGAGEMENT - How do you take up and put down the Monitor servo paddle?

25. LEARNING TO USE A MONITOR - How long does it take to learn how to use a Monitor?

26. LIGHT AIR EFFICIENCY - Can you comment on light air performance?

27. DOWNWIND PERFORMANCE - How about down wind?

28. HEAVY WEATHER PERFORMANCE - What about windvane heavy weather performance? Some electronic autopilots seem to loose effectiveness in big seas and high winds.

29. WHAT IS 'POSITIVE YAW DAMPING'? I've seen in mentioned but I don't know what it is!

30. WINDVANE & ELECTRONIC AUTOPILOT WHEEL ADAPTERS - I have wheel steering and need a wheel adaptor. The problem is that I already have an autopilot on the wheel. How do you solve this problem?

31. USING A WINDVANE AND AUTOPILOT AT THE SAME TIME - Can I gain anything by operating my windvane and electronic autopilot at the same time?

32. CENTER-COCKPIT BOATS - I have a center-cockpit boat. I've been told that I can't run the operating lines that far forward.

33. HYDRAULIC STEERING SYSTEMS - My boat has hydraulic steering, and some people have told me I can't use a Monitor servopendulum selfsteering system. Is this true?

34. BIG BOATS - How big a boat can a Monitor handle?

35. 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?

36. WORM GEAR STEERING - My boat has worm-gear steering, and I've been told that a servopendulum system won't work on it. Is this true?

37. DAVITS - I have davits on my boat, and I don't want to give up their convenience. What can you recommend?

38. SCOOP TRANSOM - My boat has a scoop transom with steps and a platform. Can I install a Monitor and still use the platform?

39. UNSHIPPING A MONITOR - I want to store my Monitor off the boat. How do I go about it?

40. STERN ARCH - I'd like to have a stern arch installed for my solar panels, radar & maybe a generator - can I still have a windvane?

41. OUTBOARD RUDDER - Is it going to be difficult mounting a Monitor aft of my outboard rudder?

42. FULL COCKPIT ENCLOSURES, WEATHERCLOTHS AND BIMINIS - I sail in the Pacific Northwest. I've rigged weather cloths (or even an enclosed canopy) around my aft cockpit. Won't this interfere with airflow to my windvane?

43. BOOMKIN - My boat has a boomkin - is that going to make it difficult to fit a windvane?

44. USING A TILLERPILOT - Can I use a small tillerpilot rigged to my Monitor for motoring when there's no wind?