PHOTOS OF THE MONTH (Archive of past photos is at the end of this section, after 'Cover Gear'

Thanks to Ted Crocker, who sent us this photo of five Westsail 32's plus another unknown boat, all sporting Monitors, at the 2013 Westsail Rendezvous in San Leandro. (There appears to be a lone Fleming near the far end).


From Tillman & Nele Holsten, 1899 North Sea Coaster "Ernestine" with a Saye's Rig installed -
"We returned from a 15-month Atlantic round and are very satisfied with the Saye's Rig gear. Here you find a recent picture of us riding out a gale force 7, after having visited a big harbour-festival and being therefore exhausted, happily trusting the Saye's Rig to find the way home. The crew is obviously sound asleep except one guy who was seasick."

Jim Hiemstra sent this photo of his 2012 Monitor in use, with this description: ďThe Monitor is one of the best performing pieces of gear on my Island Packet 32, First Tracks. The operation is smooth, quiet and predictable. Here is a photo taken during a recent trip from San Francisco, CA to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. The Monitor steered perfectly, in 20-25 knots downwind, for days at a time. The Monitor definitely lets the crew relax and rest while sailing. Awesome product!Ē

Tillman Holsten in Lassan, Germany rescued the North Sea Coaster 'Ernestine', built in 1899, and re-fitted the original rig - square main course and all- and needed a self-steering gear that wasn't visually intrusive on this beautiful old work-boat. Our Saye's Rig was ideal, and has proved its worth. Last we heard, he and his family were in Portrugal. Here's Ernestine before her Saye's Rig install.

All sail set!

Tillman and crew resting while the Saye's Rig steers.


Here's a letter received in July 2013 from Adrian Pataki, S/V Attila, Panama.

The reason why I use a Monitor in place of an electronic autopilot is because I am an electrical engineer :)
As testimony, I have a story that I want to share with you all: In August of 2010 I left Panama, in an attempt to sail non-stop to Deception Island in Antarctica. Everything went splendidly until day 42, when the fishing line snapped under the weight of a nice dorado. The broken line whipped the swivel into my right eye, ripping off my iris and leaving me in considerable pain and practically blinded. I set the Monitor to the next inhabited island (Pitcairn Island), and went to bed, trying to keep the pressure in my eyeball as low as possible (not moving, just laying on my back, not able to do anything). For the next 20 days I did not touch any controls on my boat, not a sheet, a halyard or any lines going to the Monitor.
I went to sleep every evening after sunset, hearing the faint clicking of the windvane steering my boat, and the water rushing by the hull, for days and days. On day 62 I woke up and could see Pitcairn Island looming on the starboard bow. Since then, the Monitor is rated as an Able Seaman, and I would never leave port without him at the helm.
I have traveled approximately 38000 miles with my Monitor windvane. I bought her [Attila] in Mexico, sailed Non-stop to Panama (38 days), then crossed the Canal, and began chartering between Cartagena, Colombia and the San Blas Islands, Panama. I have made 36 trips, each trip around 200 miles, offshore, in one of the stormiest areas in the Caribbean (In the dry season 35kt winds with 15ft waves are considered 'normal').
I navigated all those trips without touching the helm, the Monitor steering day and night, also under power. After 2 years of intensive chartering, I purchased a new set of bearings for her, and took off for a 17000 nm trip on the following route: Panama-Pitcairn-Gambier Island-Tahiti-Raivavai-Gambier-Isla Robinson Crusoe (Chile)-Valdivia(Chilean Patagonia)-Panama.
Now I am planning to try again to sail to Antarctica, via Polynesia. Letís see how it works out.
I truly appreciate your help with getting my gear back in order again.

How To Photograph Your Boat

This article is reproduced from the October 26 edition of Cruising Compass, a free weekly digest of sailing news, with the kind permission of the publisher, Blue Water Sailing.

It's funny how few of us have great sailing shots of our own boat taken from off the boat. We all have tons of shots of family and friends enjoying themselves in the cockpit, trimming sails, working on the foredeck, and swimming off the stern. And, most of us have a ton of shots of our boats swinging at anchor before a magnificent sunset or glistening in the early light of dawn.
These are all great reminders of our happy days on the water. But there's nothing quite like having a well framed, well lit shot of you own boat under sail that is good enough to hang on the wall.
You can hire a pro to photograph your boat and that's probably the surest way to get a frameable picture. But you donít have to go to the expense since you can do it yourself. All you need is a reasonably good camera and a friend with his or her own boat. (Taking shots of your cruising boat from your dinghy doesn't work well; you are too low in the water to get a good angle and you normally have to drive the dinghy and shoot at the same time, which is easier said than done.)
The plan is to head out together, sailing in an area with an attractive background, so you can make repeated passes. Don't try to take photos of both boats simultaneously since it looks odd to have a photographer pointing his camera at you in the portrait of your boat. Shoot one boat first, then the other.
Use a good camera. Modern digital cameras with 3.5 megapixel or higher resolution will allow you to print up to an 8 by 10 image. If you want to go larger, you will need to shoot with 6 megapixels or more to get a really sharp image.
The best time to shoot the portraits will be in the hour and half before sunset when the angle of the sun is low and the light and shadows are soft. Shooting at midday gives you hot whites and dark shadows that don't print all that well.
Like people, all boats have their best and worst angles for taking portraits. But, in general, photos taken from the leeward stern quarter, with the sun at the photographer's back, will render a good action shot that includes the people and the cockpit, some spray on the leeward side and the fullest and neatest angle on the sails. The same shot taken from the forward quarter as the boat passes works well too, but often the view of the crew in the cockpit is blocked by the sails.
If you and your friends don't mind climbing to the spreaders, shots taken from that height often have a dramatic effect. Again, look for the light to be behind the camera and try to avoid taking the windward side profile, especially if the boat you are shooting is heeled over. If you can get an elevated shot of the boat from the stern sailing wing and wing or with the spinnaker up, you will have a picture to really savor.
A couple of hours out photographing your boat and that of a good friend is time well spent when, sometime later, you sit back in your chair, gaze at the portrait on the wall and remember just how good it was to head off on your own boat.

We Know Art When We See It...

Some cruisers have exercised their artistic skill by decorating their windvane selfsteering airvanes - here are some examples.


Geoff Phillips' Westerly Konsort 29 sports this airvane while sailing in the Exumas

The Flying Dutchman 37 "Nataraja" shows off her airvane off Pigeon Point, California in July of 2006

This Newport 41 out of Los Angeles, California has a pre-1992 Monitor installed. She's named "Yellow Jacket", and the airvane is painted hornet-style in yellow and black stripes.

This German-owned circumnavigator, "Vite Vite", sports German flag colors on her airvane...

...and here's the Jeanneau 52 "Christianne" out of Port Washingon, New York with her U.S. colors flying.

"Fair Rose", a Fairweather 39 from Los Angeles, California, has - what else? - a rose on her airvane.

The Netherlands-registered Catalina 36 "Scaph" sports a Belgian flag and painted airvane.

Calle Olofsson has painted the Swedish colors and a rustic mural on the airvane of the Monitor mounted on his Allegro 33. The oval stainless steel contrivance in front of him is his custom-made outdoor toilet seat - we hope he headed to a warmer climate....

The owners of the Custom 46 "Mercator" have painted their ensign on the modified airvane of their Saye's Rig.

And last, here's the British Endurance 44 "Teokita" showing off her airvane "Panacea" in all her glory.


Sailors take it for granted that their boat should be named - Odysseus probably named his bireme but we don't know what it was. Nowadays people tend to name equipment they depend on to transport them. Pilots name their planes, our first car is usually named, and yacht owners give names of personal significance to their boats. Over the years we've discovered that sailors have named their Monitors, too, after they've come to rely on them to get through both long lazy watches and terrifying heavy weather. The most common given name seems to be "Monty" (obviously short for "Monitor"). "Moni" and "Monica" are variations. John Burns combined some of the favorites and gave his Monitor the full name of "Monnie Panmonley". "Hans", after Hans Bernwall, Scanmar's owner, is also popular. A clever play on words is "Hands" - both for Hans and for the invisible "extra hand". "Swede" also plays homage to Hans. "Blondie" pays tribute to Blondie Hasler, one of the original designers of the servopendulum windvane system. There's a "Henry"', "Ernie", "Ben", "Murray" (too "New York", says the owner's wife!), "Mildred", "Moe", "Charlie", "James", "Amy", and "Bert". "Albert" was Tony Gooch's Monitor on "Taonui". In Brazil there's a Monitor named "Ron", after the designer here, on a catamaran. An Allied Seawind 32 has a "Bob - for Bob on the Job", and a CSY 44 has a "Helmer" - another play on words. A Nor'Sea 27 has "Shiny Eyes". "Sir Francis", after Sir Francis Drake, sits on a Mason 33. There's a "Pip" - he was the cabin boy in Moby Dick. Venturing further back into the literary past, a Saga 40 named "Calypso" had a Monitor named "Brave Ulysses". "Mr. Christian" from Mutiny on the Bounty sails on a Sea Sprite 34. Referring to science-fiction characters, there's a "Wesley" - referring to the helmsman on Star Trek - and an "R2-D2". There are two "Casper"s - one named by the owners wife because the sight of the boat under sail without someone at the helm is "creepy". "S.U.E." - for "Steer Us Everywhere" - is on a Southern Cross 35, and "Vera Course Vane" is on a Swan 47. "Panacea" - the solution for all problems - is on "Teokita", an Endurance 44. One Monitor is named after "Waldorf" - a favorite Muppets character. Emmy Newbould, who's currently in control of the phones & e-mail at Scanmar, named her Monitor "The Mighty Suzuki" after the old car she sold to get it, and one Monitor is named after her - "Little Miss Emmy". An English sailor has named his Monitor "the vicar" because "it keeps them on the proper path"!
So, what's the name of YOUR Monitor going to be?
One last comment - we've only heard of one person who named their electronic autopilot (Tony Gooch's "Otto")........


A sunset seen over a boat at anchor or from a boat at sea - a time to dream of voyages made or planned. Maybe, if you're lucky, you're in the middle of one.

An Islander 33 somewhere in the Caribbean - boat name and home port unknown.

Perry 42 "Toketie" - Victoria, British Columbia.

From the cockpit of the S2 9.2A "Dream Catcher, on Lake Michigan.

Folkboat 26 "Chimpanzee", out of Kent Island, Maryland.

Cover Gear

Here are a few of the appearances Monitor windvanes have had on magazine covers over the years. Sorry, but some of the originals were quite sun-faded when we scanned them.


"Cruising Helmsman" - November 2004.


"Cruising World" - November 2001. Webb and Carol Chiles leave Boston for the Azores on "The Hawke of Tuonela".


Tony Gooch and "Taonui" beating out of the Strait of Georgia during their non-stop circumavigation.


"Ocean Navigator" - July/August 2001. "Zinnia", a 30-foot gaff cutter designed by Ed Burnett & Nigel Irons, hides in the swells off Antigua.


"Yachting World" - September 1995. Lisa Clayton arriving back in Dartmouth with "Spirit of Birmingham" after her controversial circumnavigation.


"Practical Sailor" - January 1999. "Solitude", an Ingrid 38, sails with no one in sight in the cockpit.

Photo of the Month Archive

Here's an archive of the past "Photos of the Month"


January-December 2012. Gary Kegel sent us this annotated photo of "Sea Flyer", his Cheoy Lee Offshore 38. He wrote "Even with a Dodger, bimini, solar panels, an outboard and a fortress anchor in the way around and over the cockpit, the Monitor still steers great. So, if people think it won't work with all that stuff in the way, they don't need to worry about it. It will still work". Thanks, Gary!


September-December 2011. Helen Hansen showing off her husband Doug's skill in installing their Monitor with Swing-Gate mount on their Catalina 34 Mk II "Press Play", Santa Cruz, California. Additional photos can be found on the Catalina 34 Mk II page in "Boats & Photos".



January-August 2011. Steve and Sue Ticehurst have been cruising the South Pacific on "Kashmira", home port Los Angeles. These photos were taken in Papua New Guinea. In a recent email, Steve wrote "Our Monitor wind vane has steered our Pacific Seacraft 37 for the better part of an 8 year cruise throughout the Pacific without problems of any kind and in all sailing conditions. I consider it the best helmsman on the boat."


July - December 2010. "English Rose", Ontario, Canada. Jack Nye installed his Monitor on his Contessa 32 in 2001. These photos, sent to us by his son Mark in June of 2010, were taken during Jack's 2002 trans-Atlantic crossing. At the time we received these photos, Jack was in the middle of his 18th crossing!


Here's Eric Wilbur, Flying Dutchman 37 "Nataraj", replacing the bearings in his 1999 Monitor after putting over 35,000 miles of sailing on it. Emmy & Eric were in New Zealand at the time, and were planning to head out to Niue via the Kermadec Islands. Emma & Eric are our 'traveling ambssadors' since Emmy left our employ several years ago.

August 2009-June 2010. "Nereid" - Norfolk, Virginia. We've been receiving postcards from Stephen Demas from time to time ever since he bought his Monitor in 1985. In August 2009 we received these photos by email. "These were taken in the Beagle Channel before I left for the N. being the only yacht to navigate the Channel this winter (Wonder why!!). James (and Nereid) are still going strong after more than 26 and 32 years, respectively." (Note: "James", his Monitor, is actually only 24 years old)

April-July 2009. John Burns' Sparkman & Stephens 36 "Panther" at the start of the 2007 Solo-Tasman race. "Approx. 6,000 miles
completed over 11 months by return time to New Zealand. Trusty Monitor in charge for most of the time." - John Burns

April 2007-March 2009. Vicky Jackson reads while "Sunstone"s' Monitor steers effortlessly through unpleasant conditions at 40S in her 5200 mile passage across the Indian Ocean from Cape Town to Fremantle. Quote from their email, March 23, 2007 - " "Sunstone"s' Monitor is still going strong for us after 80,000 painless miles and we're looking forward to the next 80,000." This Monitor was shipped to Tom & Vicky Jackson in Portsmouth, England, in 1997. We have had reports from "Sunstone" in New Zealand, Hawaii, Argentina (2005)and currently (2007) in Fremantle, Australia.




April 2007-March 2009. Hans Bernwall met Kerstin Levigne while sailing the South Pacific in the early '70s. She recently sent us some photos of her Monitor-equipped 34-footer "Lady Anne" - here they are.

February-March 2007. Ken & Beth Cone installed a Monitor on their Sundeer 56 "Eagle's Wings" after extending her transom an additional four feet in 2001. They sent us this photo in February of 2007; it was taken en route to New Zealand. A quote from their email: "We absolutely love the Monitor!!!". Not many windvanes can steer such a big, fast boat.

October 2006-January 2007. Scanmar's Emmy Newbould took this photo of three Monitor-equipped Valiants at Half Moon Bay, California on Labor Day weekend, 2006. On the left is the Valiant 42 "A Capella" owned by Ed & Cornelia Gould, and in the center is the Valiant 42 "Aurora" owned by Jim & Sheila Goetsch. On the right is the Valiant 50 "Raptor Dance", owned by Bill Finklestein & Mary Mack.


July-September 2006. Norm Rhines sent this photo, taken in mid-Pacific. he wrote "The vane worked like a charm and was by far the best crew I had. P.S. - If someone draws a face on their vane, they should not draw eyelashes on it, as the vane should never sleep; ours was awake for the whole trip including the storm."


March-June 2006. In March of 2005 Jack van Ommen stopped in Richmond on his journey out from Gig Harbor, Washington with his Naja 30 "Fleetwood". His Navik windvane had broken and he installed a Monitor before continuing his voyage. Here's Andrew, a fisherman from Lapinin Island, Philippines, on board "Fleetwood" early in 2006.

March-June 2006. In 1983 Cathy and Joe Cibit began a 1-1/2-year sail about the Pacific; in 1986, after returning to San Diego, they sent us some photos which were filed away and lost - with over 27 years of files, some mistakes are inevitable . They were found, and we thought they could still rate as belated "Photos of the Month". "Viajero" in Hana Vahe Bay - Fatu Hiva, Marquesas Islands, French Polynesia.

Cathy Cibit enjoying a Thanksgiving Day meal while their Monitor steers "Viajero" between Rangiroa and Hilo, 1985.

January-March, 2006 - Ian Laval's Baba 30 "Lydia B" entering her new home port of Maryport, England after her voyage from Vancouver, British Columbia in 2003. Ian's website Lydia B has an interesting description, complete with photos, of the voyage. We also have photos of the "Lydia B" in her previous life in Seattle on our Baba 30 page.

October-December, 2005 - Hampus Mattsson's Amigo 40 "Storm", sailing in calm weather in the Skagerrak (between Norway and Denmark), July 2005. That's the moon showing her face between the jackstaff and the Monitor airvane.

September-October, 2005 - Bob Packard's Seafarer 31 - South Woodstock, Connecticut, 2005. Note on back of photo reads "First sea trial with Monitor, successfully steered without any adjustment or attention for several miles on a reach."


August-September, 2005 - between Coho and Santa Cruz Island, July 2001. Peter Turner, crewmember on Don & Jan Wigle's Coronado 34 "Ripple", celebrates his freedom from the tyranny of constant hand-steering.


July-August, 2005 - Here's Eric Willbur, of the Flying Dutchman 37 "Nataraja", somewhere between Palmyra and American Samoa in the spring of 2002. The noddy tern, dubbed "the Colonel", wouldn't leave - we guess it liked being read to.