Hi, I’m the new owner of Twister Elida. I will be doing mostly single-handed sailing on long passages, so I'm now looking at self-steering gear. Strength and durability is a priority. From my limited research, I like the stainless steel Monitor and Cape Horn units. I see Mike Millis has a Cape Horn. Mike, I would appreciate your feedback on the performance. Has the windvane worked as expected? Have you noticed any weaknesses in performance? Would you have confidence in big ocean? Thank you.
Hi Benji, welcome to the Twisters.
I fitted the Cape Horn windvane 3 years ago and it has been a limited success. I must admit that I haven't undertaken any long voyages in Bits with it. I've used others yachts.
It is a good robust piece of kit, but the one problem I've had is that it is mounted offset to starboard on the transom and there has been a loss of travel through the vane and control lines on one tack. I am carrying out a mod by installing a boom, with a small block on the end, to starboard on the transom
to stop the loss of motion on the control lines and therefore balance the tiller movement.
The benefit of the Cape Horn is that I have been able to mount it on the transom without strengthening pads and the scaffolding needed for others. This saves weight and also extra mooring fees due to the overall length not being increased.
The Twister is so well balanced that most windvanes work.
Hi Benji, I did a lot of research because I want to fit a self-steering sys as well. My final pick is the sea-feather windvane. I know that this type of windvane has been mounted on loads of Twisters. Lately they have also come out with a new mounting system that looks very neat. Check it out!
Thanks Mike for your quick feedback. I also like the idea of not increasing the LOA. However, this answers the offset question. With this in mind, would you recommend going with the mounting bracket to centre the CapeHorn behind the rudder?
Thanks Luca, I have also enquired into the sea-feather. It Looks like a nice unit, though I'm wondering if it's a bit light, and I’m cautious about aluminium parts. In any case, I plan to check out the sea-feather before making a decision. Please let me know how it goes.
I have a Monitor. It works well on all points of sailing and it has only stainless steel and bronze components so no corrosion problems. It is fairly heavy (55 lbs, I think) but that doesn't seem to adversely affect the boat's handling or performance.
Thanks John, I like the Monitor but might need to wait for the US$ to drop. Did you order it direct from the US?
We looked hard at wind vanes and decided that the Monitor was the strongest and most durable. If I was setting off across oceans that's where I'd invest my dollars. There are lighter and more elegant solutions out there but never underestimate the raw power of the sea. We had a B2 knockdown (90 degrees, burgee stick broken at the masthead) 20 years ago when running before a gale. The two Iroko hardwood bumpkins, 40mm x 100mm which carried our Haslar vane gear were snapped off like an axe had been taken to them and the vane gear needed straightening/rewelding too.
Yes. I ordered my Monitor direct from the makers in the USA. I don't think they have a dealer network.
Thanks John, I'm fairly sold on the Monitor. As it's a big investment, could I get feedback from Monitor users on this comment below (published as a comparison on the CapeHorn website). Is this true to your experience with the Twister?
"Monitor Windvane - It almost works all of the time. It will only steer the boat if it is underpowered, and trimmed for neutral or a slight bit of lee helm. It has steered for at least 6,000 miles. We use it a lot, and swear at getting everything just the way that it wants so that it will steer… It will always be the way it works, steering an S-shaped course; it won't sail the boat if she is perfectly tuned for speed, and if the boat should catch a gust or a wave that pushes her around it won't compensate quickly enough, and requires that you steer the boat back onto the course and then set everything up again."
I've found that if the sails are trimmed so that the boat is light on the helm then the Monitor copes well. I have a large and a small vane but I only use the large one. A strong wind and sea on the quarter with too much sail set makes the Monitor work hardest and and the yacht will luff up a bit more before the Monitor regains control; probably the Twister's narrow rudder is a factor. A human hand on the tiller would perhaps react more quickly but only until it's owner became tired (which doesn't take long at my age)! My Tillerpilot certainly couldn't cope. In such conditions I find it best to reduce sail.
I should point out that I only do coastal sailing and Channel crossings. If you're thinking of tackling Cape Horn etc. you'd do better getting advice from someone more qualified than me.
I hope this helps.
Sounds a bit like a margarine ad slagging off butter! Seriously though, a windvane will never steer as good a course as an ace racing helmsman since it can't anticipate. That said it will continue steering a very acceptable course 24/365 providing the boat is not overpowered or grossly badly trimmed. Even our old 1965 vertical axis Haslar gear gives acceptable performance and things have come on a long way since then.
Mark Styles, who is selling Roya on the website has (had) a Monitor and did a lot of miles with it. I'm certain he'd be happy to tell you his views.