Frequently Asked Questions - Mister Vee self steering systems
A lot of boats have equipment mounted on the transom, close to where the self steering unit needs to be.
Experience has shown that it is easier to remove this equipment, then mount the windvane self steering and then remount the other equipment.
But if you have some equipment that is really difficult to move somewhere else, please send us an email so we can have a look at the options.
On many boats there is equipment mounted on the transom that makes it difficult to mount a self steering system on the boats centre line.
It may be tempting to take the easy route and mount the system off centre so it clears the other equipment.
However, mounting the system off centre may result in the pendulum rudder surfacing on some courses, resulting in sudden loss of power and poor steering.
For the best results on all courses, always mount the system on the boats centre line.
For some situations on smaller boats using Mr. Vane with the optional off centre kit may offer a solution. This way the vane mast can be mounted off centre while keeping the pendulum rudder on the centre line.
As an alternative the vane base of Y&B can be made off centre. The vane base itself is moved a bit sideways making a little extra room to the side but the other components stay centred.
The vane mast can be shortened by about 70 cm to suit a specific situation.
But just to state the obvious, the windvane still needs to get wind.
To reduce the height of the vane mast, the pushrod that runs inside the vane mast needs to be shortened. It comes in two pieces, to be glued by the customer. Best to leave that to be the last task, after assembly and installation.
Just as any other servo pendulum system the rudder is too small to be of any use if the boat becomes un-steerable through the boats main rudder.
The gears are part of the system that transfers movement from the windvane to the vertical axis of pendulum rudder.
The gears ONLY transfer movement, not force. And yes, they are strong enough.
But hang on, why do other brands use bronze or stainless steel?
The Mister Vee pendulum rudder is almost perfectly balanced. The forces that are generated by the rudder act on the centre of the pendulum rudder tube.
This means that the gears indeed only transfer movement and sheer strength is not an issue.
Some brands use less balanced pendulum rudders. These will require more force to be rotated and often have bigger windvane blades to generate this higher force. And this may require stronger gears as well.
But if you prefer your gears to be stronger for peace of mind, we now do offer stainless gears in the webshop.
The manual for using your Vee (and servo pendulum systems in general) can be found in the Mister Vee brochure in the download section.
The assembly manuals are available as PDF files. Access to these files is enabled when your system is shipped.
You need to be logged in to access them. They can be reached from a menu further down the website.
From the start in 2006 the Mister Vee self steering systems were shipped in parts to be self assembled. This allowed packing the systems by an external company at a very low rate.
In 2012 government policies on these kinds of companies changed resulting in turmoil.
This eventually lead to poorer quality and unhappy customers.
To get quality back up we took back parts handling. As it turned out it took relatively little extra time to actually assemble the systems in stead of just picking parts. As a bonus, parts get an extra check if they are up to standard.
From the start the Mister Vee self steering systems were designed to be light weight.
But how light is light?
There are brands that claim to offer "light weight" but do not mention the actual weight anywhere.
Or their claim to light weight dates back to the 1980's.
Let there be no doubt. Mister Vee offer the lightest self steering systems ever!
The standard version of Mr. Vane weighs just over 6.5 kgs or 14.5 lbs.
The standard version of Y&B weighs about 10 kgs or 21 lbs. This is also the lightest system ever. How?
To compare the two correctly they need to offer the same.
As Mr. Vane is aimed at smaller boats than Y&B, comparing them side by side requires heavier parts on Mr. Vane.
This means that Mr. Vane should have the long pendulum rudder, the long pendulum rudder tube and the complete mounting kit.
If you then were to mount Mr. Vane to a boat and Y&B on a similar boat, then Y&B would probably be a a tiny bit lighter than Mr. Vane.
Windvane self steering can not cope with constant acceleration followed by slowing down.
When the boat accelerates to a significantly higher speed, the direction of the apparent wind changes. The windvane will steer the boat away from the wind, changing the total balance of boat and windvane.
The boat can then easily lose power from the sails and the system starts to steer back in to the wind.
This means that it may not be possible to steer an ultra light displacement boat or multi hull.
Especially on fast accelerating boats this will lead to unsatisfying steering. This is why we will not guarantee satisfaction when you install a windvane self steering system to a multi hull or a boat that has the ability to plane.
Use headless Vee, a Y&B self steering system without the mast and windvane, plus a simple tiller pilot for this purpose.
If you have a (very) small boat you may wonder if it can be useful to set up a windvane self steering system.
Usually that will depend on two things: The kind of sailing you do how windvane self steering compares to the alternatives.
If you never go sailing for more than two hours then for most it would be pointless. But if you always get too tired when you sail longer that 2 hours but you actually would like to go futher, then windvane self steering may be the ticket to Vreedom.
Small boats are often very lively which means that when you leave the tiller the boat immediately goes somewhere you do not want it to go. That often means that you can not feed yourself or get enough to drink.
Also, sitting at the helm, in the same position, for hours on end makes you tired. Self steering can change all that, which opens up possibilities to go where you could not go before.
But is windvane self steering the most practical?
Most sailors turn to an autopilot first. And on short trips that is often a good choice. But you do need enough power from the boats battery to be able to keep the auto pilot going. And that is often where smaller boats have a problem, especially on longer trips. If the wind picks up, an autopilot consumes more power. And on a small boat that can amount to something like 70% of the daily power consumption! Draining the battery can break it. With windvane self steering you do not worry about power consumption.
The light weight Mister Vee self steering systems offer the best alternative to an autopilot, especially on a smaller boat!
Most plastics suffer from degradation due to the influence of ultra violet rays to some extent.
But the plastics used by Mister Vee are either in a position where actual strength is not much of an issue or a fibre reinforced version is used.
The fibres do not get damaged by UV so the only problem that may occur (after several years of use) is that the fibres become exposed at the surface of the tubes.
This is why you should NEVER clean the tubes with any kind of abrasive. The tubes are standard parts and can either be replaced cheaply or can even be painted to re-coat the fibres and lengthen the life span.
The only parts that are likely going to fail because of UV degradation at some point in time are the small gear and maybe the windvane blade. But using any other material would have involved serious design changes which would have resulted in a steep price increase. The complete wind vane can be taken off to be stored inside the boat when not in use to shelter from the sun.
Also note that since starting selling the Mister Vee systems in 2006 we have NEVER had to replace a windvane blade.
You may be wondering if windvane self steering will work on your boat. What weight will work, or what length?
Well, neither weight nor length are used as a general guideline.
Servo pendulum self steering systems were designed to take over the steering from a human helmsman. That means that the forces and movement that need to be generated by the system are comparable.
That leads to a two-part answer. If your boat has tiller steering, and the boat can be properly trimmed so that you do not have to fight the tiller to keep the boat on course, than a servo pendulum system like the ones on offer from Mister Vee should have no problem to do the same.
On a wheel steered boat there often is a reduction between the wheel and the rudder. If that reduction is too high it may be difficult or even impossible to set up self steering. However, if there is an option of connecting the self steering system to an emergency rudder, things get easier.
There is a separate FAQ about wheel steering.
Generally not. Usually once the course is set there is no need to change the settings unless there is a change in the balance of the forces at work. The most important change you will have to make is for a lasting change of windspeed or wind direction.
Can I fit Mr Vee slightly off center on a folkboat? I do not like to have all the mounting tubes to go around the rudder, I'd prefer to have it on one side of the transom.
Many thanks for your kind reply,
A self steering system can be mounted off centre and it would give steering action.
However, steering ability may differ depending on the tack the boat is on, and there may be issues resulting from the off centre mounting that cannot be predicted.
That means that Mister Vee can not offer full support on mounting and use, and the system is not guaranteed to steer your boat as described in the terms of sale.
Ik ben aan het rondkijke naar een windvaan maar ik geraak er niet wijzer uit. Die van jullie is zeker de goeiekoopste maar ik wil volgendjaar met mijn spirit 32 nonstop de wereld rond. Waarom zou de mister vee dan de beste keuze zijn?
Meerdere klanten van Mister Vee hebben een Vee gebruikt voor grote tochten, inclusief wereldomzeilingen. Voor zover ik weet zat daar geen non-stop trip bij.
De Mister Vee systemen vloeien voort uit een behoefte aan zelfstuur op kleine schepen en die worden vaak voor "kustzeilen" gebruikt.
Daarvoor voldoet de 3 jaar break=replace garantie op onderdelen in verreweg de meeste gevallen.
Hoewel er niet vaak aanspraak gemaakt hoeft te worden op die garantie kan het wel gebeuren. Op een wereldomzeiling kan dat kostbaar uitpakken en ingewikkeld zijn om uit te voeren.
Een ander aspect is dat in de voorbereiding naar een grote trip het zelfstuursysteem vaak als laatste wordt gemonteerd terwijl er groot belang bij is het goed werkend te hebben.
Vaak wordt er overhaast vertrokken terwijl het zelfstuursysteem nog niet goed uitgeprobeerd is.
Met inachtneming van het bovenstaande kan Y&B nog steeds een prima keus zijn.
I have a Marples 26 foot constant camber trimaran that to which I would like to fit wind vane steering gear, however, I note the comment in the guarantee information that the wind vane steering gear is not guaranteed for use with multihulls. I would be grateful if you could explain why as the Mr Vee Standard Y&B looks otherwise perfect for my boat.
All the best,
Windvane self steering can not cope with constant acceleration followed by slowing down. This means that it may not be possible to steer an ultra light displacement boat or multi hull.
A windvane self steering system uses the apparent wind direction to keep on course.
When the boat accelerates, the direction changes. The system will correct accordingly which will in the end make the boat slow down.
The course will again be corrected and the cycle starts again.
Is de mister vane ook geschikt om met een oude mini een COCO de oceaan over te steken. Laten we zeggen max speed 10 knopen.
Can a Mister Vee windvane self steering system steer a mini transat?
Ultra light displacement boats like Mini Transats generally are too fast to be steered by a windvane self steering system.
The boats apparent wind is cause by the boats speed as well as the true wind direction, and that makes course keeping unreliable, often resulting is big variations in course and continuous speed changes.
I stumbled on your site during a search for an affordable windvane and found your site. Will this system produce enough power to steer my Pearson 40 (modified balanced rudder) for extended periods in heavy weather.I was wondering if the SS gears would be more appropriate as well. Thank You. Bruce
The power a windvane self steering system can deliver is directly related to the size of the pendulum blade, and the height above the water. The higher the mounting, the longer the pendulum rudder, the higher the force the system can generate.
But the the actual force depends on how light the boats steering actually is. An un-balanced barn door rudder will require more force to steer the boat than a fully balanced spade rudder. The lightness of the transmission in the rudder system is also a factor.
Unless there is a high reduction or high friction in the transmission, in most boats Y&B with the standard length rudder (1450 mm) should work well.
I have an Irwin 34 with dodger Bimini. Will your wind vane be able to be extended above the height without compromising it's function?
It would be possible to extend the height.
This requires a custom vanebase and some extra materials.
As long as the vanebase can be made together with the others for the spring batch, cost would not need to be very high.
I have a Cal 25 and would like to purchase self steering to be combined with a center mounted outboard engine.
Is the Mr. Vane sufficient and does the mounting kit come with the turning blocks I need to complete the system?
From pictures available on the internet it seems that most cal 25s have an outboard engine in a cut-out in the transom.
That allow for the use of a standard length outboard engine which would leave too little space for any windvane self steering system, including Mr. Vane.
Mr. Vane was designed to be used in combination with a centrally mounted outboard engine on a lifting outboard bracket.
This generally requires a long tail or extra long tail outboard engine.
It may be possible to fit Y&B around the outboard engine, but that would mean that the outboard can no longer be tilted up during sailing.
Generally speaking, Mr. Vane is intended for smaller boats, and Y&B is intended for any size up to 12 meters. Other sizes of boats may work too but hey, this is a general answer.
The other mayor difference is in the mounting options.
Y&B standard offers an integrated solution for the vast majority of boats, and the flat configuration of Mr. Vane ads some options for even more situations, primarily on smaller boats.
For the best comparison, please refer to the Mister Vee Product Brochure from the download section.
my 20 ft. sailboat has a transom held rudder. do i want Mr. Vane or Y&B ? thank you.
For a boat with a transom hung rudder I recommend Y&B standard with an extra mounting tube.
This system has a mounting kit included that together with the extra mounting tube allows for mounting around and behind the rudder.
For fitting to smaller boats Y&B can be ordered with a short pendulum rudder, which is a free option.