Mailport April 2014 Issue

Mailport: April 2014

Windvane vs. Birds

Photos courtesy of Robin Leigh

Robin Leigh’s Gemini 3000 ghosts in light air.


In regard to the March 2014 wind instrument reviews: I installed a Garmin package, including a GWS10, a little over a year ago. The unit works well enough, but the flimsy windvane has fallen victim to birds three times.

The biggest threat to a windvane is birds, not rough weather. This applies to all models, from a simple Windex (estimated life expectancy about three months) to the old Nav5 all-metal vane.

I plan to retrofit our Garmin GWS10 wind indicator with a bird deterrent. This unit is the second replacement vane from Garmin (no charge); the first one, which had no bird deterrent, lasted only a month before being killed by birds.

Photos courtesy of Robin Leigh

Iteration No. 2 of Leigh’s windvane: Note that the stainless fishing leader wire was twisted to stay on.

The new bird deterrent will be made from an old VHF antenna and stainless fishing leader. The old antenna will overhang the vane while the fishing leader will be attached to the vane in the shape of a “V,” centered on the vane’s axis. There is no modification of the vane itself, but others should be aware that this modification most likely nullifies the maker warranty.

I’ve found that the “V” works well without unbalancing the vane. On our last attempt using the “V” on the vane’s axis, the GWS10 windvane lasted about six months. A similar addition to our previous instrument, an all-metal Nav5, lasted for several years after a small initial bending. In my opinion, the “V” setup should be a factory feature. I will let you know how it holds up.

Robin Leigh
Vision, 1989 Gemini 3000
Jacksonville, Fla.

Next: Instrument Range

Comments (2)

While wind and birds get their share of windvanes, add crowded marinas to the list. In high winds, all of the boats in a crowded marina rock, but not in sync. When one boat heels 15 deg to starboard, and its next door neighbor heels 15 deg port, the mastheads meet and windvanes get punished.

Jim Neece
Poco Loco, 1990 Oday 322
Austin, TX

Posted by: JIM N | April 2, 2014 11:16 PM    Report this comment

I have been using wag bags for years now. I have a 30 foot sailboat and cannot imagine lugging around 10 to 20 gallons of sloshing sewage in my holding tank. I plan to remove the all head plumbing and the holding tank. the toilet will remain but only wag bags will be used. They fit perfectly in the toilet bowl.

Posted by: Mike Cunningham | March 29, 2014 1:37 AM    Report this comment

New to Practical Sailor?
Register for Free!

Already Registered?
Log In