Features January 2018 Issue

A Do-it-Yourself Wind Sensor

For more than 20 years, I always had bow-mounted vanes—a Telo Cat on my beach cat and a Windex sport on my Stiletto 27. The Telo Cat was sheltered under the forestay bridle and bowsprit and was never damaged. The long bows of the Stiletto kept the Windex out of harm’s way—although the Stiletto had a spinnaker, it reached faster than the wind and we always tacked downwind, jibing the chute inside like a jib and keeping the sail and sheets away from the bows. When I moved on to a PDQ32 catamaran, a cruising cat with a chute that is jibed outside, there was no place where either a sail or sheet couldn’t pulverize the vane in short order. I learned this the hard way, crumpling several commercial vanes. The solution was not to build something strong, but rather to build something that could flex with the assault and pop back up; a flexible wand topped with a length of yarn.

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