Thursday, November 20, 2008

Installing Windvane Self Steering Gear Part 6 - 197

Note: If you have been referred here by another site, this is only part of a multipart series.  To see the rest of the story click here and start from the bottom.
The installation manual that comes with the Cape Horn windvane is very thorough and is obviously the culmination of years of refinement of what people need to install a complex piece of equipment like a windvane.  The owners manual starts out first with operation of a windvane.  I think that this is very important because it would be very easy to install the windvane incorrectly if you don't know how it operates.  When you first get the windvane you probably don't have much experience operating one and the one that you have is in pieces.  It paid me well to spend about a half hour reading about how my windvane operated, how it was set up, and just spend a little more time seeing how part A relates to part B.   

Now FINALLY we get to the installation part.  

1. Step one of installation is to position the gear.  Because you have everything labelled and laid out now, this will be easy.   Take the gear, and place it where it will go after you have drilled the hole.  Holding the gear in place have someone else move the rudder from lock to lock.  Do this with the emergency tiller mounted also.  And if you have an in cockpit bilge pump, move that also.  Also have someone swing the boom overhead.  Make sure that as you hold the mounting tube (the main horizontal tube that on an integrated unit goes through the hull) you hold it parallel to the center line of the boat.     You are trying to make sure that your intended installation location doesn't conflict with your rudder, tiller, steering quadrant, cables, boom, mizzen mast, bilge pump, emergency tiller, dingy davits, life raft, and man overboard system.  Again, this is easy to mess up.  Do the same thing with the windvane quadrant and control rod inside the boat.  Move everything to maximum extension.  Try to imagine the boat heeled over on it's side.  Try to imagine getting things in and out of spaces the windvane will occupy.  

This may sound like a lot of work, but actually is easy to do if you have everything laid out and labelled.  It is much easier now to make corrections, than to have to make major changes in your rig or steering system because you are committed because of a hole in your vessel.  

This is the same process I go through with any marine gear I install, and it really has nothing to do with the complexity or lack thereof in the Cape Horn gear.  

The next step is to trace the center of the mounting tube and drill the smallest hole in that spot you can manage (1/8th inch or smaller).


Re-check everything you just checked above inside and out.  It is easy to plug this hole and put one in a different spot, and you can move at least 1.5 inches in any direction from that hole and still be within the radius of the final space of the mounting tube.  Play around.  Imagine how everything works.  Go out to lunch.  Take a nap.  Come back and check everything again.  
At this point you should have a completely solid understanding of how all of this is going to fit together and the spaces each part will occupy in their total operating range.  

If everything checks out the next step is drilling the mounting tube hole.

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