How does it work?

All present-day Vane Steering gears use the same operating principles.

A windvane reacts to changes in the apparent wind direction and transmits this reaction to the servo pendulum in the water which, in turn, operates the boat’s steering or an auxiliary rudder.
The windvane itself does not possess sufficient power to steer the boat, this is augmented by the servo pendulum. The energy required for this is generated by the forward motion of the boat, through the flow of the water along the submerged portion of the servo pendulum. The connection between the wind-vane and the servo pendulum is through struts or a gear train.

Advantages over electric autopilots:

  • It does not require electrical energy for its operation.
  • It can be used in all conditions, even in strong winds.
  • Its simple construction allows repairs to be made with on-board tools.
  • The sails keep their trim even in variable wind conditions.
  • It is quiet in operation.
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