DIY construction

Twenty years ago the subject of home-made windvane steering systems merited a whole chapter in books like this one. But also, 20 years ago, of course, the average boat in need of windvane steering was small enough to make DIY projects a practical alternative. The average length of today's blue water yachts is approaching 12 m / 40 ft, and even much larger yachts are not uncommon. Most owners have considerably better financial resources now as well, and with the general standard of fitting out being so high the home-made option seems less attractive.

The Bibliography lists older books on the subject of building your own windvane gear for any sailors of more moderate means who might still like to save some money this way. You should be aware, however, that there is a thriving second-hand market for good windvane systems for smaller boats. Older systems that are no longer in production have been included in the market summary in Chapter 11 to help with second-hand purchases.

We can only advise you, in the strongest possible terms, to ensure when planning a long trip on a small boat that you choose a capable and proven system rather than relying on a home-made system which falters when things get rough. Never loose sight of the bottom line: if your gear fails, you either steer by hand or go home early.

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