Mounting a windvane gear

Mounting a windvane gear on wooden, aluminium or steel boats poses no problems at all since all three materials have sufficient local strength. There is no real need to reinforce the inside of the transom and those owners who choose to anyway do so mainly for the good of their nerves.

The inside of a composite hull transom, on the other hand, normally has no structural stiffening members and, depending on the particular boat and the system to be installed (weight, load distribution of mounting bracket), may well need reinforcing. The inside of a GRP hull with a sandwich laminate transom should always be reinforced around the mounting points with wood or similar before installing a windvane gear.

Important: Seal all the through hull fittings with silicone or sikaflex on the outside only. If you seal on the inside as well it will be impossible to check for leakage in the outer sealing and any water entering will penetrate into the laminate undetected.

The fastening components of a windvane gear should always be through-bolted on a steel or aluminium hull. The alternative, welding reinforcing patches onto the outside of the transom so that the bolts can be accommodated in blind holes, will indeed prevent water leaking into the hull, but is very difficult to repair after a collision. It also causes substantial corrosion in steel hulls. Both steel and aluminium possess sufficient local material strength to support installation of a windvane gear without any extra stiffening measures.

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