Westsail Owners Alliance - Thread: "Best Self Steering Windvane For W32?"
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Thread: "Best Self Steering Windvane For W32?"

12,268 posts on 2,444 threads   •   From Mar 07, 2004 - Jan 08, 2012


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Best Self Steering Windvane For W32?

Mike McCoy

I'm kinda partial to the Aries SS & Bronze model I have on the Haliai. Built like the proverbial brick $***house and works amazingly well.

Unfortunately they aren't made anymore. If I were to ever need to replace it (which I doubt) if I couldn't find another Aries I think I'd take a hard look at a Cape Horn.


david wiencke (Guest)

Any opinions as to the best windvane self steerer for a westsail 32?

Michael Dougan

Mike, I recently bought a number of replacement bushings and things for my Aries, I got them from Helen Franklin, I think the daughter of the guy that invented the Aries... their website is:


They still have a lot of stuff in stock. Helen is a bit slow, so, if you're working with her through e-mail, you might have to break down and just call her... and since she's in England, it's a bit expensive.

There is another website that sells "new" Aries equipment...


I have no major complaints about mine, except that it adds a lot of hardware hanging off the back of the boat, and the fold up servo rudder is a bit hard to fold up and down. But, it sails well, handles the boat even in a pretty stiff blow.

I've heard other people rave about the Cape Horn, so, if I were starting from scratch, I'd definitely give that a look-over.

Mike McCoy

Michael, I guess I was misleading in that I meant the model I have (the Stainless & Bronze Model #4) isn't made anymore. You are correct in that Aries in Denmark offers new Aries windvanes.

Unfortunately, there are very few parts available for my model, just what is interchangable with later models, i.e. rudders, vanes, couplings, etc.. OTOH it is 100% metal (no delrin, etc. to wear out) and according to Helen I shouldn't need any parts anyway as nothing ever seems to wear out on the #4. I did contact Helen for a spare rudder coupling though. At 54.00 shipped (about $100 USD!) that seems a little pricy for an 8" piece of alum tube with a groove in it. So instead I'm going to have a couple machined locally.

Regarding lifting the rudder: I have a small line tied to the rudder below the (breakaway) rudder coupling. The other end is then tied 'topside' to the main shaft. I just lift on the line and the rudder raises up no problem. This 'lifing line' also allows me to tie off the raised rudder in the up position to keep it up/out of the water when not in use.

Plus, if the coupling ever breaks it serves as a tether that will keep the rudder attached to the boat for retrieval.

The good thing about all that hardware back there is at least the Stainless & Bronze model is absolutely gorgeous ('museum quality' as Helen puts it) & very 'shippy' looking ;)

Norm Rhines

David :
I have a monitor ( I like it!, I like the company, the vane wasn't cheap.) recomendations well (Monitor, cape horn) others may work but, I know these two, do work. ( my prefrance You may have guessed, the one I have " A monitor".

Doug Campbell

Robin had a Wind Pilot on her when we bought he in May. The prior owner, Scotty Allen, said the disign is by a former Aries employee. It is much simpler and very easy to use. Since it is our first vane steering, we can't compare. But in 5 knots and 15 knots it keeps Robin on a steady course on any point of sail. The construction looks durable, as well. So we could recommend it.

Robert V. Cooley Jr.

Have only used the Cape Horn Vane. I love it. installation was easy, rigging it was easy, learning to use it was easy, and it sailed my Westsail 99.5% of the time during a trip from Virginia to Bermuda, to the Azores, to the Canary Islands, to Cape Verde Islands, to Barbados, and to near Grenada. This includes days with winds over 50 kts down to very light air conditions. I heard that a number of other Westsail owners made a group buy several years ago but I didn't get that price break but was considering the Monitor which cost much more. See comments I left at capehorn.com.


S/V Journey
W32 1973 hull # 103

Randell 'Randy' Kocurek

Has anyone tried a homebuilt windvane/servo system like the Pardeys built for each of their two boats? They say it works fine for a fraction of the cost of the big pendulum servo names. Probably in "Self-Sufficient Sailor". It sure looks simple and would appear to adapt perfectly to a WS 32. Home built = home repair option.

Norm Rhines


I am not sure if it is just westsailors who try to build it themselves or what, but after Building a w32 from less than a bare hull (goobered together) I can tell you that in all but one case it would have been cheaper to buy the gold plated special from a manufacture. The one exception was the sink in the head which I used a 5qt ss mix bowel = 5.50USD and 1 hr labor. Vers 600.00 from one mfg.

I own a monitor it is fantastic and as far as I can tell not one person has ever complained about the design or its performance they are tops. New they go for around 3K +/- (Scanmar might go for a group rate? or a show rate?) But in any case (You, me or Joe could not fabricate there unit for there price it would cost us more?that is why they call it manufacturing") But if you own a weld shop and have free ss tube you could do it for about the same.

I have seen several system like the Pardeys and they reportedly work?, so if you are in a place that shipping and customs are real big $$$$$$$ but raw parts are available then that may be your best bet.

If you are in the USA, then just order a stock unit for list price. Write off next months marina, food and beer costs and apply them to the vane, as you are saving a months time and frustration buy not building it yourself. = not a bad deal unless you consider your time worthless.

In any case I wish you the best with what ever vane you finally decide to go with.


S/V Imagine
W32 1975 hull #564

P.s. The cool thing about Scanmar is that they make home repair easier then a redo it your self project. I have found there service better than excellent. But hey, they sent me a free (including shipping) short plastic air blade when I complained about my (10 year) old style wooden blade warping because I stored it where it was wet.

Mike McCoy

Just an interesting side note re; my Aries SS/Bronze model.

This past weekend was Guatemalan Independence day (Sept 15). Big BIG celebration here. All the rich Guatemalans come down from the City and take their 30, 40, 50 foot powerboats out for a spin up/down the Rio. Needless to say, there is some serious wake action around the marina.

We're all med moored, stern to here. Most people use a plank from the dock to their stern to get on/off their boats. To protect the wood caprail/boomkin, I have a short 2 X 12" plank extending straight out from the dock (Sort of like a diving board). I just walk out the 'diving board' and step up onto the boomkin.

Anyway, a HUGE wake came thru... we call em 'tsunamis', or yell a warning 'Surf's up!'... and the boat waddled back & forth, pitching madly up & down. The servo rudder post (I'd removed the actual servo rudder itself) came down on the 2X12 and snapped it off even with the dock like a popsickle stick. No damage at all the the vane.

Randell 'Randy' Kocurek

THanks for your advice, and no, I definitely do not value my time at zero. Even the Pardeys said it may be cheaper to buy a manufactured unit given the time factor. I am glad you like your Monitor windvane. If I had to buy one tomorrow, I think that is what I'd go with, but I don't have to decide quite yet. Sounds like the Cape Horn has got to be examined, too. Thanks for the message.

Don and Margaret Lacoste

I've been trying to get more members to take advantage of Cape Horn group buy on their Toucana model, designed specifically for the W-32. I need three members who need a vane to get a 15% discount. That gets the cost of the vane down to around $2500. per unit which is a VERY good deal compared to other manufacturers. I have posted some info on the Group Buy section but thought I would add this info to this thread as well.

I have not yet placed any order and have two of us somewhat committed for purchase. It takes about 12 weeks to get these units built. Cape Horn required a $500 deposit and then payment in full at time of shipping.

Please look at Group Buy thread for more info.


Mick Swain

Is there anybody who has a Cape Horn vane up and running on a 32 who could give me a few pointers?

Aaron Norlund


We just had a group buy of 21 Cape Horn wind vanes. Some of the new owners should have something to say, and there was some feedback from current owners as well.

Check this link out:
Cape Horn Group Buy

Aaron N.

Randell 'Randy' Kocurek

The old Aries on my boat that I don't believe has seen duty in 11 years appears to be perfectly operable after one day of removing from the boat, cleaning, and oiling, oiling, oiling. It's the hinged base model made with primarily annodized alloys and aluminum, no bronze. It was made between 1981-990 or so. They still make parts, I read.

scott caskey

Bud, or anyone know of a source for the clamps that support the Aries from below the Boomkin. One of these castings is cracked adjaceant to the bolthole and I'm not getting an enthusiastic response from the local aluminum Weldor. I wrote Helen Franklin but no answer.


Bud Taplin

Probably easiest to fabricate one from a stanless steel strap, and a block of teak with a half circle cutout to accept the support tube.

Randell 'Randy' Kocurek

Hey Scott,
Sorry to hear of your plight.
I was so fortunate to not have to tinker with those what I would call mounting clamps, much like engine mounts in the engine room, right?
I got the Aries reinstalled today, and found I never had to remove the hinge pin in the first place.
I am not enthusiastic about the teak supports in the under the boomkin frame, but will leave well enough alone.
However, I've been thru the system, for several days and agree with Bud. Just have it fabricated and be done with it. George S. saw it today and kept saying how amazing it was that it was so clean and servicable.
Good luck. You have a great windvane property to protect.

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