My first experience with a wind Vane Gear
was as crew on a small yacht sailing from Norway to the UK across
the North Sea. There were three of us on board but being the
youngest I was stuck with most of the steering. There was a lot
of discussion about wind vanes at this period in the yachting
press but none were available commercially so in this case the
skipper had made his own. The yacht had an outboard hung rudder
and had a trim tab on the trailing edge of the rudder, a system
that can work very well indeed.
The trouble was that the vane gear almost
worked but not quite. It would hold a course for perhaps ten
seconds and then lose it before deviating. After a few hours
of fiddling about with it and becoming more exhausted from steering
I started to wonder what a good vane gear was worth.
As already mentioned, there was much interest
and discussion about vane gears but I felt most of it was of
the 'eccentric professor' type such as 'how to build your vane
from used bicycle parts for £3' laudable in itself but
no good for most sailors.