The Standard "minimum" wind indicator is a 15" Windex mast head. It is remarkably sensitive and will perform when other mast head indicators are dumb-founded. In extreamly light air, toliet paper taped to the back stay or a cigar to watch the smoke will be best.INSTRUMENTATION
The electronics package that I decided to use was the Autohelm
system by Raytheon. I had purchased a ST30 Speed indicator when I
first bought the boat. It allows for immediate gratification for analyzing
the sail trim. Santa made good on a 3 year old wish for a mast head wind
indicator. I had to design and fabricate an adapter for the mast head sensors,
they were designed to be bolted to a flat horizontal surface. The mast
head crane on the 525 prevents this.
I had a little help from a friend in the HVAC field, he brought me a section of 28 gage scrap galvanized sheet metal. I used thick paper to design and cut, bend and staple a proto-type.
The intent was to build a rigid box that had side flaps to be pop-rivited to the top of the mast. The pattern from the paper mockup was transferred to the sheet metal and snipped out. Using wide jaw benders, the box took shape and was pop riveted together. The box adapter was painted flat black to try to match the mast.
I had a hard time drilling a hole drilled in the bottom of the hull for the speed transducer, so when time came to think about the depth gage and transducer I decided to do a trick that my mentor (Bob Sleath, owner of Rampage a Cal2-30.) taught me, glue the transducer to the hull on the inside. Bob used silicone grease to couple his transducer to the hull. I used a 200kHz Hummingbird transducer that was intended to be strapped to a trolling motor. The results were fantastic, using 30 minute epoxy to couple the transducer to the hull, sensitivity to over 150 feet. I was more concerned over 20 feet of less.
I always have a hard time when it comes to drilling holes in an expensive boat. When I only had the speed indicator, I used a small hatch board just taller than the display. It was easy to slide in place just before a race. With more instruments this was not practical and not safe.
Usually I would kick the board when in a hurry to go below. My solution was to use hinged side boards that could easily be opened and stowed inside out of the way. The spring loaded wheels on the bottoms were from the cabinetry supply section at the local Lowes. They keep the doors in place but with a little push the doors will swing inside.
I have a tendency to stuff the chute below during a single handed take down. I don't want to have it snag and tear on anything so I will swing the doors around inside out of the way. When I over night I can keep an eye on the wind direction and speed. When used with the depth alarm settings on the ST50 depth, I feel a little more secure while at anchor.
Another advantage of this method is I can leave depth side open when I'm racing, or only use the depth side if I'm cruising ( right !, I think that I always have the instruments in use, more toys to play with).
If I were to ever sell her, I could easily take the instruments with me. The hinges are the only things keeping it there.
I've been doing a lot of single-handing. Wes has been at school (ETSU) and Anne does not like sailing( RACING) with Capt'n Blye. Cruising is acceptable in the warmer weather, especially sunset cruises. The Local sailing club has open rules allowing autopilots, so Santa was good to me last year and a ST2000+ was under the tree. Running back and forth on the deck in a blow gets a little dangerous. The Autopilot was rather simple to install. I drilled a hole on the back deck to accept the bronze pivot bearing. It was a tight fit and epoxied in place with 5 minute. The tiller was a little more involved with an aluminum bracket bent from straight stock from the local Lowes. It is held to the bottom of the tiller by a couple 10-32 screws and the main attachment to the Autopilot is a 1/4" bolt. The length of the bolt is adjustable to prevent the Autopilot from jumping off. (Itís a snug fit to remove it) The electrical connection is Ground, +12 and the Seatalk line. The connector requires a main hole ( I used a Forsner Bit) and 4 small screw holes. Just remember to place the connector where it not get in the way of something else. The Autopilot works quite well except on a dead run in a blow. I just does not have the ability to predict the actions of waves and wind like we do. Overall it gets a rating of **** 4 stars out of 5. It is not a necessity, but it does come in handy when short handed.
Should you have an instrument story, please send it to me to share with all of the other 525 owners.