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Fleming Wind Vane

Posted by on March 29, 2009

A Fleming mechanical self-steering wind vane came with Apropos and has been kept in my garage the past 4 years.  It’s an older model built in the 1980′s, but appears to be in great shape.  The system is a bulky stainless steel mechanical marvel that weighs a ton.  It attaches to the stern with 4 struts and its purpose is to steer the boat in a desired direction using only the wind.  It has a wind vane, a small rudder attached to a pendulum, and a drum that connects to the wheel.  Once the boat is heading in a desired direction with respect to the wind, the pendulum will make adjustments to the wheel whenever the heading (with respect to the wind) changes.  A linkage (two 6 mil nylon lines) goes from the pendulum to a wheel adapter, which is a drum fastened to the wheel.  The drum is wrapped 3-4 times with 8 mil nylon rope that has eyes on both ends.  These systems are very helpful for offshore cruising so you don’t have to sit behind the wheel hand steering all the time.  I recently took the system apart and freed the toothed adjusting disc that had seized from years of sitting around.  It took lots of WD-40 solvent and some time before it finally turned easily.  The only piece I believe is missing is the drum that connects onto the wheel.  Tonight I finally got thru to Fleming (based in Australia) and ordered a new stainless steel wheel adapter and a storm vane (a smaller wind vane used when the wind is really blowing).  Both will be shipped to Sydney since we’re going there in a few weeks.  They were $643 AUS including shipping.  I plan on hooking it up to Apropos this summer and trying it out during our trip to the Gulf Islands in August.

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