Some of you may remember our Monitor Windvane from previous posts where we spoke about learning how to use it and how well it was able to steer the boat.
Old Monitor windvane

Well we had stripped it off of the back of the boat when we rebuilt the boomkin and it had just sort of been lurking around. First it rode around in the back of my truck for a while and then after that it found a home on the back table. But finally, last weekend we got to it. We collected a big box of spare parts and bought a new set of hex wrenches, etc in prep to tear it down and refurbish whatever might need work.

Well before we really dug in, I started to just scrutinize the thing and the findings were not too rosy. I spotted this crack in the top part of the yoke that controls the wind blade and the counterweight.
Cracks in Monitor windvane fitting

It looks a LOT like crevice corrosion to me. And so it got me wondering how old this windvane was and just what it was made out of and how much abuse it had seen. I do have one record of it from the Scanmar website which was in the form of a fax from Roger Firey.
Comments from Roger and Molly Firey
With a photo of it from that time, which it looks alright, right?
Old pics of monitor windvane

Oh well, we’ll have to replace that top piece. The price for such a piece, just 300 dollars. Oh well.

So Dani scrubbed the Monitor Windvane and we worked it over with some Barkeeper’s Friend to take off any rust and spots that were on it. There we were proud of how well it shined up and how new it would look on the back of Sundowner. But then I began going over every inch of it. The blocks and sheaves would all need replacing and the pendulum lines looked like they were truly ancient, but I expected all that. What I did not expect to find was this.
Cracks in Monitor windvane fitting
Cracks in Monitor windvane fitting
Cracks in Monitor windvane fitting

Those are crevice corrosion cracks in the main frame along the main support brace. Welding cannot fix this sort of insidious corrosion. So I called Scanmar and sent them photos along with our serial number and they confirmed my worst fears, our Monitor was made of 304 series stainless steel and not the more corrosion resistant 316 series. Apparently it was purchased in 1995 before they made the switch to the new metal.

The helpful people at Scanmar were able to tell me the date it was manufactured and that it had seen two collisions! Along with the circumnavigation under its belt. All in all I can’t fault a piece of equipment that lasted 20 years and went around the world. I suppose its time to retire was well and truly earned. I considered our choices in replacing our windvane. There are many more brands and options today than there were when the Firey’s bought their Monitor. But given how well the boat sailed with it, I figured why not go back to Scanmar for another. Besides, Westsailors have long loved the Monitor. Evidence…

I suppose I should have expected this but it’s still a bummer to know Old Trusty has become Old Rusty. So off it goes. I ordered a brand new Monitor Windvane from Scanmar and we should get it sometime in June. Maybe along with the stove we ordered that seems to be on permanent backorder. Until then I’ll busy myself with other fun projects such as installing the staysail tracks and mounting the propane tank. By the time we’re finished we’ll have replaced everything!