Some of you may remember that our Monitor Windvane bit the dust this year. I had mentioned that we’d be installing a new Monitor to replace the old one. The decision to go back with a Monitor Windvane was not taken lightly. Since we had changed so much of the back of the boat with the new boomkin and parts we had the freedom to pick whatever type of self steering gear we might want, but we decided to keep with the Scanmar Monitor Windvane.

After speaking to Scanmar on the phone, they offered us a great deal. If we returned the old windvane, they’d give us a thousand dollars off the purchase of a new Windvane. We were the “pilot” customer for this offer and we were very happy to take it. Financial incentive aside, Roger Firey had high praise for the windvane and we had enjoyed its use on the boat when we were sailing with it before removing the old one. The other windvanes on the market looked alright but Scanmar had proven their service to us and their solution looked extremely robust compared to other models I had looked into. A proven track record, great service, and financial incentive were enough to make us pull the trigger on a brand new Monitor.

Installing the new windvane which arrived a few months ago was one of my last remaining “big” projects that had to be done before our departure. A couple of weekends ago we finally got to install it.

The new model was to be mounted off the back of the boomkin with two “adapter” plates. These were sold to us by Bud Taplin. They are really just big pipes welded onto plates which bolt to the very back of the boomkin. The windvane is slipped onto these pipes and I drilled through then bolted into place.
Our new scanmar monitor windvane

I loosely bolted the plates on, then put the windvane in place and tied it securely to the boomkin before drilling through the pipes. I did this from the dink. The Monitor had pilot holes drilled to make this easier. I used a 5/16″ Cobalt speed tip bit for this drilling and liberally applied oil as I drilled. These pipes are very thick. It took a long time to make the holes for those bolts.

After that two struts are screwed to the bottom of the windvane and then led to “tabs” on the boomkin and bolted. I had to cut the struts to length then through bolt them as well, again with 5/16″ bolts. My poor old angle grinder went through two cutting wheels to cut the stainless pipe. And in the process, I am happy to report I only broke off two bits.

This windvane mounting was extremely simple because Scanmar and Bud Taplin had already engineered everything to fit together. In one afternoon Sundowner had her self steering back in place!
Aft view of our new scanmar monitor windvane
Side view of our new scanmar monitor windvane

We were also aided by the fact that the routing for the lines to the tiller were also already done.
Our scanmar monitor windvane steering cables

I’m very pleased with the new look. The Monitor is REALLY on there. No wiggle and super sturdy. Heavy duty and looking the part. Some features I noticed and really like of the newer Monitor are:

  • All 316 Stainless (The old one was 304)
  • The gears are either cast or billet stainless (the old one was bronze), so no possibility of slop
  • The air vane is made of corrugated plastic and is a lot bigger
  • The control lines to the rudder are now spectra with little stretch
  • The tiller attachment is no longer chain but instead uses cam cleats

Last thing on the list is mounting/hooking up the new solar panels and this weekend we’ll be moving aboard. Yippee.