Cynical sailor

Which way the wind blows

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I don't use them. At most, maybe some yarn on the shrouds. I sail mostly by the tell-tails on the sail and speed of the boat. I hate masthead vanes. I get a crick in my neck and loose sight of what is happening on the course.

I grew up sailing with an old guy that just used his ears. He'd look into the wind until the wind was equal on both ears and that was where the wind was coming from. Seriously.

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Most use a masthead fly only for downwind on boats that don't do vmg jibing angles. If sailing deep down wind, shifts are hard to detect. 

Yet the normal commercial masthead fly is hard to see. 

I noticed on a number of top Lightnings a wire across the mast side to side, a little above the top. They bent down both ends a bit and tied yarn or light cassette tape (remember those?) to both ends.

They could see the yarn on either jibe. I've used it since, to good effect.

Dave Ellis

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I look at the one on the boat 2BL away. Much easier on the neck.

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16 hours ago, Cynical sailor said:

Any recommendations on a good wind vane for a 14’ dinghy?

Smoke a pipe. Makes you look more intelligent and keeps you from talking too much

 

12 hours ago, Dex Sawash said:

I look at the one on the boat 2BL away. Much easier on the neck.

Less expensive, too. I keep losing watches and wind vanes and a few other little items that I have come to view as extraneous over the years.

To read wind direction, the surface of the water is a great indicator. It's true that the wind right at the surface is not always the same as the wind 20' up, but close enough. Eve quite light winds leave tell-tale ripples

FB- Doug

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I must be "that old guy."   In 40 years of sailing (almost all of it in my Laser) I don't even like yarn.   My ears are perfectly good wind instruments, with a little bit of help from the eyes to see puffs, and keep track of the mainsail luff.

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cat or 2-sail ?

For a cat rig - look at one of those mast-mounted or foredeck jobs they use on lasers.

For something with rigging -- wools on the shrouds or look around is often best

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Close your eyes and SLOWLY rotate your head. Soon you will know the wind direction all the time. The FORCE Luke, use the FORCE! 

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Note that the old sailing ship's sailing masters never had a mustache? "Sniff" the wind best just under the nose. Try it.

Dave Ellis

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I gave up on them even for my 40er, after birds destroyed the umpteenth one.  The only time (sometimes) I miss it is when I’m leaving the dock.  

OPWV.  (Other people’s wind vanes).  I like that one....:)

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Can’t sail without one, in light air downwind it is a great tool in big fleets in slow boats, also helps you to know if you are going to be blanketed by the boats astern before it happens giving you time to make the necessary maneuvers to keep your clear air. I wonder how many people who post here about not using wind indicators are at the top of their class on a national level, or are merely mid to tail end  punters.

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2 hours ago, Major Tom said:

, or are merely mid to tail end  punters.

Guilty as charged

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I don't use a wind vane...we do ok in our class.

Perhaps if I learned how to use one we could do better...

Anyway.. The best downwind sailor I know ties a piece of ribbon to his shrouds and topping lift...

Someone else would have to explain how to use it though...

 

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Guitar string (stiff stainless wire), spring-y coil to latch it onto the shroud about 6' ~ 7' above the gun'l, extend it straight outboard about 8" then down a couple inches, and hang a 7" piece of music tape (like from an old cassette) from it.

Best wind indicator possible.

Put one on the other side, too.

Who gives a fuck what the wind is doing a foot above the top of the sail? Why hurt your neck looking up there? And, if you're looking up there, you're not looking where you're going.

Don't forget, in lighter conditions, to stand up and scan the water surface for a wide area upwind of you.

FB- Doug

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On 3/14/2018 at 1:09 PM, Major Tom said:

 I wonder how many people who post here about not using wind indicators are at the top of their class on a national level, or are merely mid to tail end  punters.

I can see racing without a compass, but not a wind indicator.  Of course, I'm just another tail end punter.

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Gustavo Lima won the 2003 laser worlds from Robert Scheidt, one of a heap of laser glories he had particularly in the light. All that without using telltales, let alone a wind vane. 

I’d be a tail end punter without tell tales unless windy. 

Some bastards just have the knack. 

 

Dan

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By the tone of the question, my guess is OP isn't that accomplished and just wants a general idea of where the wind is coming from.  Whether the direction reading is from the top of the mast or on the shroud 6 feet above the gunwale probably isn't all that important. So the answer to OP's question is "anything you can buy from a decent chandler".  Or, you can get an Allen from Intensity for $10.99.

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left ear and right ear, interpolated with the back of your neck and each cheek. Butt cheeks too if you blow your wetsuit or boardshorts out. 

edit: in all seriousness, a coat hangar, mc'donalds straw, and a piece of cassette or VHS tape is a great windvane for the top of the mast. Use a bit of good tape or get more creative if you want to start knocking holes in shit. You don't need much for a dinghy,. Also cassette tape on the shrouds can be useful for downwind sailing. 

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Hi all. Thanks for the input. I was surprised to suddenly start getting more responses, since the last one was 3/14. For now I'm just sticking with the "pay more attention" method, but I appreciate bill4's response, as it was respectful and to the point. How do I close the topic?

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A big tall Rastafarian on the foredeck with a smokin' spliff has been know to win light air races in the Caribbean. 

Image result for rasta with spliff sailing

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6 hours ago, mustang__1 said:

left ear and right ear, interpolated with the back of your neck and each cheek. Butt cheeks too if you blow your wetsuit or boardshorts out. 

edit: in all seriousness, a coat hangar, mc'donalds straw, and a piece of cassette or VHS tape is a great windvane for the top of the mast. Use a bit of good tape or get more creative if you want to start knocking holes in shit. You don't need much for a dinghy,. Also cassette tape on the shrouds can be useful for downwind sailing. 

If your boat has spreaders, and doesn't have a genoa that sheets in tight to them, a great windvane is a bit of coathanger bent into an L, taped sticking outboard and down, with 6" or so of recording tape or fuzzy yarn. Putting them right on the shrouds is better than nothing but I like to get the telltale away from the rig a bit further and also set up so they can't just wrap around and around the shroud.

The most sensitive wind indicator is a bit of fine silk thread with a piece of duck down (from an old-fashioned comforter or pillow) tied about 4~5" down. This is 99% as sensitive as pipe smoke, for those really light air days when it takes a super act of willpower to make the boat move at all

FB- Doug

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4 hours ago, Steam Flyer said:

If your boat has spreaders, and doesn't have a genoa that sheets in tight to them, a great windvane is a bit of coathanger bent into an L, taped sticking outboard and down, with 6" or so of recording tape or fuzzy yarn. Putting them right on the shrouds is better than nothing but I like to get the telltale away from the rig a bit further and also set up so they can't just wrap around and around the shroud.

The most sensitive wind indicator is a bit of fine silk thread with a piece of duck down (from an old-fashioned comforter or pillow) tied about 4~5" down. This is 99% as sensitive as pipe smoke, for those really light air days when it takes a super act of willpower to make the boat move at all

FB- Doug

did a race in a 470 a few years ago, on lake Carlisle. Took me a couple iterations of asking for more heat before i realized that we weren't on a continuing beam reach - it was just the leeward heal weighting the tape. I then proclaimed we were in no wind, at all.... while boats were moving around us. This got the reply of "GOD DAMMIT [MUSTANG__1] WE ARE NOT IN OUR PRIVATE HELL HOLE!" ..... "well, i've got some bad news... we are". That said in more than 1kt of wind the tape/straw/coathanger at the masthead worked well enough. 

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There's a particular spot on Pittwater (NSW Oz) where, in a NE breeze the wind goes round and around - while boats on the Eastern Shore sail on past likewise the Western Shore!

Where were we?

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On 4/9/2018 at 8:10 PM, jimmydyurko said:

I don't use a wind vane...we do ok in our class.

 

Never met Jimmy, but since I sail the same boat, have seen a lot of his work over the years in the class. He is being modest, IMO.

I use a windvane on my keel boat, but for the shifty wind little lake I sail my dinghys on I don't think it would be much use.   I watch the telltales and the sail luffs.  On the really windless days, the dudes who are lighting up. . .

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Hijack;

My Shop outdoor hoist is 23 feet tall to its top and I mounted a Windex on it when we first erected the hoist.

the trees next to the hoist arenow about 26 feet tall and the old Windex is useless. 

We have an old carbon mast from a Freedom 21 and we decided  to put that mast next to the hoist with a Windex on top of it. 

We carefully shoved the top of the mast just above the hoist BEFORE attaching a used Windex. We didn’t want to break it.

we installed the used Windex, shoved the mast up well above the hoist, tied it firmly in Place, and noticed the tail section had simply fallen off. 

Damn!!

we will go get a brand new Windex and try again next week. 

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On 3/14/2018 at 1:09 PM, Major Tom said:

Can’t sail without one, in light air downwind it is a great tool in big fleets in slow boats, also helps you to know if you are going to be blanketed by the boats astern before it happens giving you time to make the necessary maneuvers to keep your clear air. I wonder how many people who post here about not using wind indicators are at the top of their class on a national level, or are merely mid to tail end  punters.

+1 MT. Use Sailwriter's fly downwind  and telltails on sails for up. Don't have to use them but they are there if you want to or don't have nose or ear skills required. Cassett tape is cheap and works well.

 

On 3/12/2018 at 9:39 PM, sailwriter said:

Most use a masthead fly only for downwind on boats that don't do vmg jibing angles. If sailing deep down wind, shifts are hard to detect. 

Yet the normal commercial masthead fly is hard to see. 

I noticed on a number of top Lightnings a wire across the mast side to side, a little above the top. They bent down both ends a bit and tied yarn or light cassette tape (remember those?) to both ends.

They could see the yarn on either jibe. I've used it since, to good effect.

Dave Ellis

 

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Just a little note concerning cassette tape. Yes, there are lots of useless old cartridges around that really show light air flow. They can be noisy. However, we banned their use years ago for junior racing. Handle the tape and get your fingers near the mouth and a really severe sore throat ensues. Just sayin'

Dave Ellis

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