Welcome to the Maunie of Ardwall blog

This is the blog of Maunie of Ardwall. After a six-year adventure sailing from Dartmouth to Australia, we are now back in Britain.

Sunday, 13 November 2011

More post-repaint work - re-fitting the Windpilot

Whilst Maunie is still inside the Baltic Wharf Repairs shed we thought it'd be a good idea to refit the boarding ladder and the Windpilot self-steering gear onto the transom. Unfortunately we had discovered, through email correspondence with the Windpilot people in Germany, that the original installation was 'very bad' - the designer, Peter, asked for more photos to be sent and advised that the upper and lower mounting brackets were too close together and the angle of dangle was entirely wrong.

So, what we thought would be a case of 'just' re-bolting the 60kg aluminium kit using existing bolt holes turned into about 6 hours of fiddling with the geometry of the beast to get a better angle. Of course, we'd get one bit right, then have to adjust one of the lower legs only to find that it had put the original measurements out. After much fiddling, we eventually got to the best compromise, took a brave pill and drilled four new holes for the lower brackets. Just hope it's OK!

I should, perhaps, explain what the Windpilot does (though the name sort of explains it). On a long offshore passage we can attach a wind vane to the top, lock the main steering wheel and then the Windpilot steers the boat using its own rudder to keep the boat at the same angle to the wind. Unlike 'Constance', our electronic autopilot, 'Winnie' does this completely silently and uses no electricity. However, if the direction of the wind shifts, the boat will just follow it so Winnie isn't great for use on coastal passages.

We finally finished the job at about 4.30pm and now just have to find a neat way of hiding the original bolt holes!

The Vancouver Yachts Association dinner

We drove down to Chichester last weekend for an owners' open day at the Northshore yard where Maunie was built. Sadly, the Vancouver marque is being gently dropped by the company as they concentrate on producing Southerly lift-keel boats but there were quite a few Vancouver owners there.

An evocative sight greeted us as we walked around the yard - the original moulds, from which Maunie appeared back in 1997. It seems unlikely that they be ever used again, which is a great shame.

On a more positive note, we then went to the Vancouver Yachts Association annual dinner and met some really interesting folk - most of them have thousands of miles under their belts. We were particularly interested to talk to Kevin, an ex-Northshore director who had played an important part in the design of the pilothouse 34 and 38 and had sailed on Maunie several times with her first owner!