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Auto-Helm FAQ

1. Windvane material - What material is the best for windvanes (stainless steel, aluminum, or bronze)?

Stainless is the best material for strength and reliability in a saltwater environment. The Auto-Helm’s lower unit, the rudder parts and all the mounting hardware are made of U.S. made 316L stainless steel. The stainless steel provides a high level of corrosion resistance and
in this regard, is superior to aluminum. A bronze component in the Saye’s Rig windvane mix well with stainless, and merely turns green in a salt-water environment. The Monitor windvane is made of all 316L stainless steel. This provides both corrosion resistance and high strength.

Aluminum castings assembled with stainless steel tubing and fastenings are prone to severe corrosion and freezing. If an aluminum and stainless steel windvane is not taken apart and serviced regularly it may be difficult to disassemble. If you have a collision and crack in
aluminum casting you cannot easily weld it and the part should be exchanged for a new casting.

2. Distributors and resellers - Do you have distributors and resellers I can buy from and receive service?

Scanmar windvanes are manufactured at our facility in San Leandro, California. In addition to selling factory-direct, we have established strategic relationships with select resellers in Europe and New Zealand. These resellers sell and service Scanmar’s windvanes and provide expert consultation.

3. Cost of a windvane - What's the full cost of a Scanmar windvane?
The list price of the Auto-Helm, Saye's Rig, and Monitor includes everything that is needed except for the blocks for the operating lines (Monitor only). The majority of our windvanes are installed by the customer.


4. Customer service - What service can I expect after I buy one of Scanmar’s windvanes?
Scanmar is recognized for both the quality of the gear and its superlative customer service. All Scanmar’s customers receive expert advice, help, and support throughout the purchasing lifecycle. Expert consultation is available by phone and email during normal business hours
Monday thru Friday Pacific time. All parts for the Saye's Rig, Auto-helm and Monitor are in stock and orders are filled and shipped quickly.

5. Operating line set-up - I do not want lines in the cockpit. Why not get a system without lines?
Both the Saye’s rig and the Auto-helm require no lines in the cockpit. The majority of the Saye’s Rig and Auto-helm installs are on more traditional and classic boats. For many of these boats, a Monitor windvane isn’t a good option because of the transom configuration, rudder design or type of steering. Please call or email us to help determine which windvane is the best for your boat.

4. Hydraulic steering systems – Can a windvane work with a boat that has hydraulic steering?
Any of Scanmar’s windvanes including the Saye’s Rig, Auto-helm, and Monitor can work with hydraulic steering with some adaptation. The Saye’s Rig is a hybrid auxiliary rudder system and works independently from the ships helm. Therefore, the windvane works well with hydraulic steering if a bypass valve is installed in the system to relieve back pressure and reduce the amount of force required to move the rudder. Both the Auto-helm and the Monitor windvane can work well with hydraulic steering – again if a bypass valve is installed. For the Monitor, the control lines need to be run to an on-deck emergency tiller instead of to the wheel. In this configuration, the Monitor will self-steer the same as a tiller equipped boat.

5. Davits – Do I have to give up the davits if I want to install a windvane?

Many boats equipped with davits have installed an Auto-Helm auxiliary rudder because theairvane assembly can be mounted independent of the rudder asembly. The remote airvansends a signal through low friction stainless steel pull/pull cables to the trim tab that controls
the water paddle and steers the boat. Positioning the airvane turret remotely also avoids other obstructions like towers and bimini’s and opens it up it to clean air.

Note: When in port or island hopping a dinghy can easily be deployed and recovered when using davits. Due to the danger of swamping and damaging the boat, we recommend stowing or lashing a dinghy on the foredeck when at sea.

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