The advice given on this site is based upon individual or quoted experience, yours may differ.
The Officers, Staff and members of this site only provide information based upon the concept that anyone utilizing this information does so at their own risk and holds harmless all contributors to this site.
My question is about setting angle of the reference tabs. The box says "65 degrees for auxiliaries and similar types; 60 degrees for normal ocean racers; 55 degrees for boats with extremely good windward performance.”
I had assumed for a 40-year-old C-25, I'd go with 65 or close to it (I thought 60 was about average for a cruiser style boat); however, when searching here, I found that older thread referenced above which mentions 45 degrees - an angle not even contemplated by the Windex people for the best pointers.
I know I'm probably overthinking this, and tell-tales are more important, but still, the mast is down only so often, so I want to get it as useful as possible. Any tips?
I'm not replying as to the angles but rather offering a tip before you install the Windex. Those square tabs are glued onto the rods with a minimal amount of glue and are subject to falling off down the line. Do yourself a favor and add a blob of epoxy to reinforce the tab to rod joint.
Scott-"IMPULSE"87'C25/SR/WK/Din.#5688 Sailing out of Glen Cove,L.I Sound
I reinstalled the Windex about 3 years ago and went with 60°. The more important factor is making sure both tabs are exactly symmetrical. In practice, I’ve found best upwind sailing performance when the Windex is at the tab angle. If I pinch too much, forward speed suffers badly.
Forget about setting the angle on those arms; just take them off!
For several reasons, those arms are essentially meaningless; they attempt to quantify something that is far too variable to be gauged as precisely as a pair of fixed metal rods.
The Windex vane is a useful tool, but only as an approximation, not an analytical measurement.
We look at it to help us sail as close to the wind as we can. But a number of factors other than apparent breeze need to be evaluated and taken into account in that determination, and the conditions that affect how close to the wind we can point are continuously changing.
Probably the most important factor is the surface condition of the water: the choppier it becomes the more we need to fall off. It takes very little to slow a Catalina 25 or even stop it dead in the water, but even lesser degrees of chop have an effect - a powerful effect - on it's ability to point optimally.
Another important factor is the shape of your sails, based on both cut and condition. Since that can vary so much from one boat to another, the Windex angle for your boat could be very different from mine.
Even the vertical gradient of the wind velocity plays a part: wind speed increases as the distance of the measurement above the water increases, and that's not constant either.
All of this adds up to making the Windex a very imprecise gauge for determining how close to the wind to try to point. It's helpful, to a very approximate degree, so it's worth having that vane and checking it periodically. Those rods, however, can be misleading and can actually be counterproductive if one places too much importance on that information.
It takes experience - experience with your boat as it's set up, and experience with a wide variety of environmental conditions - to be able to sail as efficiently as possible. Over time you'd recognize how far beyond those rods you can actually pinch in some conditions or how far inside of that angle you need to stay in others. This will be true regardless of where those rods are set, so the specific angle is irrelevant.
In fact, the rods themselves are irrelevant once you gain sufficient experience that you can ignore them. The entire V apparatus fell off mine one day, and I discovered that it didn't matter. I still look at the direction of the vane - frequently - but I'm only looking at the approximate angle off dead ahead. I'm also looking at the tell-tails on my sails, especially as I sheet them in while adjusting my course. And I'm watching how fast the water glides by; every time my knotmeter paddle becomes fouled I have to gauge my speed that way anyhow. Even the degree of boat heel is important to watch. All of these things together tell me whether I'm sailing as efficiently to weather as I possibly can.
Whenever someone asks me if I ever race my boat, I blithely tell them: "Yes, every time I go out; just never against other boats." I'm an Engineer, after all. But even as an Engineer, a member of a fraternity who live by quantitative analysis of objective data, I don't feel the need to replace those rods on my Windex, let alone care what angle I'd set them to if they were still there. So, I'm recommending that you set them somewhere around 60 degrees apart and then begin to learn how to interpret the information they provide, and don't fixate on the specific angle between the vane and those rods.
Or,just leave 'em off and learn to sail that boat - YOUR boat - in as wide a variety of conditions as you can experience.
The trouble with a destination - any destination, really - is that it interrupts The Journey.
Lee Panza SR/SK #2134 San Francisco Bay (Brisbane, CA)
I agree with everything Lee says except his suggestion to take off the index arms. At the least, they don't hurt anything by being there, but you'll probably find some uses for them. The mere fact that they're so ubiquitous suggests that most people find them helpful.
I find them invaluable for sailing at night, especially if the boat has a masthead light, which illuminates the vane. It's a very accurate way to steer the boat and keep it in the groove when you can't see the tell tales. If you don't have a masthead light, you can point a flashlight at it periodically.
I also use the Windex when tacking the boat in daylight or at night. One of the most common reasons why people tack badly is by over-steering the tack. If the helmsman steers the boat past closehauled, then the crew must pull in the jibsheet by hand until it becomes heavily loaded with the wind, and then he has to grind the winch hard to bring the boat up to closehauled. If instead you stop the turn when the boat is at the closehauled angle, the crew can pull in almost all the jibsheet by hand, before the sail loads up, and only needs 2-3 cranks of the winch handle to trim it to closehauled. When I tack the boat, I'm not usually looking ahead. I look around me before starting the tack, so I know where other boats are, and then I look up at the vane and watch it turn as the boat turns. When the arrow is in line with the index, I stop the turn. It helps me steer the boat very accurately through the tack. I use the vane the same way when gybing, especially under spinnaker.
The vane is also useful in predicting a wind shift. In light air the wind often comes and goes. When it comes back, it often returns from a different direction. Because the vane is at the masthead, a wind shift will be indicated by a movement of the vane a few seconds before the sails or tell tales will show it. Many times I have detected a light air wind shift by watching the vane, and quickly re-trimmed my sails to get the boat moving. Meanwhile, the other boats were still trying to get the boat moving by trimming to the old wind direction.
My point is, you'll probably find ways to use the index arms if you have them. The index arms aren't precise by any means, but they provide a useful reference.
Steve Milby C&C 35 Landfall ("Captiva Wind"); Cal 25 ("Fahrvergnügen") Past Commodore
I have to agree with Steve on the usefulness of the Windex, especially on a lake such as Canyon where small or large windshifts are a constant due to the shore topography. The Windex picks up small shifts a few seconds before the sails do, a great advance "warning" especially for a racer.
Derek Crawford Chief Measurer C25-250 2008 Previous owner of "This Side UP" 1981 C-25 TR/FK #2262 Used to have an '89 C22 #9483, "Downsized" San Antonio, Texas
Notice: The advice given on this site is based upon individual or quoted experience, yours may differ. The Officers, Staff and members of this site only provide information based upon the concept that anyone utilizing this information does so at their own risk and holds harmless all contributors to this site.