For our blue water trip, we installed a Windpilot on our OVNI 435 in order to minimize energy consumption and to not depend on the electric autopilot only.
Considerations for installing the Windpilot Pacific
At the beginning we didn’t know what to do with the swim ladder, because it was in the middle of the stern, right there where the wind pilot should be mounted.
No problem, Peter Förthmann told us. The force, the Windpilot Pacific applies to the boat is just the force it takes to turn the steering wheel. In strong wind and waves a bit more than in light wind. So you can simply mount the Windpilot on the lid of the bathing ladder and somehow lock the lid. That’s exactly what we did. The front side of the lid is clamped between two small plates, which can be tightened with three screws. The back part of the lid is held together with another hinge and two screws. Therefore we replaced the old lid with a new aluminum plate, which is 10 cm longer. In addition, we have attached two small L profiles on the back to hold the new plate. It gets more clear in the pictures and the video.
Windpilot installation video
For the transmission to the steering wheel we used 4mm Spektra and blocks with ball bearings from the time we were sailing in 470 :=). Our goal was to reduce friction as much as possible.
If you are at anchor for a long time, you can take the Windpilot away with two screws, open the lid and fold out the swim ladder. For short bathing sequences, you can also open the lid with mounted Windpilot, as you can see in the video.
With our installation we sailed across the Atlantic and the Pacific without any problems and the Windpilot Pacific has steered over 90% of the time. During passages we normally didn’t need to run the engine for electricity while others complained feeding their electric autopilot :=)
Please note that the installation for a Windpilot “Pacific Plus”, which has its own rudder, is mechanically more complex to install. You have to transfer the power of the additional rudder to the hull. But there are hundreds of photos on the Windpilot blog with installations on very different shapes of sterns.
Our experience with the Windpilot and how to adjust it you will find an up-coming post.