The Trials of my Hebridean

I have finally edited the video footage of my various trials of my Hebridean self steering system during and after my Netherlands cruise. This is a system I built over two weeks in July. Here’s the result.

Here are a few things I mention in the video that are worth repeating.

  • When I set off, my Hebridean was not complete and I had no experience with wind vanes.
  • This is a story about my Hebridean on my boat.
  • Very small boats and junk rigs may require mods to the plans.
  • I should have spent more time experimenting with the bungee.
  • Don’t copy me until you have tried the system according to the plans.

Thank you everyone for your help and support with this project. Special thanks to John Fleming for showing great patience when dealing with me. Paul Thompson for keen technical insight. And Stephen Crowther for useful observations and support.

I’m sure the story’s not over yet, but part one is complete.



2015-09-14 · 21:42

9 responses to “The Trials of my Hebridean

  1. Pingback: self steering on short boats « Keep Turning Left

  2. Pingback: A Trip to St Kilda on The “Wylde Swan” 17th July 2015 | Tammy Norie

  3. Thanks so much putting up this (failures and all!) – it’s extremely useful as I build my own one. Any ideas why the unbalanced pendulum worked so much better than the original?

    • Failures and mistakes are the most useful information, aren’t they. I’m very pleased if I can help you avoid problems.

      About the unbalanced pendulum, I have two thoughts: 1. Don’t ignore the bungee in the plans, or the advice about using it. I didn’t spend enough time with it. 2. My tiny boat with its light tiller didn’t provide the force feedback that the design expected.

      I can’t be sure about these things, because I have not been able to experiment with all combinations of boats, pendulums, and bungees, but they’re my best guesses.

  4. Thomas Bechmann

    Hi my name is Thomas i am from Denmark, i have a Junker 22.
    I Want to sail around the World and i have seen your Wind vane from flemmings do you Think it would be a great Wind vane for my boat and trip?
    Best regards

    Thomas Bechmann

    • It depends on a lot of things. If you want to understand and repair your own system, and you’re interested in all the details, or you want to learn how to make a wind vane, then yes, it is great. But it will cost you a lot of time, so you have to decide whether it is worth it for you. If you just want something practical and reliable you can buy something like the Windpilot Pacific Lite, such as Roger Taylor has used on many ocean voyages. I chose to take the hard-learning route!

      I don’t know the Junker 22. You should take a look at the guides and documents at and see if it will fit, and then write to John Fleming for advice.

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