Making a Sunfish Wind Indicator

wjejr

Active Member
Thread starter #1
Hi everyone,

I made a wind indicator for my Sunfish a while ago and have been very happy with it. I thought I would share it here with the hope that someone finds it useful.

The design is similar in concept to the "coat hangar" model, but uses a flat piece of stainless steel which I think makes it more stable on the upper boom and also more durable. That piece of stainless is readily available for free, but I will let the readers guess its origin and reveal the answer in a couple of days.

You will notice in the design that the end of the arms turn down which mostly prevents the wool from getting hung up on the arm. Something it likes to do. The wind indicator is held to the boom by two sided velcro, so it can be easily attached and removed at the end.

I started writing descriptions for each picture, but I stopped as I think you can figure it out just by looking. There are more than 30 photos, so I will make a few posts.

If there are any questions please let me know.

01 - Wind indicator.JPG
 

wjejr

Active Member
Thread starter #2
Measuring and bending the stainless steel to fit the boom. The steel was 21" long and the middle therefore 10 1/2". I don't think plus or minus a couple of inches in length will make that much difference. #02

I then bent it over successive pipes, tubes and dowels, largest to smallest to get a bend that was about the same diameter as the boom. #03 - #06
 

Attachments

Last edited:

wjejr

Active Member
Thread starter #3
Once you have the bend correct then you need to introduce two other bends to start the arms. In my base the arms were 8 3/4" but it will depend on how long the stainless strip is to begin with. #07 - #09. Have a look at #09 first, and it will make more sense. I used a hand vice held in another vice that has "soft" jaws. I did this so I could get sharper bends.
 

Attachments

wjejr

Active Member
Thread starter #7
Now for the velcro strap. I started with a 1" wide 9" long piece of double sided velcro tape. I bought a roll of it from McMaster Carr in case you have trouble finding it. I then marked the tape starting 1 3/4" from the end and then every one inch after that for the next five inches. When you are done you should have six marks. I used a punch to create a hole at each mark. I think the holes are about 1/4"
 

Attachments

wjejr

Active Member
Thread starter #8
I then cut a ~1/4" strip at the unmarked end. (i.e. not the end where I first marked) The strip is cut to the last of the six holes, which leaves you with a nice round end to the cut out.

I will post the rest of the story tomorrow.
 

Attachments

L&VW

Well-Known Member
#10
Hi everyone, I made a wind indicator for my Sunfish a while ago and have been very happy with it. I thought I would share it here with the hope that someone finds it useful. The design is similar in concept to the "coat hangar" model, but uses a flat piece of stainless steel which I think makes it more stable on the upper boom and also more durable. That piece of stainless is readily available for free, but I will let the readers guess its origin and reveal the answer in a couple of days. You will notice in the design that the end of the arms turn down which mostly prevents the wool from getting hung up on the arm. Something it likes to do. The wind indicator is held to the boom by two sided velcro, so it can be easily attached and removed at the end. I started writing descriptions for each picture, but I stopped as I think you can figure it out just by looking. There are more than 30 photos, so I will make a few posts. If there are any questions please let me know.
I know...;)
W--- T-----

But have coded the above to keep everyone thinking. :cool:

.
 

wjejr

Active Member
Thread starter #14
Last thing to do is attach it to the boom. I try to mount it at about eye level so I can always see it, even if I am not consciously looking at it. Note the piece of anti-skid tape on the boom. I don't think it matters much, but I had a piece lying around, so I stuck it on with the idea that the indicator wouldn't move around.
 

Attachments

wjejr

Active Member
Thread starter #15
So here it is with sail up. #32

A few other things worth mentioning:

1. As shown I put the indicator on before raising the sail. The stainless is durable enough that it doesn't get bent, but it usually does twist which brings me to the next point.
2. Pretty self-explanatory, but don't forget to align the indicator so that the keel line bisects the angle between the two arms or in other words so the arms stick out equally to port and starboard.
3. Then, bend the arms so that they roughly represent the tacking angle you can normally achieve. (you should only have to do this once)

Once you are sailing it's now a simple matter to not only tell the apparent wind direction, but also whether you are pinching or footing when going upwind.

I usually sail on a small lake with shifts of 20 degrees or more normal and, especially in lighter air, this indicator really helps me tune into those shifts faster when going upwind. On runs it lets me know when I am dead down or by-the-lee

I'll post the origin of the stainless strip this weekend.

33 All done.JPG
 

Attachments

L&VW

Well-Known Member
#17
Once you are sailing it's now a simple matter to not only tell the apparent wind direction, but also whether you are pinching or footing when going upwind.

I usually sail on a small lake with shifts of 20 degrees or more normal and, especially in lighter air, this indicator really helps me tune into those shifts faster when going upwind. On runs it lets me know when I am dead down or by-the-lee

I'll post the origin of the stainless strip this weekend.


• You have an SUV? ;)

• I'd be tempted to use plastic cable-ties (zip-ties). About one penny each, they can be cut and removed after sailing. They'd be secured by tightening the two forward corners of the strip together at the attachment point.

.
 

wjejr

Active Member
Thread starter #19
The source of the stainless strip, drum roll please...

It is the strip from a windshield wiper for my old 2001 Jeep Grand Cherokee.

Congratulations Charles Howard!!

Funny thing is, the last wiper blade I had didn't have one wide strip but instead had two thinner strips. Not sure if that was an aberration or not.

Good luck everyone and happy sailing!
 
#20
OK, this is wicked brilliant! No other home brew solution has ever appealed to me, but this is elegant, slick, and sturdy. Well done, good and faithful servant!

I was guessing maybe some type of welding or brazing rod, and concerned about weight. Yours is far better, strong but lighter. I will be building one ASAP.
 
Top