Frequently Asked Questions
STAINLESS STEEL vs. ALUMINUM CONSTRUCTION - Some windvane manufacturers claim that aluminum in a windvane is better than stainless steel. Do you agree?
Absolutely not! The previous manufacturer of our AUTO-HELM windvane made all the castings and mounting hardware out of aluminum. We redesigned the entire lower unit, the rudder parts and all the mounting hardware, and made it in stainless steel. Bronze components in our SAYE'S RIG windvane are perfectly acceptable because bronze mixes well with stainless, and merely turns green in a salt-water environment. In our Monitor windvane we use all 316L stainless steel. We can keep the weight low with the use of thin wall in the tubing and still have tremendous strength. Even the gear set of the Monitor is cast in 316L stainless steel.
Aluminum castings assembled with stainless steel tubing and fastenings give rise to severe corrosion and freezing. Look at boats that have been out for a while - observe any cleats and winches mounted on an aluminum mast. Corrosion can be avoided by insulation to some degree, but it still requires that you take the unit apart on a regular schedule and use special lubricants. The warranty of another manufacturer is void unless the unit is taken apart and lubricated every 5000 miles. If an aluminum/stainless steel windvane is not taken apart and serviced regularly there is a good chance that it will be impossible to take it apart. If you have a collision and crack an aluminum casting you cannot easily weld it. The part should be exchanged for a new casting. A Monitor can always be taken apart. Stainless can also be welded locally if the unit has been in a collision. With new bearings it will be almost like new.