Frequently Asked Questions

Is it easy to set up? Yes.  (1) Turn on the blue box.  (2) In the iPad/iPhone's Settings, select the Sailtimer Wind Vane wifi network, and make sure that Location Services is turned on.  (3) If using the SailTimer app, press the Input button, then on the Set-up panel select Use Wind Vane.  That's it.   (Detailed instructions are also available in the Owner's Manual.) 
Is there a quick method of temporary mounting? Yes;  along with 2 stainless steel screws for mounting on the horizontal masthead, stainless steel U-bolts are included with the base plate (as in the photo above).  This allows it to be attached to a stanchion in seconds, since there are no wires.  You can see the sturdy base plate and U-bolts in this close-up photo.  The base plate also comes with lag bolts in case you want to mount it on a wall or pole to monitor storms, in the off-season. 
Can my iPad/iPhone Auto-Join the wifi network? Yes;  "Auto-Join" is a cool feature of iOS.  The first time you use the Wind Vane, go into settings on the device and select the Wind Vane wifi network. Click on the little arrow on the right side of the line, and turn Auto-Join on.  Then if you are at home with your home wifi network and leave that to go to the boat, whenever you turn on the blue box, the device will get the wifi automatically. 
What are the weight and size of
the SailTimer Wind Vane?

The total length of the vane is 16.5 inches. After mounting on the masthead, about 14" extends out from the mast.  Aside from batteries and mounting hardware like stainless steel U-bolts (which would not be at the top of the mast), the vane itself only weighs about 0.3 kg (approx. 0.5 lb.).

If I use a RayMarine, Garmin, Standard Horizon or other chartplotter or wind display onboard, can it display the wireless wind data? Yes. The raw data sent from the vane to the iPad can be converted by the SailTimer app to standard NMEA 0183, if you select "Retransmit Wind Vane Data" in the Set-Up menu under Use Data from Wind Vane.  It is handy to have the SailTimer app running anyways, since tacking results are not displayed on GPS chartplotters. Your onboard network may see the signal from the vane and from the app, so you should prioritize the NMEA from the app, which begins with $II.  The full NMEA sentence looks like this, indicating that it is apparent wind data in knots: $IIMWV,037.0,R,12.3,N,A*12.  Here is an example Standard Horizon made with their CP390I chartplotter displaying the wind data.  However, the major manufacturers tend to block NMEA wifi except from their own products, so you'll probably need a wifi receiver with an NMEA cable to get the wireless data into your existing chartplotter or wind LCD display.  These NMEA multiplexers are available from companies such as Digital Yacht.  Unfortunately, the Wind Vane is not compatable with multiplexers from DMK or Brookhouse, although our new version will have a greater range of options (including its' own accessory that receives the wireless data and plugs in to your on-board network). 

Here is a 3-minute demo clip showing how easy it is to use the SailTimer Wind Vane with the SailTimer app on an iPad.

What could I test before mounting the vane up on the mast, to make sure I am comfortable using it? While the vane, blue box and iPad/iPhone are close at hand, you can test them out on a table.  Put the cups and the wind arrow on the vane with the allen key.  Then turn on the blue box, and select the vane's wifi network in your device's settings.  In the SailTimer app, press the Input button and in the Set-Up panel turn on "Use data from Wind Vane".  Then spin the cups fast with your fingers for 20 or 30 seconds, and you should see the needle on the big wind speedometer moving as if the wind is blowing.  You won't see a wind direction until the boat is moving (or until you have entered a Docked Heading), but seeing the wind speed is a good confirmation before installation.
How do I calibrate the Wind Vane
when it is installed?

Before you put the plastic arrow on the axel for the vane, rotate the axel while you have the SailTimer app open.  In the app, under to Set-Up \ Wind Vane \ Calibrate, you'll see slider bar.  Turn the axel with your fingers until the slider is centered.  Hold the vane in the same orientation it will be in on your boat.  Then without turning the axel, place the plastic arrow on the axel, facing in the same direction the boat is heading.  Tighten the plastic arrow with the set screw, and you are ready to go.

Similar procedures can be used with other apps.  With iRegatta, you can turn the axel until Apparent Wind Angle = 0, then put the plastic arrow on parallel to the boat.

If you need to adjust the calibration later, this can also be done in the Set-Up panel of the SailTimer app.  You can set an Offset for the amount that you need to adjust the direction by.

Is the wind direction determined using a compass in the vane at the masthead, the digital compass in the handheld, or some other method? The vane itself does not determine the direction;  this happens in the app.  Different apps may use different methods.  Up to version 5.3, the SailTimer app (and Charts Edition) used the boat's GPS heading while moving to derive the wind direction using the vane. If the boat is docked and you still want to see the wind direction, there is also a Set-Up option in the SailTimer app to set the Docked Heading manually. But starting in version 5.4 of the app, the internal digital compass in the iPad/iPhone is also an option. That compass heading works particularly well when you are swinging at anchor and want to monitor the wind direction.
No wind data is being received, and the yellow light in the center of the blue box stays on. When the yellow light in the center of the blue box stays on for the first two minutes, that indicates that the wind vane is thirsty for some sunlight.  Give it some sun for a few hours or days (ideally with the solar panels facing directly at direct sunlight), and it should be back to normal. Another symptom in the SailTimer app that the vane is low on battery power is that no wind data is received, although (inaccurate) battery power is displayed in the Set-Up panel of the app.
Can I use both the SailTimer app and SailTimer Charts Edition at the same time with the Wind Vane?

No, only one or the other app can receive the Wind Vane data. If the app you want to use cannot receive the transmissions, you'll need to hard-quit BOTH, and then start the app you want to use with the Wind Vane. 
(Hard-quit by double-clicking on the round Home button.  Then look for the two apps in the row at the bottom of the screen.  Hold down on the icon for each app, and then click the X.  That removes it from memory.  Then click the Home button again to close the bottom row of icons.  Then open the app you want to use.)

Do I need to store the vane indoors for the winter? No; it is best to keep the vane getting sunlight year-round. The advanced lithium disk batteries in the vane should last for about 20 years if you keep charging them.  In the off-season, don't store the vane in a dark closet where the solar panels can't provide a trickle charge.  You could leave the vane on the mast year-round, or bring it home to monitor winter storms outside, in the off-season.  Inside, it is better to leave it by a window than store it in a box during the off-season. 

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