So long to the Hebridean + other stuff I’ve done

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Well, less than 2 months to go (aaaa AAAAAAAA) and  I’ve been slowly hammering away at the list, in between going to Ottawa and sitting around eating cheesecake while waiting for spring to arrive (turns out if you eat an entire cheesecake in one sitting you do not feel well!) Here are the highlights thus far. Sorry, it’s not super interesting but it’s gonna be like this for a while I think until I leave.

Windvane Situation

The first (and biggest news) is that I have bought a Fleming Self Steer Auxilary Rudder windvane. While technically ‘used’ it’s brand new and has never even been mounted on the person’s boat whom I’m buying it from, and is $4,000 CAD cheaper than a new one so it’s quite the deal.

‘But Matthew’ I hear you say, ‘Haven’t you just spent almost two years working on building a Hebridean Windvane? Wouldn’t just buying one mean you wasted all that time and money? Not to mention having to deal with a 5′ length of heavy timber lying around the cabin the last few years’

And to that I would point at ‘sunk cost fallacy’ in the dictionary while secretly crying inside. It’s true I spent a lot (and I mean a lot) of time on it, and abandoning it now 80% done would be a huge shame. But on the other hand I REALLY want an emergency rudder and the Hebridean doesn’t supply that while the fleming does (and is as easy to use as attaching a tiller), and the Fleming folds up out the water when not in use while the Hebridean comes off (and then I have to find where to store the aforementioned 5′ of timber). So if anyone out there wants a mostly constructed windvane, cheap, hit me up. I’ll even throw in the special UV resistant epoxy I got for it.

VSR Regulator

Next up, I troubleshot the alternator (which you may remember stubbornly refused to work) and figured out it was the regulator. I sent it back and got a repaired unit, which I installed and it all works great. Regulator was a semi-DIY one from A Guy On The Internet called VSR Regulator. You have to program it yourself with putty and do all the wiring etc but as I am a HUGE nerd that wasn’t an issue. It has wayyyy more functionality than the fancy Balmar one and is like 1/5 of the price. Which is nice.

Here I am running a test on it to figure out the issue.

New Instruments

I haven’t wired these in yet but ages ago I got two NMEA2000 displays cheap and I got round to mounting them the other day.

This is great as it gives me some displays in the cockpit which means I both have a backup if the plotter fails and also allows me to see wind speed/direction and other info while lounging in the cockpit, saving me the indecency and effort of having to stand up and move over to the plotter. Just like a real yottie, doncha know…

Reefing System Upgrade

As briefly mentioned early I upgraded the reef lines on the boom and installed the upgrade kit for them. There is now a jam cleat at each point where the line comes out the boom, and I also installed a winch underneath to assist. This basically replaced what I did a couple of years ago. ( I just looked for the post and couldn’t find it. Ah well). I managed to snap off two taps in the mast cos I was lazy and used the combo drill/tap things so uh, don’t do this.

Side note: RigRite is reallllllly GD expensive. Gawd.

Stern Line Roller

A stern line is where you anchor, back towards shore and then row out to shore with a line that you tie to a point on the shore to stop your boat wandering all over. It’s used in tight anchorages. It’s also a massive pain in the arse, as it involves rowing to shore and scrambling over rocks, during which the rope can get snagged, turning the person rowing into an annoyed yo-yo (this is why I normally get Emma to do it while I take the very important position of Yelling Encouraging Advice Loudly From The Boat.) Here is a funny tale about what often happens.

So anyway my old Dockmate Ralph made me this really snazzy stern tie roller, meaning (hopefully) snags are a thing of the past. Also, it gets the line out the way! He is able to make them for people, so if interested drop me an email and I’ll send his contact info over.

State of Charge Indicator

Finally got around to installing this after a cable mixup from the supplier. Shows the State of Charge (SOC) of the battery bank using a simple analog display.


V Berth Light + Plug

This is something I should have done YEARS ago but for whatever reason hadn’t got round to it. I finally put a 12 volt light in the V Berth along with wiring in an extra 12v plug socket. Previously, after it got dark at anchor any reading etc had to be done with torch light which really felt like camping. The 12v socket will allow me to charge my phone/tablet when I have the anchor alert set. Very handy for me to check in the night to make sure I’m not dragging. Wow this photo is really out of focus but you get the idea.




  1. Oddly enough I find this stuff pretty interesting. I really wanted to see that windvane completed. I just keep thinking about all those metal filings… Nice stern reel, how much is he charging?

    • I did too! I’m actually pretty sad.

      It’s custom made for each boat so it varies depending, but mine was 180, so probably around there.

    • Thanks! It’s now warm enough that I can go outside comfortably so that makes a huge difference

  2. You indeed are a man on a mission!…putting a lot us dreamers to shame. Bravo!
    I was really eager to see how that Hebridean was going to work out but I’m sure you’ve made the right decision with the Fleming… especially if the price was right. Did they actually pay you to take it off their hands?!

    • Hah, I said it was a good price… still expensive tho!

      I am also pretty bummed about not seeing the Hebridean in action but I want that emergency rudder pretty badly!

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