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On our delivery trip from Martinique to Grenada, we were blessed with winds on the beam, or just aft of it, for much of the journey. The needle on the ST60 wind gauge at the helm hardly deviated from its position as we reached along.

As the boat was still so new, it took me some time to realize that there was no traditional windex at the top of the mast (either of them) feeding that gauge data. So, how was it working? After some digging through the documentation that came with the Amel, I came to realize that the boat was fitted with an ultrasonic wind sensor. Cool!

This appears to be a never version of what we have on our boat.

After reading about such a device on a tech blog some time ago, I thought that I had commented on this type of product at some point in the past. My search on our blog this morning didn’t pull up anything though. Is it better or worse than a traditional windex with a little spinning propeller? I don’t know, time will tell. The ultrasonic ones don’t seem to be all that popular. At first glance though, the lack of moving parts seems to indicate that it might be a bit more robust. Anyone else have a wind sensor similar to this?

UPDATE: Just after publishing this, I found the post where I did write about it. I actually named the title of that post the exact same thing as this one, No moving parts! Funny! 🙂

12 Comments

  1. Practical Sailor did a review in March 2015 of the Maretron WSO 100 that was very supportive of these new wind sensors. In September 2013 they reviewed the Airmar PB200 wind sensor.

    From the March 2015 article:
    “According to Stan Honey, a technical innovator who was intimately involved in last year’s America’s Cup, the Cup teams are using ultrasonic sensors near the water level. However, at the masthead, where there is lots of upwash, extra weight is abhorred, and where speed of response is important, sailing teams have found the cups and vanes to work better. Using analog sensors (similar to the NKE HR sensor we tested) wind-angle within a fraction of a degree is possible, he said.”

  2. I have heard nothing but good about the ultrasonic ones. Much more robust and reliable than the spinning cups variety.

    The reason for their rarity is said to be bad marketing, but mainly cost.

    Lucky you to have one.

    Mike

  3. I have a Cruzpro ultrasonic atop that I installed two years ago. It made it through the Maine winter, even. I put it up because I was tired of dropping $600 each time an osprey decided to perch on the anemometer arm. I think Raymarine has a contract with the birds.

    So far, so good.

  4. Hmmmmm…. I’m getting pretty tired of those ospreys, too; and they say you can’t shoot ’em. That ultrasonic alternative sounds pretty good.

  5. Hi Mike –
    You having fun yet? You will note I sent a comment about Cruzpro back in July. Since that comment, the unit has failed me for a second time in two years. The boat is on the hard for winter so the Cruzpro has seen little real use in two years. The manufacturer has decided that since the unit is out of warranty, they will not stand behind it and I need to buy a new one. Now, two years of almost no use, plus the fact that the first unit was faulty, has caused me to rescind my recommendation of Cruzpro for an ultrasonic system. I have spent over $600 out of my pocket in trying to resolve issues. That’s not far from what I paid for it in the first place.
    Run Mike, run far from Cruzpro and look at a different system.
    I am outta here in October!!!

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