Low profile wind scoop
For boats that often lie head to wind at anchor this type of wind scoop would be a very good choice
Wind scoops are wonderful aids to ventilation but some wind scoops are more wonderful than others – at least in certain circumstances.The conventional wind scoop is a voluptuous object, a sort of puff-chested vamp that struts its stuff, most usually on the fore-deck, twisting and writhing like a graceless belly dancer. In the scooping of winds category they are actually very efficient but, so I’ve been told by others, like most graceless belly dancers they also bring problems. Namely….
- They will scoop up rain as well as wind. This isn’t a big problem if the hatch can be closed without lowering the wind scoop, but this isn’t always possible.
- In order to keep ‘flying’ (rather in the same way as a spinnaker does) they are made of very light fabrics – typically nylon spinnaker cloths which are susceptible to UV light attack. Spinnakers tend not to be deployed day after day, but wind scoops certainly are. In the Mediterranean or tropical climates, you may struggle to get a couple of season’s use from nylon scoops.
- They obstruct the view forward, making them difficult or even impossible to use while under way.
- They present lots of windage.
At this point I would like to be able to say that I had a Eureka moment but that would be stretching the truth. Indeed, it would be a downright lie. But I know good thing when I see one and am not averse to borrowing an idea that attracts me.
So let me introduce the low profile wind scoop, an idea which we Shindiggers stole fair and square from David and Viola aboard Zeehond. It couldn’t be simpler. A trapezoid panel of acrylic canvas is rigged as shown in the photo. Unrigged, the panel is perfectly flat, there being no seams apart from those that run around its edge to stop it fraying.
From each corner run shock-cord (bungee) tensioners that hook onto the toe-rail. The mouth of the scoop is held open by a light topping lift that attaches to the inner forestay. Sloops would use their forestay. The size is determined by that of the hatch, but the finished dimensions of our panel laid flat are 45cm fore and aft, 56cm at its mouth, and 42cm at its trailing edge. It took no more than an hour to make, using a domestic sewing machine.
Although not as powerful as our previous wind scoop, it’s good enough for the Med in August which makes it just about good enough for anywhere else. As I sit typing this article in Shindig’s cabin, papers are being blown off the table.
The advantages it brings are numerous:
- It covers the hatch so keeps nearly all of the rain out. Further protection can be gained from having the hatch half-closed under the scoop. No rain gets in and you still get a decent breeze.It also shades the hatch, keeping out most of the sunlight. The white acrylic still allows useful illumination. A darker colour would give even more shade.
- The view ahead is unobstructed so we can keep the wind scoop rigged, even at sea – particularly when under power, something Med sailors know a lot about.
- Acrylic is much more resistant to UV degradation so we can confidently expect a decade or so of service.
- It can be rigged and taken down in an instant.
- The windage it adds is negligible.
- It looks neater than the billowing variety.