The following emails are presented verbatim including the owners name and email addresses. You are welcome to contact them but please introduce yourself as they are under no obligation to Hydrovane
SOLICITED EMAIL RECEIVED MARCH 2014 - Newport 41
From: Steven Hertik/ Heather Francis [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: March-04-14 11:41 AM
To: Will Curry
Subject: Re: Email
We are in Wangaratta, just a few hours north of Melbourne, visiting Steve's family and preparing for a few weeks get away on the motorbike. Maybe we'll cross paths!Here is the notes on the Hydrovane:
Our boat Kate, a Newport 41’, had a wind vane on her transom when we bought her in 2008. It had barely been used but the spider web of lines running through the cockpit looked like trouble. We replaced it with a Hydrovane and couldn’t be happier. Will was great at answering questions and helping us decide which vane was right for us. And the installation was straightforward, Steve managed to pull it off with his leg in a cast while we were tied to the dock.
We are full time sailing live aboard's and despite the “dirty wind” created from the solar panels and other necessities aloft, our vane performs extremely well. It is one of the most important pieces of equipment we have on board, and one of the easiest to use.
If you’re planning on doing any long distance sailing we highly recommend Hydrovane, it makes long passages with two crew members almost relaxing, allows one person to make sail changes and course corrections without assistance and, the best part, requires no power!
I will let you know about the vane cover in the next few days, was a busy couple weeks closing the boat down on my own Fiji and just been enjoying a little break together again in Aus.
UNSOLICITED EMAILS - FEBRUARY 2014 - Beneteau Oceanis 34
From: Sarah Curry [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: February-17-14 4:10 PM
To: 'John Curry'
Cc: Will Curry
Subject: Juan Antonio Martin - testimonialHi John,
Here’s a basic testimonial, from facebook. Juan Antonio Martin first wrote us a facebook message six months ago! Will and I have both dealt with him on email regarding parts… Will - you may have better photos of his boat.November 15, 2013, Juan Antonio Martin wrote:
Foto del Hydrovane instaldo en 1991 en s/y Vagabundo, con él he realizado 10 travesías del Atlántico en solitario.Translated to:
Photo of Hydrovane installed in 1991 on SY Vagabundo, with him I made 10 Atlantic crossings alone.February 16, 2014, Juan Antonio Martin wrote:
Hola Sarah, ayer llegue a Martinica, despues de 18 dias cruzando el Atlantico, el hydrovane, como siempre, muy bien bajando olas de los alisios. Mi "viejo" hydrovane ya ha cruzado 12 veces el Atlantico.
No hay problema para que pongas my foto del hydrovane en vuestro website.Un saludo.Translated to:
Hi Sarah, yesterday reached Martinique, after 18 days crossing the Atlantic, the hydrovane, as always, very well down waves of the trade. My "old" hydrovane has already crossed the Atlantic 12 times.
No problem to put my photo on your website hydrovane. A greeting.
Juan Antonio and his Beneteau Oceanis 34
UNSOLICITED EMAIL RECEIVED FEBRUARY 2014 - Bowman 40
From: Kit and Belinda [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: February-18-14 7:00 AM
To: Will Curry
Subject: Re: Vane coverHi Will
I forgot to say that my partner Belinda calls the Hydrovane Henry after Henry the Navigator!Kit (Quilcene)
On 18 February 2014 14:21, Kit and Belinda <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:Hi Will
Thanks for that - yes we will probably wait until our visit to the UK (poss March/April)
Please find attached a pic of the repaired vane - please feel free to use as you wish, sorry it was not taken in rougher weather!
Boat is a Bowman 40 named Quilcene - passage from Mindelo to Paramaribo 15 days.
Will contact you later when we decide which place to have the vane cover to be delivered to.
A point of interest - other yachts that crossed at similar time said that their lighter wind vanes didnt steer so well. We sailed under 'poled out' Yankee to leeward and a 'poled out' stay sail to windward - although most of the time it was almost 'dead downwind'couple of 'pics' attachedRegardsKit (Chris) & Belinda
Patched Vane cover
UNSOLICITED EMAIL RECEIVED JANUARY 2014 - Hallberg Rassy 40
Hi Will.You may still be spoiling yourself in the South Pacific, or you may be back in the dull chill of home setting up for the boat show. Whatever the case, I hope this finds you flourishing.We've crossed to the Caribbean as of a couple weeks ago. We had a fast 18 day passage in strong winds, multi-directional swells and relatively few squalls. Rolly and Quick (sounds like a law firm you wouldn't want to deal with?). And, not surprisingly, iVane drove us door to door with quiet efficiency, no appetite and patience. We used the twin head sail set and it too was the answer for short handed crew. But iVane was voted the Passage Prize, 2700 down miles without a miss-step or whimper. I know you have a drawer full of applause for the H'vane and ours are not extraordinary service notes, but I feel the need to shout out to someone who cares.Hope all is well and even better....cordially,brineHallberg Rassy 40
SOLICITED EMAIL RECEIVED JANUARY 2014 - Contessa 32
Hi Sarah,A happy and healthy 2014 to you. I said I'd write a little of my experiences when my Hydrovane unit, "Horatio" took me around the planet on good ol' Contessa 32' "Ianda".I can only say that the unit did all it says on the box. Handling a modest yacht of around 5 tonnes fully laden was no problem for the Hydrovane in both heavy weather and quiet conditions. The ability to maintain a selected course was excellent from wind on the nose round to broad reaching. She did allow a bit of a wander down wind, as maybe expected; after all, all mechanical self steering systems are by their nature purely re-active and just like their human substitutes, don't steer so well dead downwind!The mechanics of the unit I consider well made and of robust design. I liked the idea of having good clearances on bearing surfaces and even after some 20 years of exposure to harsh conditions, nothing has seized or broken. The windvane with its drum tight covering of spinnaker like fabric shoots flying fish off in all sorts of interesting directions, albeit one of the larger fellows punched a hole clean through itMy one bone of contention tho, is the rudder unit. After but a short period, the retaining pin, which is too small in diameter, wore the hole in the plastic rudder, somewhat oval and from then on the wind vane had to over compensate for the consequent slackness between rudder an main spindle. But it gets worse, on anchor the slightest swell would set up a clonking sound between rudder and pin which whilst not particularly noticeable when in the cockpit, drove me to distraction when below as the sound travelled thru' the hull. I managed to mitigate this to some extent by drilling a hole thru' the aft top corner of the rudder and tying it off tight to one quarter. This helped, but even with the addition of a strong bungy cord I never completely eradicated the clonking. I have since had to put stainless steel bushes in the rudder and increase slightly, the retaining pin diameter. You may say that the rudder should be removed when anchored but this entails the use of a dinghy, not always practical.If it were possible I would suggest a re-design of the rudder unit to allow it to be removed easily from deck or to be swung up, out of the water when at anchor. Not an easy mod I grant you but [I think] worth consideration.Graduations on the course setting mechanism would be a nice touch when altering direction. Every 10 degrees would be good. [Editor's Comment - His is a VXA1 - no Remote Course Setting]And so in summary, thank you for supplying a 1st rate unit, notwithstanding my comments on the rudder I have been very happy with dear ol' "Horatio" and expect to remain so for a long time to come.
Best regards, hope this helps, Peter Stonard sv "Ianda"
UNSOLICITED EMAIL RECEIVED DECEMBER 2013 - Bavaria 40 Ocean
From: jørgen andersen [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: September-12-13 11:42 AM
To: Valerie Williams
Subject: Vedr: Shipment of hydrovane to Jorgen Vaagan Andersen
I've had time to mount and test the Hydrovane now, so I thought I should give you some comments.
The equipment was exellently packed in strong boxes and arrived without any damage. All components seems strong and very well constructed. The mounting instructions were good and after some planning and a few days of work it was securely mounted to the transom of my boat.
There were a few minor problems with the equipment:
The bolt that tightens the clamp on the A-bracket to the shaft was seized when I tried to loosen it the first time. I had to cut it and get a new one.
The two M12 bolts that secures the struts on the A-bracket to the piece that is attached to the shaft was too short for the nyloc locking nuts to secure the bolt, so I had to buy two bolts that where 5mm longer.
None of this was a big deal because I was able to get the bolts in the next harbour I visited.
We have tested the hydrovane in the Irish sea and when we crossed the bay of Biscay. We had heard many stories of how hard it is to use and understand a wind-vane, but our experience was that it worked right away in all wind-directions and forces except with weak wind from astern (which i understand is normal). All in all we are very pleased so far and we have already demonstrated it to several fellow sailors that are considering to buy a wind-rudder.
Sorry it took some time before I was able to send the installation pictures. But at least I've attached them now. There is pictures of the aluminum backing plates I have in GRP inside the boat, and from the fitting of the brackets using plastic pipes (which was a very good tip). I have also added some pictures of the finished installation.
We have now crossed the Atlantic from Gambia to Trinidad and the Hydrovane have been in "charge" as long as the sails have been up, and has performed excellent.
Jørgen Vaagan Andersen
Bavaria 40 Ocean
UNSOLICITED EMAIL RECEIVED DECEMBER 2013 - Beneteau 361
From: Bigpond [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: December-25-13 3:05 PM
To: Valerie Williams
Subject: Fargo Beneteau 361Hi Valerie
Fitted Hydrovane - tried over Christmas - does what it said on the box 'it works'.
Regards Keith McGuire
UNSOLICITED EMAIL RECEIVED NOVEMBER 2013 - Jeanneau SL 41
Hi Will,We are Alessandro Epifani and Barbara Sforzini, in December 2010 we bought from you wind pilot VXA2D. We are very satisfy of our choice, we never steering during Atlantic crossing even with rough seas with cross wave during the all 16 days. Here enclosed a video during Atlantic navigation under genoa spinnaker pole only.
Less than 6 months later, during our haul-out in Carriacou, we already noticed corrosion on black low collar, we attached some picture even if not very clear. After one year the collar was totally broken.
Does this problem happened to someone else? [Editor’s note – all aluminum collars need to be replaced with plastic ones]. Do you suggest to change it with an original made by you or we can arrange it in Italy, as we are? In the second case could you please let us know in which material is better? We considered to protect all metal parts and especially the collar with a sacrificial anode, do you think is a good idea?Thank you in advance for your consideration.Hope to hear from you soon.CiaoAle e Barbara
UNSOLICITED EMAIL RECEIVED DECEMBER 2103 - Norseman 447
We’ve reached New Zealand on our boat, Realtime, and we need a new cover for the vane. Please let me know the price and how you would like me to pay for it, and send to Robert Packard, S/V Realtime, c/o Opua Marina, 28 Baffin St., Opua Marina Park, Bay of Islands, New Zealand 0241. Their phone number is 09-402 7124. It’s the normal tall, skinny vane.It’s probably not a big revelation to you, but I want you to know that our Hydrovane turned out to be a super good steering system. It steered our Norseman 447 all across the Pacific and worked great from light winds on the stern to strong winds on the bow. Although I had some trouble in the beginning, I am now a true believer, and I’ll tell anyone. Much thanks to Will for his help in Puerto Vallarta to look my installation over and make a couple of suggestions.Best regards,Bob Packard
UNSOLICITED EMAIL RECEIVED NOVEMBER 2013 - Malo 36 on upgrading his pre 2007 rudder to the latest version
I have been making use of the new rudder and I find it is a very great improvement on the old one; I can now rely on our Hydrovane, known to us as Baldric because he has his own cunning plans and is not paid or even fed, to a very much greater extent - I used to have to adjust either the vane or the sails for every small change of wind speed and the old rudder was frequently overborne either by the boat's rudder turning the boat to lee as the wind lightened or by increased weather helm as it strengthened - now I find that the vane will cope with an acceptable variety of wind strength on all courses. The improvement is a great relief, as I was beginning to think it would be necessary to find a different boat, perhaps long keel, to make vane steering more reliable. I can use the vane inshore in spite of the variations of inshore winds [while keeping close watch all round] without having to adjust settings every five minutes. As I dislike having to use the autopilot when there is wind to be used I am much happier than before. I anticipate that offshore it will be precisely what I originally expected it to be when I first fitted it 6 years ago. I am now finding at last that I actually need to angle the vane more because it is oversensitive, which I never had to do before the new rudder arrived. I may soon change the bearings and fit the new mid bearing as well.
I want to thank you for solving my problems by selling me the new rudder - and particularly for selling it at half price. I appreciate your generosity and have no hesitation in recommending both Hydrovane and the people making and selling it to friends and acquaintances.Best wishes,TonyTony IrwinSolicitorW. J. Irwin & Son37 Market SquareDungannon
Always music to our ears to receive such reports. Many thanks.
May I include it on our website? Might you have a picture of your installation to go with it?More thanksJohn
From: W. J. Irwin & Son Solicitors [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: Monday, November 11, 2013 3:12 AM
Subject: Re: performance report: New rudder on Malo 36John,
Include it on the website if you wish. I will take a few photos and send them to you to pick from. I had a good sail yesterday afternoon, about 25 miles around Belfast Lough and through Copeland Sound, with true wind from 5 up to 18 knots and Baldric did virtually all the steering, with very minor adjusting as winds rose and fell and as we altered course; close reaching in 21 knots apparent, running in about 3 knots apparent, close hauled in 16 knots, etc, all with no problems at all and at boat speeds from 2 to 7.5 knots. Great improvement over the old rudder. I had an experienced crew with me, a Yachtmaster, who was very impressed indeed!TonyTony IrwinSolicitorW. J. Irwin & Son37 Market SquareDungannonBT70 1JH
BLOG ENTRY EMAILED TO US OCTOBER 2013 - Islander 36 - Blog post on Day 10 of Puddle Jump
WEDNESDAY, APRIL 3, 20131000 Nautical Miles Down! - Day 101000nm down, about 1800nm to go!
Hard to believe it has been 10 days already! I think we have been doing quite well progress wise, especially with our slow 3-4 days getting off the coast, to pull off a little over 100nm per day. Hopefully now that we are in the trade winds we will be able to routinely knock out 125+nm days. Alas it looks like I have lost the bet with my guess of us completing the crossing in 21 days.
One piece of equipment we have been exceptionally happy about has been our Hydrovane (www.hydrovane.com)! There is no doubt it would be a totally different experience out here had we been relying solely on our electronic autopilot as initially planned. To the best of my knowledge no one has hand steered since we shut off the engine just outside of Banderas Bay. The Hydrovane has been doing all the tough work of keeping us on course, while we enjoy the scenery and tend to other tasks onboard.
Here is a brief rundown of why we like the Hydrovane so much:
What sold us on it:
- Could be installed off center, since our transom had a lot of stuff already on it
- Only 4 bolts to install the unit on the transom
- Emergency totally independent rudder
- No power drain when compared to using the electric autopilot
From our experience with it:
- Works as advertised (or better)! We used the Hydrovane running down wind in 35kt winds crossing to Banderas Bay from the East Cape of Baja, and it only seemed to work better the windier it got! On this crossing we were using it to keep us heading in the right direction with only 2kt of apparent wind!
- No steering lines enter the cockpit as on some other windvane self steering systems. The Hydrovane is totally independent on the transom of the boat. No connections to the main wheel or rudder post. Simple, clutter free and redundancy.
- Quiet! It just does it thing back there and you'd never even know it was there until you look. In comparison with our electric autopilot which is always making noise as it alters the course....sqeekkk...sqeeekkkk..sqeekk... I'm sure we would have went insane by now listening to that!
- The wheel is stationary! With the electric autopilot (and some other windvanes), the main wheel spins as the course is adjusted. This makes the wheel a dangerous thing to be around. It is so nice to have the wheel locked down, and not to worry about it when relaxing in the cockpit.
- Huge power savings! There is no power draw whatsoever with the Hydrovane. Compared to possibly as high as 50Ah/day with our electric autopilot. This has allowed us to keep fully charged under solar power alone for our first 10 days. That is with running computers, the fridge, checking emails/weather 2x a day, and Anne-Marie being net controller for the puddle jump fleet (30-45 minutes of talking on the SSB radio, ~12Ah of battery).
If you are in the market for a windvane, give the Hydrovane a good look. Somehow I didn't consider them when looking at windvanes before leaving the US, and only after meeting Will & Sarah of Hydroquest, who work for Hydrovane did we consider it an option. Will was super helpful in checking out all the stuff on our transom to ensure the Hydrovane would work, which made it a lot easier for us to make the decision. Full Disclosure: Although we are friends with Will & Sarah, we are not associated with the Hydrovane company and they have no idea I'm writing this post.
'Starship' - Islander 36
UNSOLICITED EMAIL RECEIVED SEPTEMBER 2013 - Niagara 42 (steel)
Hi! This is Kirk Patterson from S/V Silk Purse, out of Victoria. I am currently trying to be the first foreigner to circumnavigate Japan. I arrived in Japan in June, crossing the Pacific via Hawaii. During that crossing, I used my Hydrovane constantly...it was great! However, my electronic autopilot died 4 days out of Japan and the wind died 12 hours later, so I had to hand steer for 3.5 days in cold torrential rain, thick fog, and, as I neared Japan, heavy shipping traffic...eventually had to get rescued by the Coast Guard! But all is well now.Anyway...I would like to order 2 pins and a vane cover (plus instructions for how to easily put on the new cover) and have them airmailed to Japan. Please advise cost and I will give you the shipping address and credit card information.Thanks and regards.Kirk
Niagara 42 steel
UNSOLICITED EMAIL RECEIVED SEPTEMBER 2013 - Ferro 40 - 13.5 tons
From: Verde, Patrick [mailto:Patrick.Verde@mh.no]
Sent: Friday, September 06, 2013 6:38 AM
Subject: some comments on my hydrovaneHi
I bought a Hydrovane from you – I think it was 2009 – I installed it 2010. I took the boat to the Med (though with truck through Europe) in 2010. It was not in much use the first years because I had a working autopilot and did not do much shorthanded long distance sailing. The truth is I never came up to learning to use it.
3 weeks ago my Auto broke down while I was on a single handed tour from Crete up to Istanbul. (island by island). So suddenly I needed to learn to use and trust my Hydrovane. It became a delight – a revelation. Now she is my “her” on the boat. The boat being a male called REVEN (means The Fox).
My boat is an old (45 years) ferro cement boat (13,5 tons/40 feet – half long keel). I mounted the pilot off center because my stern is quite narrow and I also have a wind generator.
In these weeks I have done all kinds of sailing. Hard up wind in 14-17 ms: it steers better and more precisely than me even when I totally concentrated. The same on every course up to 120 off wind. Then she starts to “slalom” a little – but who doesn’t?.
Butterfly downwind it’s a little bit difficult to get her working precisely. Sure you can reduce sail and get more relative wind – but who wants to loose speed? But I found that I can make her work if I counter steer the main rudder a bit. That makes her (the Hydro) counter steer the other way and getting more relative wind. The arrangement does not allow the skipper sleeping (because as soon as it gets out of balance it reacts wrongly – ex if the wind speed changes), but it is a fine arrangement when down wind speed is the priority.
One of the best parts of using it is that it is so easy to calibrate and re-calibrate. I used it even when beating up narrow channels, which means re-adjusting every five minutes – no problem as adjustment is done in econds. I am really in love with this piece of gear.
ps – you may publish this text where ever you want – with my name and contact info on it.RegardsPatrick VerdeProfessorOslo Business SchoolN-tel: + 47 90177770US-tel: 510-549-6165
Ferro 40 - 13.5 tons
SOLICITED EMAIL RECEIVED AUGUST 2013 - Harmony 42
Hi Will & Sarah,
The photo looks good, hope it works for you. Please feel free to also use my testimonial below.
"I fitted a Hydrovane steering system on my yacht DANTE which I recently purchased in Tortola B.V.I. for a trip back home to Australia. DANTE is a Harmony 42 and I was a little bit apprehensive as to how the off-set position would affect the performance. After nearly 8,000 miles I'm happy to say the Hydrovane has performed brilliantly, in light air as well as heavy and on all points of sailing, quietly keeping the yacht on course with only minor adjustments needed for the wind shifts. In my opinion the Hydrovane is the best piece of equipment on board and well worth the investment. Wayne Jenkins - SV DANTE."
Happy sailing guys, I'll hopefully catch up with you on New Years eve in Sydney harbour.
Wayne and his Harmony 42
UNSOLICITED EMAIL RECEIVED JULY 2013 - Frers 40
Hi Will,Sorry, I wasn’t able to email you info about Society Islands as I promised. In June I ended up sailing my own boat from Hawaii to Vancouver. It took us 21 days to get to Port Hardy, very different weather and wind conditions, some easy and some not so easy days…., but very good trip overall.Hydrovane performed very good, we did manual steering less than 5% of the time. Your piece of equipment managed to sail us through 28-32 knots of steady beam winds and very confused rough seas between the Maui and Big Island for approximately 6 hours. Few times we recorded speeds of 14-14.5 knots!From your blog it was very nice to see pictures of familiar places in French Polynesia. We did just about what you guys did, including hike to the top of Bora Bora, we also did not hire anybody to help us with it.Regards, Kosta
Frers 40 - custom made upper double strut bracket
UNSOLICITED EMAIL RECEIVED JULY 2013 - Liberty (Shin Fa) 458 - 25 tons - after 4 years and 16,000 miles - broken pin and flex problems (see his earlier emails of: Feb/13, Aug/11, Dec/09)
From: Bill & Tracy Hudson [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Thursday, July 11, 2013 12:19 AM
To: John Curry
Subject: Broken pin.Well, we're now in the Philippines after another downwind trip from Palau. Our Hydrovane is still the best piece of equipment on board. OK, so we did have a problem. During our trip to Palau, we snapped the pin that holds our rudder to the shaft. I guess, two weeks of 30-35 knot winds and 20 foot plus seas during the trip from Tuvalu were too much and it finally snapped. Can't say I blame it. Luckily, we'd ready your instruction manual that the rudder would sink if it came loose, we'd not only tied it to the boat but we also whipped the end of the line back on itself so there was no chance of it coming loose. I grabbed one of the spare pins that you sent us and climbed down the ladder and with a bit of luck, got the rudder back on the shaft as Zephyr was rolling in the swells and put in the new pin. Simple and easy and off we went again. OK, so I was wearing a life jacket and did have a safety tether to the boat but hey, I'm not stupid. Sure am glad you sent us the pins.Now we know that our Hydrovane is built tough but it took the strain that boat couldn't. With the wind and seas we had, it slowly started tearing itself off the stern of the boat. Over the years, water had gotten inside the stern fiberglass and had slowly rotted out what would the builders had installed there. With all the pressure, it started moving back and forth in the bolt holes. BUT, he still kept on doing his job. While in Pohnpei, we had the stern torn up and new fiberglass installed. He's now on rock solid.One question--on the body of the Hydrovane is the adjustment knob to set it up in position 1, 2 or 3. Where that knob goes through and into the frame, there is a space between the bolt and where it bolts on to the spring unit and the main body. Is there supposed to be that space? I can tighten it up but it sure appears to be tight. Second question, there appears to be a bit of looseness between the top (wind vane) and the rudder. I can grip the wind vane and it will move a bit even when both of the pins to lock up the unit are in place. Does this mean that the fittings are coming loose or again, is it supposed to be that way? We just want to make sure he keeps doing what he has been doing so well for the last 4 years and 16,000 miles (at least).Just keep making them the way our is and you can never go wrong. I take every chance I can to tell people about it and how good it is.Bill HudsonSV Zephyr.
Liberty (Shin Fa) 458
UNSOLICITED EMAIL RECEIVED JUNE 2013 - Dufour 50 - reporting on new rudder and larger vane he made
From: Andrew Herwig [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: Sunday, June 30, 2013 9:16 PM
To: John Curry
Subject: Sea trial of new rudder and larger windvaneHi John,
It has been awhile since we communicated and also since i last sailed my boat. I layed up the vessel in Bundaberg Queensland in 2011 with the intention of sailing again in 2012 but work and other committments got in the way. Anyway I have just finished a passage from Australia to Fiji (about 1800nm) with the new rudder and the larger windvane I made up using the new bracket you supplied so I thought I would drop a line and let you know how it went.
The passage saw quite varying conditions from light following winds to 25 knot close reaching in seas that were generally moderate, although the close reaching saw quite lumpy seas particularly between the Fijian islands largely due to current against wind etc. In short the performance of the Hydrovane was exemplary. The larger windvane allowed course keeping that was much more tolerant of imperfect trim as I had the power to use all 3 settings although I used position 2 about 95% of the time as this allowed enough rudder to keep a very good course. The light downwind angle was also much improved as 4 knots apparent wind allowed a good course with the vessel doing about 4-5 knots. I haven't increased the lead counterweight and didn't find this an issue but I imagine balancing the larger windvane would help in even lighter conditions. The self steering was really a non issue as it simply worked faultlessly as long as I had enough apparent wind which was 95% on the voyage. I hardly had to think about sail trim and balancing as the extra power made all the difference. Certainly a contrast to my older Hydrovane on a S&S 39 and my dramas earlier with the overbalanced rudder and smaller standard windvane.
The dimensions of the larger windvane are 1.9m overall length including the bracket (to fit on a bunk) with a width of 0.39m near the bracket tapering to 0.35m at the top. I have attached a couple of photos that demonstrates the comparative size of the standard and larger windvane. I also attach a photo of the installation which I have been meaning to send for awhile. I was very pleased with the outcome as I think it looks quite neat and allows utilization of most of the stern steps and platform. This and the fact it is an emergency rudder was my main reason for choosing Hydrovane again.
As I have elluded to previously, I really think you should consider offering a larger windvane by simply enlarging the standard windvane construction. This would make the unit much more suitable to bigger and faster yachts and you could do it tomorrow. It would also be much more forgiving of handling than a moulded type of foil. My 2c worth.
BTW. I am amazed how many Hydrovanes I am seeing of sterns of yachts lately. I think it is the most common windvane I am seeing in this anchorage (Savu Savu) Fiji and Bundaberg Queensland.
UNSOLICITED EMAIL RECEIVED JUNE 2013 - Westerly 33 ketch
Hi all,Fitted this in December and have just completed first trip from Lowestoft to Penzance. I'm 60 and have been sailing since I was 5, so I know what I like.This is undoubtedly the best piece of kit I've had on any boat ever. It replaced a much older servo pendulum gear and is just amazing in the band of wind and sea conditions it covers. In particular its ability to steer safely on a dead run even when surfing is incredible, as is its light weather performance. I kept thinking, it just can’t be this good.I also dislike having to faff about with things on boats. With the Hydrovane I haven't had to try any of the settings, van angle etc., just engage and sit back.So thanks a million it’s the best money I ever spent.Cheers from sunny Penzance.Paul S
Westerly 33 ketch with Hydrovane & dinghy on davits
UNSOLICITED EMAIL RECEIVED MAY 2013 - Beneteau 47.7 ( see also his email of Nov., 2009) - a single hander
From: darryl laurin [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: May-10-13 12:23 AM
To: Will Curry
Subject: Re: Hydrovane CoversHi Will,
I purchased my Hydrovane in 2009. I have since sailed my Beneteau First 47.7 from Gibraltar to Istanbul, (and many places in the Med of course) and then from Turkey to the Caribbean. About 90% of that has been solo or with non-sailors. I have relied hugely on my Vane both as the principal pilot to windward and as a back-up rudder should I have the miss fortune to loose my rudder. It has served me very well and I recommend it highly. I have had excellent support from the team at Hydrovane.Next year I shall be enter the Pacific heading west.(You are welcome to add those comments to your site. I wore out my Hydrovane T-Shirt long ago. But I used to get a lot of laughs from it as well)Good to hear that you are in the Pacific. Perhaps I shall see you out there.Darryl
SOLICITED EMAIL RECEIVED APRIL 2013 - Passport 40 - Alaska to French Polynesia
From: William Ennis [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: April-23-13 3:20 PM
To: Will and Sarah on Hydroquest
Subject: EmailOur friends,Great to see you both today! Great tats and I think that I'll get one, perhaps from the same guy. I've considered this for a while.Our quote:We have been sailing since we bought our first boat in Alaska, over twenty years ago. We bought our Wings, a 1983 Passport 40, and sailed her in Alaska for twelve years, then went cruising. We installed our Hydrovane in 2010 and it's been providing steering services all the way from Alaska to the Sea of Cortez, now across the Pacific to Nuku Hiva in French Polynesia. Regardless of sea or wind conditions, the Hydrovane keeps us on track. Whether it's 5 knots or 50 knots of apparent wind, reaching or running, cross seas or following seas, the Hydrovane compensates quickly and without complaint or energy. In this recent Pacific crossing, the Hydrovane kept us on course (relative to the wind, of course) for several days at a time, requiring no tweaking or attention at all. If you can balance your boat and twist a dial, you can successfully operate a Hydrovane. Don't leave home without one!
Bill Ennis, Conni Livsey
S/V WingsBill is about to kiss his Hydrovane on completing the 'Puddle Jump' to the Marquesas from Mexico
UNSOLICITED EMAIL RECEIVED APRIL 2013 - Shannon 38
From: CFK9303@sailmail.com [mailto:CFK9303@sailmail.com]
Sent: Thursday, April 18, 2013 3:21 PM
To: John Curry
Subject: Amazing productHi John,You may not recall, but I have had numerous correspondences with you and your helpful staff over the last three years or so as I planned and began my cruise South. I have a Shannon 38 Pilothouse, Kuan Yin 1, and got assistance from you or your staff in planning the installation of a hydrovane. After I installed it with proper foot pads and steel backing plates, I realized I had made a critical error. Instead of installing it parallel to the centerline, I had gotten fixed on ensuring that it was perpendicular to the water. Don't ask me why I did that, I can't recall my reasoning.Well it is perpendicular to the water alright. Unfortunately, when I did that, the boat had a list to starboard. I'm not writing you about that, however. I'm writing you about how forgiving "Wayne" the hydrovane is, and how happy I am with your amazing product.
At the moment, we are 300 nms from Hiva Oa, and Wayne has been driving since Panama, mostly downwind, and at present in light air. "He" has tolerated my stupidity and functioned day in, day out like a charm. All this, and two weeks ago we started a new sail configuration. We have poled out the Yankee to windward and have the main and stay'sl to leeward. Partly we did this because we had to haul down the 115% Genoa. The stitching on the foot and in places on the leech was coming undone, and a fellow cruiser on an SSB net suggested this sail configuration.
I'm telling you all this, because I suspect sailing a deep broad reach in, at times, lumpy seas, light air and with a sail set such as this is a real test of the Hydrovane, especially one improperly installed. I have sent you photos of the installation a couple of years ago, by the way. I don't know if you still have access to those photos. Clearly, whatever problems I created are not affecting performance very much. The Hydrovane is so forgiving, essential and such a skoocum piece of equipment that I can't say enough about how pleased I am to own one.
I thought you would like to know,Bob Careys/v Kuan Yin 1Sent: April-20-13 2:29 PMTo: Will CurrySubject: Even with the chuteHi Will,
Sure, you can use my comments on your website. I should add that Wayne's driving right now with the cruising chute up on a broad reach with a triple reefed main. We deeply reefed the main to let the chute breathe, and barely changed the Hydrovane from it's position with the poled out Yankee to windward etc. that I mentioned in the last e-mail. We've tested just about every sail combination and configuration, and despite my error, Wayne just keeps on course as well as the wind direction will allow. It's almost too good too be true, but it certainly is reassuring and gives confidence on a long passage.
We'll be make landfall at Hiva Oa tomorrow afternoon after 23 days from the Galapagos. Maybe we will meet up somewhere.
Fair winds,Bobs/v Kuan Yin 1Shannon 38
UNSOLICITED EMAIL RECEIVED MARCH 2013 - Kelly Peterson 46
From: Kevin Leary [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Thursday, March 28, 2013 12:12 PM
To: John Curry
Cc: 'Will Curry'; 'Valerie Williams'
Subject: Re: It works!Hello All,
It has been some time since we last communicated over three years ago. Since then, the Hydrovane has been wonderful. It steered my Kelly Peterson 46 across the Atlantic from the Caribbean to Ireland where I have been mostly cruising since. It also served beautifully during last summer's circumnavigation of Ireland via the Scottish Hebrides.
This summer we hope to sail from Ireland to the Faroe Islands and possibly Iceland. I have no doubt the Hydrovane will serve as wonderfully as before.
However, the nylon membrane that fits over the vane frame has begin to age, and I would like to order two more, one to keep as a backup. Red is nice, but the color is not important.
I could not find this spare item among those listed on your website. Any guidance you can give me in this matter would be appreciated.Thank you,Kevin Leary
Kelly Peterson 46 at sea
SNAILMAIL RECEIVED MARCH 2013 - LeComte Fastnet 45 yawl - on finally committing to buy a Hydrovane
After 20 years of cruising, including two Atlantic and two Pacific crossings, a year’s worth of saving, and prompt and effective communications from you, I am ready to purchase a Hydrovane. In all honesty, I am both nervous and excited about this purchase because it represents a dream I’ve had for two decades, a very significant purchase (at least in my book) and a commitment to circumnavigate. In short, similar to all the emotions that one has when going to sea!
Please find enclosed ...........................
Marion, MA 02738
UNSOLICITED EMAIL RECEIVED MARCH 2013 - Westerly 33 ketch
From: Trevor Fellowes [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: Wednesday, March 06, 2013 11:20 AM
To: John Curry
Subject: Re: Spare part for my Hydrovane - Bottom CollarJohnYes you are welcome to quote me.
Here are two photos. One is in a stiff wind and sea ( never looks as bad does it on film, except that small rock to left is actually just the top of impressive Skellig Michael off SW Ireland) when I was still learning about set and balance. So Hydrovane had to work harder than she should, but coped fine.
I think the second, looking down photo, is at Ramsay, Isle of Man. Both show the extent to which Hydrovane is offset, but to no deficit. You might also be able to see a light line attached to the tiller, which I use to increase my manoeuvrability in tight spaces. In your website you cite the advantage of an extra rudder with someone attending to it, but this allows me the same benefit when solo. Sometimes it has enabled me to be brilliant, but I confess that the logistics of turning the wheel one way and pulling a cord for Hydrovane have sometimes been too much for my dexterity. On balance though it is a good trick and perhaps next season practice will make perfect.
I have fitted all new sails to Candra over the past two years. I redesigned the mizzen to have a high cat-cut and the ability to reef as a lateen so as to clear the top of Hydrovane. (Though in practice that is rarely a problem.) But I should also tell you that the Sailtainer in-boom reefing system is super and is an excellent pairing with Hydrovane because it allows infinite and easy reefing, thus keeping the balance optimal. If ever you were looking to acquire a new product for your company, I'd recommend it. Been around and improved over years, but never properly marketed or taken off.Sorry to go on at lengthBest wishes
From: Trevor Fellowes [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Wednesday, March 06, 2013 9:34 AM
Subject: Spare part for my HydrovaneHello John
I bought a unit from you in 2010 and fitted it myself. It has been excellent. I have not been on long ocean passages but I have circumnavigated Ireland and sailed from North West Scotland down the West coast of France and Northern Spain, where Candra is now moored till the Spring. I have been surprised and very pleased at how easy and quick it is to set up Hydrovane, so it can be used even for short hops and sailing inshore, with variable winds.
In fact I have just returned home from an Atlantic crossing on a friend's boat that only had electric power self steering, and wow did that impress me how much better Hydrovane is, in several ways.
Anyway, that is pre-amble and feedback. I need a replacement part: the bottom collar casting got cracked (I don't know how) and half fell off. From your website I think you may have changed it slightly (PET?) but I should be grateful if you can arrange for a new one to be sent to my home address, and of course tell me how much and how to pay.Kind regardsTrevorWesterly 33 ketch at sea
EMAIL RECEIVED FEBRUARY 2013 & DECEMBER 2012 - Motiva 49 - steel, 24 tonnes (52,800 lbs.) - lost main rudder in 2012 ARC
From: Dag Rørslett [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: Monday, December 17, 2012 2:42 AM
To: John Curry
Subject: Re: Hydrovane
My apologise for this late answer, we have very busy trying to sort out insurance details etc. Pls see my answers in red in your text.
DAG S/Y Modus Vivendi
PS We were very happy about the Hydrovane. It worked beautifully once we dared to 'start' it, which was late on the first day after the ARC start. So the vane was working just great for the first five days (put in neutral once in a while just to correct things) in what I will describe as rough weather; nothing extreme; 4-8 m waves and winds 25-40 knots and from behind, The vane coped. It was a great help after the rudder loss surely. Combined with our drogues (we lost our second one) and trimmed sails we managed to hit Cape Verdes, after all!
....and on January 13, 2013 he added:
I can send more text to you in a while with "my own story", saying that the Hydrovane did a great job and without it we might have ended up on the shores of Senegal. Or before that destroyed by colliding with bigger ships in the ship lane between Cap Verdes and Africa; that was my main worry. We steered as you probably know using the vane, a drogue and close reefed sails. In my personal point of view we would be in severe trouble not having the vane. We needed more gear to steer the boat, that is true, but I think that has to do with the following fact; a heavy boat like mine with semi-long keel but WITHOUT a main rudder will always tend to go up against the wind because the lateral plane (..?; the sideways forces....) is destroyed - the main rudder being a very important part. Our mainsail was stuck too so we could not use that either. The whole balance of the boat was gone, making it almost impossible to steer... BUT we made it to Cape Verdes and are proud of that fact.
A heavy boat with everything in place steers with the vane, surely! Before the incident happened the Hydrovane steered beautifully and everybody onboard was amazed by its easy operation and the fact that it seemed to steer better than our old autopilot.
Anyway, I think it is a good story thanks to the Hydrovane.
DAG S/Y Modus Vivendi
See Dag’s website for the full story in Norwegian ( Dag is Norwegian, his wife and the boat have Danish roots): www.lotteogdag.com
From the UK's Yachting World magazine - February 2013 edition
Motiva 49 - Danish built steel - 24 tonnes