Email Testimonials

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



Showing 277 Email Testimonials

UNSOLICITED EMAIL RECEIVED JULY 2014 – Elan 434

"In a word, fantastic… with sails and the boat’s rudder in trim, it was dead simple to engage and adjust, achieving a stable helm almost instantly."

"...I was amazed how easy it was to experiment with different vane angles and ratio knob positions to find the groove, so to speak."

"I found the gentle rocking motion of the vane to be almost hypnotic… what an amazing piece of engineering!"

From: Gerry May [mailto:gerrymay@shaw.ca]
Sent: Friday, July 18, 2014 2:49 PM
To: 'Will Curry'
Cc: 'John Curry'
Subject: Hydrovane comments & pix 

Hi Will,

It was good to meet up with all of you at Hydrovane yesterday. Thanks for the spare rudder pin… always good to have one of those, just in case.

I wanted to share with you my first impressions of the Hydrovane which we were able to employ for most of the stretch between the Aeolian Islands (NW of Messina Strait) to Cagliari, Sardinia. In a word, fantastic… with sails and the boat’s rudder in trim, it was dead simple to engage and adjust, achieving a stable helm almost instantly. We were in relatively flat water with 12-14 knots at 100-110 degrees apparent, so perhaps these gentle conditions helped to shorten the learning curve. Even so, I was amazed how easy it was to experiment with different vane angles and ratio knob positions to find the groove, so to speak. We settled on the most sensitive ratio knob position with an almost vertical vane in these conditions. I found the gentle rocking motion of the vane to be almost hypnotic… what an amazing piece of engineering!

I have attached a few pictures.

Cheers, Gerry

 

UNSOLICITED EMAIL RECEIVED JUNE 2014 – Offshore/Rhodes/Reliant 40/41 – also see his March 2009 email

"We have seen as least six new HYDROVANES here in this yard alone."

"The HYDROVANE/tiller pilot combination must be much more economical as well as versatile than an equivalent under- deck autopilot."

From: sigmund Baardsen [mailto:symaryt@yahoo.com]
Sent: Monday, June 30, 2014 10:24 AM
To: John Curry
Subject: Heading East

 Dear John,

It was lovely to see Will and Sarah's excellent (informative) piece in Latitude 38. They are inspirational. Please convey that to them.

MARY T is now on the hard. We have scraped off hundreds of 10-12mm barnacles and wet sanded the bottom. We do not consider that a paint failure, as La Paz Bay has 85F. water temp and is rich in nutrients. After three weeks, our anchor chain is the size of your arm, with marine growth. Unlike the Chesapeake, where marine life is dying of eutrefaction, due to industrial and agricultural pollution and mostlythe pig farms, here the oyster, clam and crab fisheries are prospering.

Carol is sewing covers for all the new varnish. The first 6 coats applied three months ago, at Catalina are already breaking down and have been re-coated, with another three. God I am hating varnish. It’s a mug’s game, south of 40 Deg.

Everything is removed from deck and/or double lashed, on account of hurricanes. The jack stands are well chained and the boats are jammed in so tightly that it is unlikely that any individual boat could go down. The yard is a far cry from the Cherubini Yachts yard. Here it is dirt aprons, flea-bitten dogs and dog shit everywhere, abandon boats, broken and abandon boat parts everywhere. It is a place of broken dreams, yet it is familiar, comfortable and we somehow find hope here. There is happily no travel lift, but instead a there is a cement launch-ramp, into the water and a big submersible trailer with hydraulic arms that support the boat.

We have found an inverse relationship, between appearance of the yard and care given the vessels. In the yards with flash new equipment, smart uniforms, travel lifts and fancy offices and restrooms, they care more about insurance, waivers, disclaimers, documentation and paperwork than they do about the boat. That is a sentiment not widely shared, particularly in the U.S..

Tomorrow we are off the boat, into a B&B operated by cruising friends, from 25 years back, at Moorings Pto. Escondido. That should be fun.

After a few days rest we are flying East, to sail on a sistership in the Chesapeake Bay/Long Island Sound area. The Annapolis boat show is on our itinerary.

Will you be there?

We have seen as least six new HYDROVANES here in this yard alone. Your improvements are subtle. Congratulations. You seem to be not only holding your own but gaining against the electric auto pilots. The HYDROVANE/tiller pilot combination must be much more economical as well as versatile than an equivalent under- deck autopilot.

Coming down the coast we had a few 168/mile days, with three reefs in the main and a scrap of jib. that's not bad for an old boat with a 27 foot waterline.

On the 6th night, a threaded stem-ball, unscrewed from the control rod. (My fault, not yours). We had to had steer. It was exhausting. With fatigue we started to make slow decisions and bad decisions. Rather continue, deeper into folly, we hove-to (a forgotten virtue) and rested. At daylight we put into the salt works at Cedros Island, where there is a machine shop. I was able to make the repair, with parts on board in fifteen minutes. Then we slept for fifteen hours straight.

Avoiding fatigue is important to "Survive your dream". Fatigue is insidious in its effect on our faculties. We don't even think of drinking and driving, yet people brag, "I was steering for18 hours, couldn't leave the helm, because of the storm". That's stupid. That is a message that cruisers need to hear.

Congratulations on helping so many to achieve and survive their dreams.

Sigmund 

Rhodes/Reliant/Offshore 40/41

Rhodes/Reliant/Offshore 40/41 - with pre 1986 Hydrovane

UNSOLICITED EMAIL RECEIVED JUNE 2014 – Scandia 32

"I just wanted to tell that I am very pleased with my vane, Atilla."

"He worked exactly as promised, first time out."

From: Arthur Robey [mailto:arthurrobey@gmail.com]
Sent: Friday, June 27, 2014 8:06 PM
To: info@hydrovane.com
Subject: Thank you.

 

Sorry about the delay. Life got in the way.

I just wanted to tell that I am very pleased with my vane, 'Atilla'.

He worked exactly as promised, first time out.

I am thinking that I should invest in two more for my little yacht.

 

Regards,

Arthur Robey

 

UNSOLICITED EMAIL RECEIVED JUNE 2014 – Hallberg Rassy 412

"Overall when Helga is working she is amazing. Her ability to sail the boat smoothly and quickly astonished me even after reading various reviews before we purchased."

"My wife is a bit prone to seasickness and we clearly notice the difference as soon as Helga is engaged or dis-engaged."

From: peter.bamford@hotmail.co.uk
To: john@hydrovane.com
Subject: FW: Hallberg Rassy 412 - Hydrovane model VXA2D L(shaft length)/A/H - £4,750 - 3 Timber Pads
Date: Sun, 22 Jun 2014 16:54:15 +0100

 

John, having used our Hydrovane (nicknamed 'Helga"!) on and off for a couple of weeks I thought I would send you some reflections. 

Overall when Helga is working she is amazing. Her ability to sail the boat smoothly and quickly astonished me even after reading various reviews before we purchased. My wife is a bit prone to seasickness and we clearly notice the difference as soon as Helga is engaged or dis-engaged. Shen even managed to steer the boat well when motorsailing on number of occasions. However, there are number of points worth mentioning or discussing:

1. We had to fit Helga slightly off centre on the starboard side. We do have a bimini and a backstay where the main elements of the bridle and blocks are on the port side. The impact is that on starboard tack Helga works almost faultlessly on any point of sailing but really struggles to find clear air on port tack with the apparent wind forward of the beam. Obviously the heeling angle of the boat effectively lowers Helga further into the wind shadow. Given that we have few options with the bimini and backstay - please see photo - I'm not sure whether there any easy answers to this. I would welcome your thoughts. 

2. On our boat the normal genoa is low footed with minimal overlap but we do carry and use a 'code zero' sail in up to around 12/13 knots of wind with the true wind more than 55/60 degrees off the nose. The balance of boat is much more sensitive to changes in wind strength with this sail up and Helga needs a bit more adjustment as we go along.

3. I also note your comments about removing the rudder for manoeuvring in marinas. We have found this to be absolutely essential, particularly since our boat is fitted with a sail drive well forward rather than a traditional propeller. With Helga's rudder locked centre it is absolutely impossible to get any side ways kick on the stern when driving on to pontoons. We had a couple of quite embarrassing moments until I realised what the issue was!

4. Please could you send me a couple of spare pins? I've read your comments about rotating the pins to prevent fatigue failures. I'd like keep two spare.

Regards,

Peter

Hallberg Rassy 412

Hallberg Rassy 412 - 'Orma di Luna'

John's response to Peter's questions:

• DIRTY AIR – You might be surprised to hear that we have never had a report of dirty air affecting performance when beating ……. although such is certainly possible/understandable. Part of the reason is that cruisers so rarely have to beat upwind and that is such an easy point of sail steering wise. If you ever do get in that situation again you can try:

o Shift the sheeting to the traveler (if you have one)

o Slack the main sheet a bit

o Put a reef in the mainsail

o There is an expression: ‘Gentlemen never go to weather’.

• HEADSAILS – If you have a true genoa with a low foot I always recommend having them recut to put the clew higher making the length of the sides more like an isosceles triangle so you can see beneath it and when you slack its sheet the sail doesn’t simply open at the top. Genoas are one purpose sails – meant to go upwind – a direction that cruisers try hard to avoid. When off the wind, even with the headsail on the leeward side it is often wise to put a pole on the clew to tighten up the sail – keep it from collapsing and filling. That collapsing and filling corrupts the boat balance sending confusing signals to the HV.

• RUDDER REMOVAL – For arrival in a marina it is much preferable to remove the rudder ……. unless you have an extra pair of hands to use the HV rudder – two rudders are better than one.

 

 

 

 

UNSOLICITED EMAIL RECEIVED JUNE 2014 – Valiant 40

"... and quickly figured out how to engage it once we were underway. It functioned as advertised, much to the amazement of a couple of crew who weren’t aware of wind vanes."

From: Mike Meador [mailto:mikemeador1@gmail.com]
Sent: Saturday, June 21, 2014 6:31 AM
To: 'Will Curry'
Subject: RE: First time Hydrovane owner - Valiant 40

Will,

Thanks again for your support. Our maiden voyage from Florida to the Chesapeake Bay on our just-purchased 1991 Valiant 40 was uneventful. The Hydrovane hadn’t been used for at least six years; I lubricated it as you suggested, installed the rudder and vane, set up a control line, and quickly figured out how to engage it once we were underway. It functioned as advertised, much to the amazement of a couple of crew who weren’t aware of wind vanes. We used it for a third of the trip; other times we were forced to motor sail with the autopilot. 

I understand the loose, no-lubrication engineering design, but what about using a bit of silicone grease on the worm gear?

Thanks,

Mike

Valiant 40 Rising Star

Valiant 40 'Rising Star'

 

UNSOLICITED EMAIL RECEIVED JUNE 2014 – Islander Freeport 36

"One of the bits of gear I'm most satisfied with is my Hydrovane. The Cadillac of vanes."

From: schollr@aol.com [mailto:schollr@aol.com]
Sent: September-18-13 11:10 AM
To: valerie@hydrovane.com
Subject: Re: UPS SHIPPING INFORMATION Islander 36 Freeport - Hydrovane model VXA2D L/H/E - Stubby Vane - H & E timber pads

I installed and started to use when I left my home port on Sept 4. Unfortunately there was only 1 day of wind in the first 7. Since then the winds have varied from 5 to 35 knots (rounding Pt Conception on the California coast). The vane has worked well. I find I have to make some adjustements as the wind speed varies to keep the boat from rounding up. This adjustment is either on the vane or by a small adjustment on the boat helm.

Somehow we misconnected on the vane. The title of this email is stubby vane which is what I wanted for future installation of an arch. I was sent the standard vane. I am happy with this for the time being. If I do get the arch which may be someway down the road I may want to switch to the stubby.

I plan on posting a report on the Freeport Owners Yahoo Group to show the installation and indicate I am pleased with it. Note we did have to make some adjustments in the ribbing in the stern of the boat to make it work. The only installation problem so far has been the control arm at the top of the shaft came loose at the end of the first day.

Thanks,

Bob Scholl

 ____________________________________________

Later Bob wrote to Latitude 38 magazine - quoted in the CHANGES section of the March 2014 issue:

"One of the bits of gear I'm most satisfied with is my Hydrovane. The Cadillac of vanes. It's also the most expensive as it cost $6,000 installed. But two things make it particularly good for me. First, it could be installed offset, which it had to be because of the door that opens in the back of the boat cockpit. Because it's offset, the rudder is out of the slipstream of the main rudder, and is therefore more efficient.  Secondly, its a totally independent steering system, so if the main rudder fails, I can steer the boat using the vane rudder."

Islander Freeport 36 - offset

Islander Freeport 36 - offset

UNSOLICITED EMAIL RECEIVED JUNE 2014 – Columbia 43 – maiden sail with HV from Honolulu to Kauai and back

"I did not touch the steering wheel until was time to drop anchor...or ready to drop sail at the entrance of the marina..

great...."

From: Sergio Mitrotti [mailto:sergio.mitrotti@gmail.com]
Sent: Wednesday, June 18, 2014 2:48 PM
To: john@hydrovane.com
Subject: Thank from honolulu

 

Hi John,

I finally tested the hydrovane I installed on my Columbia 43......

I sailed from Honolulu to Hanalei bay in Kauai, only 125 nautical miles...but with 25 nots wind gusting up. Going with the wind at 150 degrees, coming back sailing to weather 45 to 50 degrees.

I did not touch the steering wheel until was time to drop anchor...or ready to drop sail at the entrance of the marina..

great....

I may need a spare pin, just in case.

I am getting ready to get the water maker...Echo tec, 11 or 13 gallons..

could you give me the latest on the package???

thank you

Sergio

 
Columbia 43 2Columbia 43

UNSOLICITED EMAIL RECEIVED JUNE 2014 – Cartwright 40 en route to Tahiti from Hawaii

"This is my first time sailing with a Hydrovane and it performs so well under all kinds of conditions. A work of art really"

From: DeLorme inReach [mailto:no.reply@delorme.com]
Sent: June-16-14 5:58 PM
To: valerie@hydrovane.com
Subject: inReach message from Vince Denhertog

Thanks. This is my first time sailing with a Hydrovane and it performs so well under all kinds of conditions. A work of art really. Vince

View the location or send a reply to Vince Denhertog:
Vince Denhertog sent this message from:
Lat 6.530857 Lon -156.668923
This message was sent to you using the DeLorme inReach two-way satellite communicator with GPS.

Cartwright 40

Cartwright 40

 

UNSOLICTED EMAIL RECEIVED JUNE 2014 – Allegro 32

"so now the first report from Clary with Hydrovane - we are soooooo disappointed, the rudder does not work at all, the vane is f______g up and the rudder goes all ways - what is this for joke ......

Honestly Will, I´m joking of course - the rudder is magnifique, it worked after 5 second trial. we have sailed up to 30 knots and we have a new member onboard, even during reefing the rudder keep Clary in perfect position - I´m super impressed"

From: Ulf Olsson <syclary@gmail.com>
Date: Tue, Jun 10, 2014 at 7:45 AM
Subject: Re: Hydrovane on Clary
To: Will Curry will@hydrovane.com

Hi Will,

so now the first report from Clary with Hydrovane - we are soooooo disappointed, the rudder does not work at all, the vane is f______g up and the rudder goes all ways - what is this for joke ...... 

Honestly Will, I´m joking of course - the rudder is magnifique, it worked after 5 second trial. we have sailed up to 30 knots and we have a new member onboard, even during reefing the rudder keep Clary in perfect position - I´m super impressed

The only issue I have is steering in the harbour - so far I´m locking the rudder and steer wirth my original rudder but Clary reacts prettys slow - maybe I have to play with both rudder the same time - here ther is something to learn - hints are welcome.

Regards
//Ulf

Allegro 32 - side

Allegro 32

 

UNSOLICITED EMAIL RECEIVED JUNE 2014 – Alan Payne 41

"....My old HV was pretty good, but the new one is even better."

"I am sure that no other windvane on the market can match this very important characteristic for me..."

From: Robert Williams [mailto:sylph@mailasail.com]
Sent: June-02-14 7:08 PM
To: Valerie Williams
Subject: Re: Hydrovane Delivery UPS T Tracking Number 1ZW4V3356899028041

Hi Valerie,

....My old HV was pretty good, but the new one is even better. I am sure that no other windvane on the market can match this very important characteristic for me, especially as I hate to motor.

Right now I am drifting around in the middle of the Sea of Japan waiting for some wind - not even the Hydrovane works when there is no wind.

Regards,
Bob Williams
SY Sylph VI
+8816 4158 6292
blog.mailasail.com/sylph 

Custom E extra supports 3 - Alan Payne 41

Alan Payne 41 with new Vane, Drive Unit and shaft and custom lower bracket

Custom E extra supports - old - Alan Payne 41

35+ year old Hydrovane with custom bracket supports

UNSOLICITED EMAIL RECEIVED MAY 2014 – Jeanneau SO 45 – shaft failure from crevice corrosion …. surfing at 16 knots

"I am a big fan of the Hydrovane and am always extolling its virtues."

"Our top speed with the Hydrovane in control is 16.5kts but it was getting a bit wild so we put the inboard pilot on as well. This works really well and keeps the boat under control."

From: Peter Whatley [mailto:peterwhatley@live.co.uk]
Sent: May-25-14 7:13 AM
To: will@hydrovane.com
Subject: Fwd: hydrovane

Hi Will 

I thought I would send this to you for your thoughts and comments. 

Our boat is a Jeanneau Sun Odyseey 45. My son, William (aka Skip) is sailing back from Antigua to the UK via Bermuda and the Azores with his friend Tom. Both are very experienced sailors. William sailed across with me last November to the Caribbean. They wisely opted to sail to Bermuda first thereby avoiding the deep depression in which Cheeki Rafiki found herself.

Before leaving the Caribbean I fitted new bearings and stripped the system to clean and  check. Everything was in perfect order even after many miles of use. 

I am a big fan of the Hydrovane and am always extolling its virtues. Before passing comment on to fellow users I thought I would speak with you first to see what your thoughts might be regarding the cause of the failure. 

Please be assured that my aim is to support and promote this excellent product.

Kind regards
Peter 
Peter Whatley
Vice Commodore
Ocean Cruising Club

 

From: Peter Whatley [mailto:peterwhatley@live.co.uk]
Sent: Monday, June 2, 2014 12:44 AM
To: Will Curry
Cc: John Curry; Sarah Curry
Subject: Re: hydrovane

Hi Will

The measurement of the shaft on our boat is 1190mm. I have asked William, my son, to check and double check and he confirms that this is the measurement.

I have attached a photo of the broken shaft for interest. The other photo shows the Hydrovane working well as our boat powers along at 10.3 kts.

Our top speed with the Hydrovane in control is 16.5kts but it was getting a bit wild so we put the inboard pilot on as well. This works really well and keeps the boat under control.

Kind regard

Jeanneau SO 45 at sea

Jeanneau SO 45 doing 10.3 knots 

Crevice Corrosion

 Fractured shaft from 'crevice corrosion' - an older '316' shaft.
The new 'super duplex' shafts are less prone to 'crevice corrosion'.

 

 

UNSOLICITED EMAIL RECEIVED MAY 2014 – Hallberg Rassy 49 – 23 tons

"I had waves breaking on the transom with no canvas and it was fine . I can't tell you how many times I look back at the vane and think it's just Magic. As I first started to use the HydroVane, I struggled. I doubted that it could steer the boat, too much boat. I was over correcting, not properly trimming the main sail, not using the rudder for gusts."

"It's the best money we've spent on the boat. The funny thing is that, $6k held me back. It took two years before we bought. The peace of mind, savings in energy consumption and the quiet, I'll say quiet again! It's by far the best 6K we ever spent."

"Although, HydroVane was not the star of the rescue story, it could have been. I didn't have the time to practice and learn to use it. I now believe, it can make you a better sailor, keeping the boat in proper balance and matching the environment. I will be pitching it as a "must have" piece of equipment. I feel so strongly about your product. Honestly, It's foolish not to have it."

From: Dan Alonso [mailto:danalonso@bresnan.net]
Sent: Monday, May 26, 2014 9:54 AM
To: john@hydrovane.com
Subject: Brochures

 

Hi john

We bought HydroVane last year. I went off and did 4 Ocean races including an offshore rescue.   

[For the story see: http://www.sailingscuttlebutt.com/2013/09/18/rescue-sea-personal-account-overcoming-obstacles/ ]

As you may recall, I had difficulty with the install on the way to Bermuda. Like all the other testimony, I just can't say enough about it, it's fantastic. I just did a solo, nonstop Charleston to Portland without my pilot. Winds 0 to 40 and the HydroVane was just perfect. Even under power in 8 foot trailing seas, heavy fog pulling into Portland it perform wonderfully. I had waves breaking on the transom with no canvas and it was fine . I can't tell you how many times I look back at the vane and think it's just Magic. As I first started to use the HydroVane, I struggled. I doubted that it could steer the boat, too much boat. I was over correcting, not properly trimming the main sail, not using the rudder for gusts. On the other side of this learning curve, it just magic. Thank you so much. It's the best money we've spent on the boat. The funny thing is that, $6k held me back. It took two years before we bought. The peace of mind, savings in energy consumption and the quiet, I'll say quiet again! It's by far the best 6K we ever spent.

I got my friend Bill on his HR 43 to get it. It's being installed and I'll be helping him dial it in. 

Stanley Paris, is preparing to race around the world and has asked me about it. He's sailing a Farr 63 but with similar displacement as Halcyon. His adventure is a green. I can't say enough for the safety side of it. If possible a kick up rudder adapter would be good for his application. He may help in the production of such an adapter. His adventure is enormously publicized 

Approaching Maine, the lobster pots became more dense. I was concerned about damage to the vane if I got hung up. What are your thoughts on that? I also wondered about a kick up adapter with a shear pin for that issue. I'd buy it.

Because of the rescue, I've been asked to speak at a Seven Seas Cruising Association rally next month in Essex, CT. Although, HydroVane was not the star of the rescue story, it could have been. I didn't have the time to practice and learn to use it. I now believe, it can make you a better sailor, keeping the boat in proper balance and matching the environment. I will be pitching it as a "must have" piece of equipment. I feel so strongly about your product. Honestly, It's foolish not to have it. There will be about 40-50 offshore cruisers. Do you have brochures you can forward. They need to know HydroVane and what it can do. I'd like to put something in their hands. Halcyon's getting a little bit of a name. I think we've got a website in our future and will be looking to help promote HydroVane as well.

 

Thank you

Dan Alonso

2208 Omega rd

Cheyenne, WY 82009

 

970-308-2103

Hallberg Rassy 49, 27 ton

Halberg Rassy 49 - 27 tons

UNSOILICITED EMAIL RECEIVED MAY 2014 – Jeanneau SO 44i

"Our new Hydrovane steered Salty Ginger effortlessly across the Atlantic in 2012."

From: Graham Perry [mailto:grahamperryster@gmail.com]

Sent: Friday, May 9, 2014 8:57 AM

To: John Curry; Will Curry

Subject: WattAndSea

 

 

Hi John and Will 

Hope all is well! I am still in Toronto. Salty Ginger in in Antigua. Out new Hydrovane steered Salty Ginger effortlessly across the Atlantic ion 2012.

I am very interested in the Watt@Sea Hydrogenerator and low and behold - you are a distributor.

Do you have a price sheet available with all the options 

Still trying to decide where I would mount it. I would love your input based on my Hydrovane location (see pics)

Graham

Jeanneau SO 44i

Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 44i

UNSOLICITED EMAIL RECEIVED MAY 2014 – Hallberg Rassy 45

"Heeding your advice to play around with the sail area ... the vane performed flawlessly and kept us at an apparent wind angle of 160 - 170 degrees"

"....knowing that also at night we did not have to worry about an accidental jibe,...."

"I was initially somewhat concerned about the start-up investment of purchase and installation but meanwhile think that it was the best upgrade to the boat which has paid a handsome return in terms of comfort and less wear and tear on the main steering system and autopilot. It just worked great!"


From: Hellmuth Starnitzky [mailto:hstarnitzky@gmail.com]

Sent: Sunday, May 4, 2014 3:59 PM

To: will@hydrovane.com

Cc: john@hydrovane.com

Subject: Hawaii Passage

Hi Will,

Thanks for a great piece in April's Latitude 38. Must have been fun!

In response to your April 16, 2014, e-mail to WDE7227:

We were sailing at an apparent wind angle of 120 degrees mostly on starboard tack in winds of 25+ knots. As the wind clocked further to the ENE, this being a cutter rig, we changed the sail plan and had the staysail set to leeward and a partially unfurled Genoa on a pole to windward. Winds increased to the high 20s and topped out at 36 knots true with big waves to 25'.

Heeding your advice to play around with the sail area to achieve as good a balance as could be had, the vane performed flawlessly and kept us at an apparent wind angle of 160 - 170 degrees. Hydrovane steered us for more than 2,500 nautical miles of the total of 3,118 nm on our way from Puerto Vallarta to Honolulu where we arrived a week ago.

"Lucy" is truly an amazing device, reliable and strongly built which afforded the crew a lot of comfort: knowing that also at night we did not have to worry about an accidental jibe, would stay on the same wind angle and had much time for other things like navigation, cooking and sleeping.

I was initially somewhat concerned about the start-up investment of purchase and installation but meanwhile think that it was the best upgrade to the boat which has paid a handsome return in terms of comfort and less wear and tear on the main steering system and autopilot. It just worked great!

When unshipping the Hydrovane rudder upon arrival, I noticed again a slight warp in the rudder's shape. When holding the rudder such that I can look down its leading edge, there is a small but noticeable bend to the left, as mentioned before. Anything I can do to straighten the rudder?  - I also noticed that along the center of the seam on the slanted top where one grabs the rudder, a number of small holes opened up as if some glue was washed out. I do not consider this a deficiency at this time but wonder if this may be a sign of beginning delamination of the two halves? As always, your comment is appreciated.

We will continue to Sitka, Alaska, at the end of June for the summer before eventually returning to the San Francisco Bay Area.

I attach a Word file being an editorial I sent to Latitude 38 about our crossing from P.V. As you can read, I mentioned Hydrovane as well.

This as an update. I appreciate your availability and promptness in rendering assistance and advice!

Best regards,

Hellmuth Starnitzky

"Ocean Echo"

Hallberg Rassy 45

Honolulu, HI

cell: 510-333-4226

E-mail: hstarnitzky@gmail.com

UNSOLICITED EMAIL RECEIVED MAY & JUNE 2014 – Custom 28 foot

"She's been a dream, more obedient than any crew member and such a calm nature!"

"I used it for 3 hours from home port to Yarmouth in the Isle of Wight and by the time I got there I already had confidence in the Hydrovane. "

"... was even tacking with the Hydrovane"

From: Scott Waddington [mailto:sw@wicormarine.co.uk]
Sent: Thursday, July 03, 2014 8:08 AM
To: Will Curry
Subject: One for the catalogue?

Will,

Hope you and yours are well. 

She's been a dream, more obedient than any crew member and such a calm nature!

Regards,

Scott (of WicorMarine - as listed on our 'INSTALLERS' webpage)

 

 

From: Scott Waddington [mailto:sw@wicormarine.co.uk
Sent: May-01-14 12:43 PM
To: Will Curry
Subject: Amble - Course setting wheel / Worm Stiffness

 

Will

I should have read your Tips first!!  I’ve just seen the note about the worm swelling and that it might need reaming.  I will try this today so please don’t waste your time replying as I suspect this is the problem.

Many thanks
Scott 

 

Hi Will 

Hope you are well.  I tried the Hydrovane for the first time the other day and got on very well all things considered. I used it for 3 hours from home port to Yarmouth in the Isle of Wight and by the time I got there I already had confidence in the Hydrovane.  I clearly needed to do some tweaking but to all intents and purposes, it was working well.  On the way back I had set up the course setting line up properly and was even tacking with the Hydrovane, leaving the tiller locked until on the new tack and then slightly adjusting back to the sweet spot.

However, this was a couple of weeks ago and I went out to Amble yesterday and was making a few adjustments, like fitting bunny cord to the rudder and I tried the course setting line (not sure why). To my surprise it was very stiff, the line just slipped on the pulley.  When I tried to turn the pulley by hand, it was definitely stiff and I can’t work out what has happened. 

I am sure this is something very simple indeed, so perhaps you could shed some light on it.  I tried WD40 everything but that didn’t make any difference. 

I look forward to hearing from you.

Regards,
Scott 

Scott Waddington
Managing Director
WicorMarine Yacht Haven
Cranleigh Road, Portchester, Fareham, Hampshire PO16 9DR                            
t 01329 237112     f 01329 825660

 

 See his video: http://www.youtube.com/channel/UC3J0G6QD1DhPWxQJWq4LEUw 

28' Sloop afloat

'AMBLE' is a custom 28' teak sloop designed by F B R "Buster' Brown, built in 1959 by William King of Burnham. 

 

SOLICITED EMAILS RECEIVED APRIL/MAY 2014 – Beneteau 423 enroute Galapogos to Marquesas – enquiry on temporary fix to cracked casting

" The Hydrovane has steered all the way" ............

"Best thing we did."

From: "Mike and Carol Kefford" <kefford@mailasail.com>
Date: April 18, 2014 at 5:44:59 AM GMT+8
To: "'Sarah Curry'" <
sarah@hydrovane.com>
Subject: RE: TashiDelek Hydrovane

Thanks Sarah,  we are now underway and three days in to our passage with our fabulous Hydrovane doing a great job.  All well and so far way more pleasant than the Atlantic ever was!! I will let you know once plans for a UK visit firm up so that there will be plenty of time to arrange our order. Many thanks, With kind regards, Carol

 

From: Mike and Carol Kefford [mailto:kefford@mailasail.com]
Sent: May-01-14 7:09 AM
To: 'Will Curry'
Subject: RE: Hydrovane

 

Hi Will, 

Thank you for taking the time and trouble to enquire about us. 2176 miles behind us and 924 to Fatu Hiva to go.  The Hydrovane has steered all the way, except for sail changes and adjustments, when we neutralize him to hand steer to windward etc.  The bracket is holding up well.  It is checked every day and shows no signs of stress.  Hurray!  We have been experimenting with settings for the vane and variable control to get the best performance downwind in steep following seas, mainly to avoid gybing!  However, strong winds 25 - 30 kts plus 3m swell and 2m crossing waves over the past 4 days have made life somewhat tense.  All is well on board.

I will send a full passage report once we are at anchor and include some photos.

You will note the reference to the Hydrovane as "him".  I am sure it takes on a personality for everyone.  Ours is called "Barrett" after Barrett Bonden, Captain Jack Aubrey's coxswain in the Patrick O'Brian books.

So, we love Barrett, he is doing a magnificent job for us. And thanks again for asking.

 

Kind regards.

Mike and Carol
09* 54' S  123* 02' W

 

 

From: Mike and Carol Kefford [mailto:kefford@mailasail.com]
Sent: May-05-14 7:34 AM
To: 'Will - Hydrovane'
Subject: RE: Email from fellow Beneteau 423 owner

 

Hi Will,

No worries.  I will send a holding reply until we are at anchor and recovered.  We will happily pass on our experiences of setting up a Beneteau 423 for major cruising to them.  Things we got right and things we wish we had known at the time etc.  All good about the Hydrovane though.  Best thing we did.  We currently have only 10 kts of wind but at least the sea is calm.

490 nm to go, even at 4 kts SOG it is a delight.

Mike    

Beneteau 423 - stubby lr

Beneteau 423

 SOLICITED EMAIL RECEIVED APRIL 2014 – Beneteau 423 – enroute from Galapogos to Marquesas – enquired about a fix for his factured ‘A’ Bracket

"You will note the reference to the Hydrovane as "him". I am sure it takes on a personality for everyone. Ours is called "Barrett" after Barrett Bonden, Captain Jack Aubrey's coxswain in the Patrick O'Brian books."

"So, we love Barrett, he is doing a magnificent job for us."

 

From: Mike and Carol Kefford [mailto:kefford@mailasail.com]
Sent: May-01-14 7:09 AM
To: 'Will Curry'
Subject: RE: Hydrovane
 
Hi Will,
 

Thank you for taking the time and trouble to enquire about us. 2176 miles behind us and 924 to Fatu Hiva to go.  The Hydrovane has steered all the way, except for sail changes and adjustments, when we neutralise him to hand steer to windward etc.  The bracket is holding up well.  It is checked every day and shows no signs of stress.  Hurray!  We have been experimenting with settings  for the vane and variable control to get the best performance downwind in steep following seas, mainly to avoid gybing!  However, strong winds 25 - 30 kts plus 3m swell and 2m crossing waves over the past 4 days have made life somewhat tense.  All is well on board.
 

I will send a full passage report once we are at anchor and include some photos.
 

You will note the reference to the Hydrovane as "him".  I am sure it takes on a personality for everyone.  Ours is called "Barrett" after Barrett Bonden, Captain Jack Aubrey's coxswain in the Patrick O'Brian books.


So, we love Barrett, he is doing a magnificent job for us.
And thanks again for asking.

 
Kind regards.
Mike and Carol
09* 54' S  123* 02' W 

 

 

 UNSOLICITED EMAIL RECEIVED APRIL 2014 – 35′ Gaff Cutter ‘LOVELY EDITH’

"What a piece of kit! it manages to keep my boat on course up or down wind with almost no effort and I don't have to work at it that hard to balance the boat, but the more I work at it the better it gets. It's so easy! If I want to alter course just tweak the contol lines and trim. Brilliant!!"

From: steven slater [mailto:steven_ssvc3@hotmail.com]
Sent: April-05-14 4:35 AM
To: valerie@hydrovane.com
Subject: Hi

Hi Valerie

Don't know if you remember me, Steve Slater gaff cutter Lovely Edith, I bought a hydrovane from you last year! Well after a pretty fraught year family wise, I have finally fitted it and tried it out.
What a piece of kit! it manages to keep my boat on course up or down wind with almost no effort and I don't have to work at it that hard to balance the boat, but the more I work at it the better it gets. It's so easy! If I want to alter course just tweak the contol lines and trim. Brilliant!!

I know you have a gallery of boats and the options they use with custom made brackets so I have sent a couple of photo's for you to use if you care too.

I knew it was a good buy!

Take care and many thanks

Steve (Lovely Edith)

 

'LOVELY EDITH' - 35' Gaff Cutter - custom extensions to 'H' Brackets

 

 UNSOLICITED EMAIL RECEIVED APRIL 2014 – Island Packet 32 (the old man and the sea turning 82 this year and still going strong)

" ........... I love my unit, allowed me to single hand for long offshore sails the Island Packet 32 responds well to it. It took me a while to really be able to balance the sail trim and helm in different weather conditions, but got it down pat now."

"... but that is not a problem, just adjust for it. I love it!!!!"

From: Dick Jones [mailto:dick.jones@djonesa.com]
Sent: April-25-14 7:07 AM
To: Valerie Williams
Subject: RE: Vane cover replacement

………………  I love my unit, allowed me to single hand for long offshore sails the Island Packet 32 responds well to it.  It took me a while to really be able to balance the sail trim and helm in different weather conditions, but got it down pat now.  The arch with the radar and KVH receiver just give me a spot about 10 degrees where I have some dead spots, but that is not a problem, just adjust for it.  I love it!!!!

 

Thanks for your help, Regards, Dick Jones (the old man of the sea, turning 82 this year and still going strong)

 UNSOLICITED EMAIL RECEIVED APRIL 2014 – Moody 44

"I purchased one of your units back in 2010 in preparation for the first half of a circumnavigation on a Moody 44. I have to say that it was the most useful bit of kit I put on the boat."

 From: Ian Hilder [mailto:ianhilder28@gmail.com]
Sent: Friday, April 4, 2014 3:54 PM
To: info@hydrovane.com
Subject: Hydro generators

 
Hi

I purchased one of your units back in 2010 in preparation for the first half of a circumnavigation on a Moody 44.  I have to say that it was the most useful bit of kit I put on the boat.

I am now preparing for the second half and am looking at adding to the generation capabilities on board. I have seen a few of these hydro generators - both the rope tow (Aquair) and the more rigidly fixed units (like Watt & Sea which I think you market). I was wondering whether the units that fix to the transom cause any problems of turbulence that might interfere with the effectiveness of the hydrovane.

 
Any thoughts?
 
Regards
Ian Hilder 

Moody 44

 

 

 SOLICITED EMAIL RECEIVED MARCH 2014 – Newport 41

" We replaced it with a Hydrovane and couldn’t be happier."

"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."

"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."

 From: Steven Hertik/ Heather Francis [mailto:yachtkate@gmail.com]
Sent: March-04-14 11:41 AM
To: Will Curry
Subject: Re: Email

Will

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.

Thanks

 

Heather
 
Newport 41

 UNSOLICITED EMAILS – FEBRUARY 2014 – Beneteau Oceanis 34

"Photo of Hydrovane installed in 1991 on SY Vagabundo, with him I made 10 Atlantic crossings alone."

"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."

 From: Sarah Curry [mailto:sarah@hydrovane.com

Sent: February-17-14 4:10 PM
To: 'John Curry'
Cc: Will Curry
Subject: Juan Antonio Martin - testimonial

 
Hi 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

"...other yachts that crossed at similar time said that their lighter wind vanes didn't steer so well."

 From: Kit and Belinda [mailto:yacht.quilcene@googlemail.com]
Sent: February-18-14 7:00 AM
To: Will Curry
Subject: Re: Vane cover 

Hi 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 <yacht.quilcene@googlemail.com> 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' attached
 
Regards

 

Kit (Chris) & Belinda

 

Patched Vane cover

 UNSOLICITED EMAIL RECEIVED JANUARY 2014 – Hallberg Rassy 40

"...iVane drove us door to door with quiet efficiency, no appetite and patience."

"...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."

 From: Brian Anderson [mailto:brine.anderson@gmail.com]
Sent: January-21-14 7:51 AM
To: will@hydrovane.com
Subject: more i Vane applause

 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,
brine
Hallberg Rassy 40

 SOLICITED EMAIL RECEIVED JANUARY 2014 – Contessa 32

"...the unit did all it says on the box."

"...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!"

"...even after some 20 years of exposure to harsh conditions, nothing has seized or broken."

"... 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."

 From: Peter Stonard <svianda@gmail.com>
Date: January 3, 2014 at 10:18:54 PM GMT+11
To: Sarah Curry <sarah@hydrovane.com>
Subject: Hydrovane

 
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 it
 
         My 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"
 

Contessa 32