Famous Sailors


Jimmy Cornell’s Aventura on Europa Circumnavigation

Jeanne Socrates – www.svnereida.com 

From UK’s Yachting Monthly – Practical Blue Water Cruising – July 2014  – ‘Best kit, worst kit and good advice!’

Jeanne’s ‘Best Kit’ – her number one choice, of which she says: “Wind self-steering – no power needed, and it reliably keeps course in 1.5 knots of wind and above.”


Read this email for background then scroll down for an update Courtesy Latitude 38: December 7, 2009 – Cape Town, South Africa Intrepid solo circumnavigator Jeanne Socrates, who set out from the Canaries on October 10, 2009 on a planned non-stop circuit of the globe via the five Capes, is being forced to stop in Cape Town, South Africa, to effect repairs to her Najad 380 Nereida. As you’ll recall, Socrates lost her first Nereida on a beach in Mexico last summer and had this new Nereida built to her exacting specifications in the following months.

First Nereida lost in Mexico in 2008 – see Jeanne’s story http://www.hydrovane.com/SelfSteering.html

Since her departure, Socrates has since dealt with a number of problems large and small, most of which she was able to fix outright or at least jury-rig. But being the consummate seawoman, she believes it unwise to enter the Southern Ocean without stopping for repairs, even though she’d hoped to complete the trip non-stop. “My rod kicker totally failed, the first reef line is lost somewhere inside the boom, several battens are broken, and I’m having a problem with the trysail track,” she noted, leaving out the earlier trouble she’d had with an exploding watermaker. “I felt it wasn’t safe or sensible to continue without taking the opportunity to get the important items fixed before getting to the 50-plus-knot winds ahead.” As she slogs her way toward Cape Town, she’s been busy ordering parts and arranging for repairs once she arrives. She should arrive in the next few days, and she hopes to keep her stay brief. You can keep up with her blog posts — and track her progress — at www.svnereida.com. .

Jeanne’s new Najad 380

67 – year-old grandmother starts solo non-stop circumnavigation today

From www.sail-world.comhttp://www.sail-world.com/cruising/index.cfm?nid=76159&rid=11

Today (Oct 24, 2010) is the day for Jeanne Socrates, 67-year-old grandmother, to begin her solo non-stop circumnavigation. She’s been held up by the weather for a few days, but today she is to be towed to her start line at Canada’s Victoria Harbour entrance to be ready to sail away around 4pm local time. Her attempt is being recorded by the World Speed Sailing Record Council, and for that she carries a ‘black box’ to record her attempt. She says today she is expecting west wind over strong (Springs) ebb tide from Race Rock westward, so will have rough water, but a ‘push’ in right direction initially, with difficult sailing out of Strait of Juan de Fuca. That’s a calculation, and by late Tuesday, she thinks the storm that has kept her from starting should have abated. She needs to get away south from Canada before the winter gales start in earnest. Of course attempting to sail single-handed and non-stop around the world may not be the typical behaviour of a 67-year-old grandmother. But Jeanne Socrates is not typical. This epic, seventh month non-stop journey in her 38ft-foot boat Nereida, is the culmination of some extraordinary adventures already. From March 2007 to June 2008, Socrates sailed around the world with planned stops. But her trip ground to a halt 60 nautical miles short of her starting point when, due to an autopilot failure, the boat went aground on a Mexican beach. Her next attempt was to circle the globe solo and non-stop. She set out in October last year from the Canary Islands, but had to make unplanned stop two months later in Cape Town, South Africa, to replace the boat’s engine. Two months later, Socrates was heading eastward to Australia and New Zealand. She ended up in Port Townsend, Wa., for repairs in preparation for this attempt. Socrates, who was born and lives in London, UK, chose Victoria as her starting point partly because it’s a favourite spot and she has lots of sailing friends here. It also places her well north of the equator to clock up the mileage required for her attempt to be recognized. Socrates was an only child. Her father died in the Second World War, before she was born, and her mother struggled to make ends meet. Now Socrates has young grandchildren back in England who are thrilled to hear of her adventures. She came to the helm late in life, learning the ropes with her husband in 1994, when she was 51. A five-day course triggered Socrates’s enthusiasm. Her husband died of cancer in 2003, but Socrates carried on with plans to sail attend a rally in British Columbia. the following year, and sailed there alone. So, with much water passed in her wake since then, she is hoping it will be third time lucky. Her route will take her south of Cape Horn, on to South Africa, Australia and New Zealand. In 2003, Tony Gooch of Oak Bay completed a similar non-stop circumnavigation in 177 days. ‘I have a bit of unfinished business to do,’ said Socrates of her latest attempt. She says her boat suits her perfectly because it’s just the right size to move around and store nine-months worth of food and provisions. Problems always occur, like the time she lost her automatic pilot and managed to eat, sleep and use the toilet without straying far from the helm. But Socrates knows what’s in store and she’s ready for it. ‘I’ve got a lot of determination and I like to see things through — I don’t give up easily,’ she said. ‘You’ve got to be confident in your boat.’ Even with her credentials as an ocean yacht master, she said: ‘There are always things you’re learning about yourself and the boat and the weather.’ Socrates plans to sail back into Victoria’s Inner Harbour next May. She’s trying to raise funds for the Marie Curie Cancer Care, a British charity that enables nurses to care for terminal cancer patients in their homes. Socrates will post a blog of her journey at www.svnereida.com. by Nancy Knudsen Share 4:39 PM Sun 24 Oct 2010

EMAIL FROM JEANNE From: KC__V@Winlink.org [mailto:KC__V@Winlink.org] Sent: December-25-09 2:36 AM To: john@hydrovane.com Cc: will@hydrovane.com Subject: Re: Feature for our website HI John! Merry Christmas & a Happy New Year to you and all the family!  Will you be at the London Boat Show in January? Sorry for the delay in replying – been so busy here and wi-fi Internet not available from boat in Royal Cape Y.C. marina in Cape Town – have to take laptop in to Y.C. building for Internet access Thanks for your email.  I’m hoping work can start early next week on new engine – which  is here waiting to be fitted….   Timing getting difficult since lots to do on new installation and many firms closed now for long summer holidays…  Will have to see how it all goes…  Plenty of jobs to do in the meantime… Getting help and support from  locals here… plenty of concerned people around trying to keep me sane!! Re ‘Fred’ – I’ve been telling people here how very impressed I was that in just 4 knots of wind, heading dead downwind, he coped beautifully, keeping us well on course at 2 knots boatspeed while I was trying to sail in to Cape Town over 2-3 days of near flat calm at the end of my 61 days’ passage under sail alone from the Canaries – mainly under Fred’s guidance …!! Hope the weather isn’t too cold &/or wet for you just now…..  Will you be seeing much of the Olympics live ?  (I hear Cambie is back together OK now, after the long disruption due to the train track construction right down the middle of the road) Cheers, Jeanne, “Nereida” , Cape Town


JEANNE SOCRATES ABOUT TO COMPLETE SOLO SAIL AROUND THE WORLD VIA SOUTHERN OCEAN’S FIVE GREAT CAPES – A WORLD RECORD Jeanne’s return to Victoria, British Columbia, on 1st August, will achieve something few people have done: – completion of a solo circumnavigation via the Five Great Capes of the Southern Ocean:  C. Horn (S.America), C. of Good Hope (S.Africa), C. Leeuwin (SW Australia), SE Cape of Tasmania, SW  Cape of New Zealand.   The last two Capes were rounded by her on this present set of passages for the first time…  Being so far S, well into the Southern Ocean, they can be difficult to round, weather in that area so often being nasty, especially coming into winter, as it was, so she was happy to have done so safely despite the time of year! Since her memorable Dec/Jan visit back to UK (meeting Queen and Prince Phillip in Buckingham Palace and being featured in the RYA Magazine, both in Dec, and an unexpected award from the Cruising Association during the London Boat Show in Jan), Jeanne has made several long passages this year: from Cape Town to Hobart (56 days of often-stormy S. Ocean passage!), Hobart to Tahiti (37 days -another difficult passage, passing S of New Zealand), on to Kauai (Hawaii) (21 days, crossing the Equator and the ITCZ). She is presently sailing north to complete her circumnavigation and will ‘close the circle’ on Wednesday 1st August when she reaches Tatoosh Island, near Cape Flattery, at the entrance to the Strait of Juan de Fuca which lies between Canada and USA.  She will make landfall later that same day in Victoria, B.C., after about 20 days of passage on her final leg from Hawaii. She had left Victoria on 25th October  2010, trying to circumnavigate solo nonstop, but had a bad knockdown just over 100 ml W of Cape Horn, while hove-to on 5th Jan 2011. She had to pull in to Ushuaia (Argentina) for major repairs, after rounding Cape Horn unaided on 7th Jan, and she subsequently sailed to the Falklands and then on to Cape Town for further repairs. The Londoner will actually be setting a world record on her return…. as the oldest woman by far to have sailed solo around the world via the Five Great Capes of the Southern Ocean. (She will be celebrating her 70th birthday in August.) She will have sailed over 28,800 mls, with just over 250 days at sea, on this circumnavigation ….but not nonstop, as she had hoped when she left Victoria in October 2010…   So she’s planning to re-start that nonstop attempt in October this year… (Interestingly, it seems that no woman, of any age, has ever gone nonstop around the world from anywhere in North America – Canada or the USA!) She says, “I felt decidedly cheated when I was knocked down in January last year while trying to play safe by heaving-to in bad weather before rounding Cape Horn…!!   If that hadn’t happened, I’m convinced I’d have completed my nonstop attempt by May/June of last year…. so I’m going to give it one last try – If that doesn’t work out, it clearly wasn’t meant to be & I’ll go back to relaxed cruising – in company with friends…! “

A global update to all those on her mailing list: From: Nereida [mailto:mxcc3@sailmail.com] Sent: Tuesday, February 12, 2013 5:17 AM To: john@hydrovane.com Subject: JEANNE SOCRATES ROUNDS CAPE OF GOOD HOPE on DAY 113 of SOLO UNASSISTED NONSTOP RTW ATTEMPT Dear John, Latest news on Jeanne’s solo circumnavigation on “Nereida”… On Monday, 11th February, just before midday,  Jeanne Socrates passed the Cape of Good Hope…… sailing east in the Southern Ocean, some 600 miles off to the south of Africa …..and she then headed on towards the Indian Ocean after a successful 35-day crossing of the South Atlantic from Cape Horn,  as part of her 3rd attempt at a nonstop, unassisted, solo circumnavigation.  This is her third crossing of the Southern Ocean towards Australia and New Zealand. Having rounded Cape Horn early in February, the next Great Cape on the list after Good Hope will be Cape Leeuwin , south of Perth in W. Australia, which she will also pass well south at the start of her crossing of the Great Australian Bight towards Tasmania.   But today (at 1050 GMT, Tuesday 12th Feb),  she also passed Cape Agulhas (the southernmost point in S.Africa) and so passed from the Atlantic into the Indian Ocean section of the Southern Ocean…. Onboard gear problems (anything screwed or bolted tries to come undone with the constant motion!) and instrument problems have kept her busy at times – she stlll has no wind information on display below, the electronic compass info disappeared recently (but she fixed that, so it’s back now) and the rudder reference unit, part of the autopilot set-up, also stopped working some while back – she’s still working on a possible way to get that back, having fixed it once already…   In the meantime, the windsteering (Hydrovane) is doing an excellent job and she can still use the eletronic autopilot whenever she feels the need to – which is not often!!  Work on wiring problems is virtually impossible when the boat is banging about and heeled over  in big seas – especially when, as today, ‘Nereida’ is beating into rough seas, close hauled, trying to sail east against the NE 20 knot wind… So she’s still sailing ‘by the seat of her pants’, judging the wind strength according to the traditional Beaufort Scale and dealing with her sails according to the boat’s behaviour:  “If we’re heeling too much, it’s time to reef down – simple!”  Telling the wind direction is no problem in daylight -“I can read the ripples on the water – not a problem!  Having regular weather forecasts is important – If I’m expecting a ‘blow’, I can sail defensively and if a typical, strong Southern Ocean Cold Front is expected to pass over, I gybe early.   Windsteering is useful because the boat will follow the wind around as it veers or backs – that’s very important to me, at times!” While underway, the birds of the Southern Ocean have given delight and interest with their constant company.   Not unusually, at dawn this morning, along with several different petrels and a pair of Great shearwaters, a Great albatross passed close by – they’re magnificent creatures and an awesome sight!   She’s sending a note of birds seen in different places for adding to our knowledge of, and statistical information on, the seabirds of the deep oceans, in an effort to play a small part in their conservation – so many are still at risk from poor fishing methods used unnecessarily by certain fishing vessels.    It would be tragic if we allowed these fabulous birds to become extinct. She’s looking forward to completing her circumnavigation in early June.   In the meantime, it’s always great to receive supportive emails from so many friends and other people (the Winlink team have been extremely helpful with radio contact for emailing) and it’s also been good to be able to speak over the radio regularly to a variety of people when in range – especially now that her satphone is no longer working. Daily news reports (with occasional photos) and positions while on passage are being posted to :  www.svnereida.com Please send any emails to this email address – but please be kind and delete this message before sending yours – Thanks! Website:    www.svnereida.com Please show your support for Jeanne’s sailing in aid of her chosen charity by clicking on the daffodil on her website’s Home page (or visit http://www.justgiving.com/jeannesocrates) to make a secure donation to Marie Curie Cancer Care in aid of their free home-nursing help for the  terminally ill – even the smallest of donations will be welcome!   Thank you! Visit:   http://www.exactearth.com/media-centre/recent-ship-tracks/tracking-nereida/    …for regular positions via AIS signals received by satellites from “Nereida” From: Nereida [mailto:mxcc3@sailmail.com] Sent: Sunday, March 03, 2013 8:34 PM To: john@hydrovane.com Subject: Solo sailor Jeanne Socrates passes halfway mark on nonstop RTW attempt Greetings, John, from Jeanne on ‘Nereida’! This is just a brief update on my solo, nonstop, unassisted circumnavigaton attempt – mainly to let you know that our halfway point was passed on Day 131 – Friday 1st March – at 0712 GMT. Miles sailed since departure on 22nd October from Victoria , B.C. (Canada),  were well over the measured total of daily ‘straight’ runs of  13,247 n.ml.    Minimum possible miles still to go:  12,700 – but it will be a lot more, in fact!   I had a few ‘treats’ over the day, by way of celebration….with a few sips of a nice cognac in the evening . I passed Cape Horn just before local midnight on 7th January and then, having crossed the Atlantic in 35 days, passed the Cape of Good Hope on 11th February.   The next Great Cape I’m looking forward to passing south of is Cape Leeuwin, not far from  Perth and its port of Fremantle, in Western Australia … and then I’ll sail on to Tasmania and its SE Cape, across the notorious Great Australian Bight with its predictably stormy seas, as the Southern autumn is beginning…. Rounding South Africa became surprisingly difficult – several times either being becalmed or needing to heave to in very strong conditions slowed progress down,  so I’ve taken longer to get to this hafway point than I’d expected.   This is my third  solo Southern Ocean crossing from S.Africa to Australia and New Zealand – with any luck, it won’t be as stormy as the similar passage made last year and I’ll be able to make good time from here. Last year’s passage was one week earlier, my log tells me.   That formed part of my last solo circumnavigation, which I completed on 1st August 2012, having successfully rounded all Five Great Capes of the Southern Ocean, but with stops at several places on the way (such as Ushuaia, Argentina, after a bad knockdown before Cape Horn) for repairs.   This time, I’m hoping to complete my sail around the world without stopping anywhere on the way – my third (and positively final!) attempt at circumnavigating nonstop! Completion of this attempt to circumnavigate solo, nonstop and unassisted would make me the first woman to succeed in that from a point in N. America and would also give me the dubious honour of being the oldest female, solo, nonstop circumnavigator (which, by default, can only be via Cape Horn and the Southern Ocean).   But far more importantly, it will give me a great personal satisfaction and sense of achievement…. and the sailing in itself has given me many moments of sheer joy and exhiliration, regardless of whether this attempt succeeds. If all goes well, I’ll be back in Victoria, B.C. (Canada) in June sometime – sooner, rather than later, I hope! Sailing has been  going well – the N-NW wind has been a fairly consistently 10-20 knots for the past few days and we’ve mostly been on a nice reach, with the occasional excitement of having to deal with unexpectedly strong winds for a brief time…. but nothing too critical.    In fact, the Indian Southern Ocean has so far proved to be surprisingly benign, once the threat of Tropical Cyclone ‘Haruna’ heading our way had receded! I’ve enjoyed the many birds keeping me company – many different albatross, both juvenile and adult, have come close to the boat as well as petrels, prions and shearwaters.  I’m keeping a note of birds seen to help with conservation measures by providing some much-needed data.  I’ve also enjoyed the many contacts I’ve made by radio with people in different countries – all of whom have been very supportive and encouraging…. Equipment failures and damage will slow me down in lighter conditions since I can no longer safely hoist a full mainsail and need  to have it permanently reefed – but being mainly down to third reef in the normally strong conditions of the Southern Ocean is not a problem!  I have no working wind instrument either, despite my efforts at repairs – but that is not causing a major problem when sailing, fortunately, although it would make life far simpler if it were working.   All the many other repairs and ‘fixes’ seem to be holding…  except that my satellite telephone has remained obstinately broken – so the SSB radio has become that much more important to me. My present position is just over 400ml NNW of Ile Kerguelen in the Indian Southern Ocean and I hope to round Tasmania near the end of March. Many more details on my boat and previous ocean passages can be found on my website and I post daily news reports to my website Home page: www.svnereida.com . If you wish to contact me, you can do so via the ‘Contact’ page on my website.  If you reply to this email – PLEASE be kind and DELETE this message – emails come to the boat over a very slow radio link!…  Thanks!! I’m trying to raise funds for Marie Curie Cancer Care’s free home nursing for the terminally ill by my sailing – the secure link for those wishing to show their support for me by contributing is on my website’s Home page. All best wishes, Jeanne “Nereida” 42S, 064E Notes: Home town:  Ealing, W. London, U.K.      Date of birth:  17 August, 1942 Started sailing:  June, 1990   Passed RYA Yacht Master (Ocean) in 2000 Website:    www.svnereida.com

Please show your support for my sailing by clicking on the daffodil on my website’s Home page (or visit http://www.justgiving.com/jeannesocrates) to make a secure donation to Marie Curie Cancer Care in aid of their free home-nursing help for the  terminally ill – even the smallest of donations will be welcome!   Thank you! _____________________________________________________________



From ‘Lectronic Latitude’

Jeanne Socrates’ Records

July 10, 2013 – Victoria, B.C.

Jeanne Socrates sailed the bottom paint off Nereida during her solo nonstop trip around. © 2013 Jak Mang

  On October 24, Jeanne Socrates set sail from Victoria, B.C. aboard her Najad 380 Nereida bound for…Victoria. In the wee hours of Monday morning, she crossed her outbound track, thus completing her first nonstop singlehanded circumnavigation. This was Jeanne’s third attempt at solo circumnavigation — her first try ended just 60 miles from her goal when her boat was lost on a remote Mexican beach, and her second ended after a violent knockdown at Cape Horn damaged her new Nereida.

A wobbly radar mount, a trashed wind gen, some weird splatters on the hull — not too shabby for a boat that’s spent the last nine months at sea. © 2013 Jak Mang

  This time around, Jeanne set her sights on a couple of records, one official and one unofficial. Solo circumnavigator Tony Gooch took her times for the World Sailing Speed Record Council, and verification should come soon that she is the first woman to have sailed solo nonstop around the world starting from North America. A possibly more impressive, but unrecognized, record is that, at 70, she has become the oldest woman to do so.

Jeanne was greeted in Victoria by loads of fans and friends. What’s next? The last time we heard, cruising in the company of other boats! © 2013 Jak Mang

  We’ll have a full report on Jeanne’s amazing accomplishment in the August issue of Latitude 38, but in the meantime, watch a nice Canadian news report on her journey and check out her log.

– latitude / ladonna

Andy and Liza Copeland

“We can’t tell you how impressed we are with Hydrovane. After 40 years with various windvanes we regarded them as temperamental in anything but the steadiest conditions. Hydrovane has changed all that. She is adaptable, tolerant of squally conditions, reliable to a remarkable degree. We particularly love the independent rudder and absence of lines leading back to the cockpit, a huge disadvantage of the servo-pendulum model we had before. Didn’t know what we were missing! Circumnavigators, authors of the ‘Just Cruising’ series of books – www.aboutcruising.com – Liza received the Ocean Cruising Club’s 2003 award for ‘the writer who has done the most to foster ocean cruising’

Liza and Andy Copeland on ‘BAGHEERA’ – Beneteau First 38

Andrew Bray – Editor of Yachting World

“I was singularly impressed with ……. how well the Hydrovane coped with the awkward following seas ……. The Hydrovane was worth its weight in gold and neither ate slept or argued.” Andrew Bray, Editor YACHTING WORLD – On the performance of his Hydrovane in an Atlantic crossing (ARC)

 Andrew Bray’s DASH – Hydrovane as a cover girl

Libby Purves – Broadcaster, Writer

“A gold medal to the 15 year-old Hydrovane”

“…….Now, perhaps, you should know what happens to a singlehander when his Jonah wife joins as crew for the return leg … Twenty minutes after crossing the start line we had trashed four pieces of gear ….. But since the month of the AZAB (Azores And Back Race) tested our cruising boat harder than a whole normal season, you might like to know the heroes and villains among the gear: not as a formal gear test, but for anecdotal interest. A gold medal to the 15 year-old Hydrovane, which steered 1,200 miles even when blearily adjusted in the howling dark by watchkeepers tangled up in temporary wheel lashings. It went to Antartica with the last owner, and was refurbished two years ago……” From Libby’s regular column ‘THE CRUISING LIFE’ in Yachting Monthly, October 2003 Libby Purves – BBC Broadcaster, writer, and columnist for the UK Yachting Monthly magazine on her assessment of equipment after the ‘2003 Azores and Back Race’

Libby Purves

Paul Heine on their Biscay 36 ‘AYESHA’ – Libby joined Paul for the AZAB return trip

John Guzzwell

“Hydrovane gave me wonderful service aboard ‘Endangered Species’ in the ’98 and ’02 Transpac Singlehanded races and the return voyages home. This is a well engineered and reliable unit I would choose to use again.” John Guzzwell, then 72 years old Author of “Trekka Round the World” Poulsbo, Washington, USA (originally from the Channel Islands, UK, then Victoria, BC, Canada) August, 2002

John Guzzwell on ‘ENDANGERED SPECIES’ – at start of 2002 Trans Pacific Singlehanders Race – John then aged 72

John Guzzwell’s fame began in his early 20’s when he built his 21′ Trekka and then sailed it singlehandedly around the world in a four year circumnavigation from 1955 to 1959. He told his story in his book “Trekka Round the World” http://www.johnguzzwell.com which was first published in 1963 and re-published in 1999 by Fine Edge Productions. He was also the crew member with world-renowned sailors, Miles and Beryl Smeeton, when they pitch-poled ‘Tzu Hang’ off Cape Horn in 1957. Described as the “summa cum laude of salts”, he is known as one of the world’s greatest singlehanded sailors. Endangered Species is a Guzzwell 30 designed and built by John. It displaces 5,000 lbs. The Transpac Singlehanded Race goes from San Francisco to Hawaii. He, then 74 years old, had been preparing for the 2004 Vic-Maui Race (2,400 miles from Victoria British Colmbia to Maui, Hawaii) which he was intending to double-hand with his son Jonathan – and a 3rd crew member – the Hydrovane. The race committee set an insurance requirement that prevented their entry!! In 1959, a 29-year-old singlehander John Guzzwell from Victoria, BC (previously Jersey, Channel Islands, UK, currently Poulsbo WA, USA), completed an unprecedented circumnavigation aboard Trekka, a 21-ft wooden yawl he’d built with his own hands. For Latitude 38’s complete story, as it appeared in their April, 2009, issue see: http://www.latitude38.com/features/Guzzwell.html http://www.johnguzzwell.com

Yachtsman of the Year – Leslie Powles

“I felt she could be steered by any of these gears, and settled for one that was compact and neat with a direct drive onto a balanced rudder. This was the beginning of a long association with Hydrovane, one I have never regretted. Indeed, the independent rudder one day would save Solitaire.” From “Hands Open – Twice Around the World Single Handed East-to-West and West-to-East” Published by Kenneth Mason, 1987 by Leslie Powles – 1981 Yachtsman of the Year


Leslie Powles Photo taken by Leslie in a storm – near the Horn – old Hydrovane with wooden vane

The Windvane Self-Steering Handbook

“……. all the Hydrovane owners I’ve met have expressed pure satisfaction with the system.” “This is a unique design, achieved by some brilliantly simple engineering that harnesses the direct force of the wind to power an auxiliary rudder. The secret is a specially balanced rudder that responds easily to impulses from the airvane. Unlike experiments with airvane-controlled steering a century ago, the Hydrovane (successfully) gets its power from a particularly long horizontal-axis airvane. The operator sets a controller at one of three settings, then inclines the vane to compensate for changing wind strength, thereby modifying the vane’s leverage on the rudder. In case of main rudder failure, the Hydrovane doubles as an emergency rudder.” “…….in a class of its own and manufactured by only one company. Known as the Hydrovane, this auxiliary rudder system employs reduction linkage to convert impulses from a very large airvane into steering power at the partially balanced rudder without harnessing the water’s force. Rather than embracing Marin-Maries’s design, which was loosely based on the same broad concept, British inventor Derek Daniels found a more compact way to engineer a set of linkage that can be adjusted for different rates of mechanical advantage, depending on wind speed…………….. Tom (Bridgman – has a 20 year old Hydrovane on his 40 foot ketch Axe Caliber) said that on one occasion while the boat was at anchor, he tried to turn the rudder manually with the windvane set in about 10 knots of wind. He was astonished to find that no matter how hard he tried, he could not budge the rudder; such was the force as amplified by the reduction linkage.”

Bill Morris

Bill Morris, a native of California, USA, Author of the recently popular “The Windvane Self-Steering Handbook” published by McGraw Hill – 2004. This book is highly recommended as “everything you wanted to know about windvane self-steering” says Bruce Walker in the Oct. ’04 edition of Australia’s Cruising Helmsman magazine.

Adrian Flanagan Attempts Solo Polar Circumnavigation

“…Hydrovane performed way beyond my expectations.”

Adrian’s ‘BARRABAS’ a Trireme 38 Mk IV

After 26,000 miles taking ten months at sea from the UK to Alaska via the Horn: …the Hydrovane tirelessly and reliably steered ‘Barabas’ the entire time with the only exception being three storms for a total of 12 hours of hand steering…… Where I had concerns with practically every other piece of equipment on board, the Hydrovane never caused a moment’s worry…..my confidence in the steering of the Hydrovane was so high that I often would sleep the entire night … leaving Hydrovane with the responsibility of keeping the sails full. The Hydrovane performed way beyond my expectations.….Adrian Flanagan Emergency Stop – Adrian arriving at Ala Wai Marina (guest of Waikiki Yacht Club), Honolulu, Hawaii – after over 6 months at sea non-stop from England via Cape Horn. Note the ‘stubby’ vane at work

Margaret Williams Attempts First Female to Solo Sail, Non Stop and Unassisted Around Australia

Margaret Williams – Adams 12

2nd Attempt – First female to solo sail, non stop and unassisted around Australia. 1st Attempt ended in disaster – but saved by Hydrovane! 44 year old Dr. Margaret Williams set sail from Mooloolaba, Queensland, on 19 October 2005 in her 12-metre sloop ‘Against All Odds’ on a quest to be the first female to sail solo, non-stop and unassisted around Australia. After 48 days at sea, 5500 nautical miles, and having completed two-thirds of her journey, she encountered severe storm conditions while crossing the Great Australian Bight en route to Tasmania. Her rudder broke during one of several capsizes, forcing her to retire from this world record attempt. “I was very thankful that I had installed a Hydrovane self-steering system, which unlike most windvanes, has an independent rudder. It steered the yacht 240 nm (on the log) after my rudder broke, even with a main rudder flailing uncontrollably, into Bremer Bay and then on to Albany. Although initially my steerage in the storm conditions was not great with the broken main rudder, I did have some steering and shudder to think what would have happened if I had had no steerage at all. I may well have lost the boat and even my life.”


I deliver yachts around and up and down the coast of Western Australia for clients. I feel now, having experienced the quality of the Hydrovane, that anyone seriously considering setting of on an ocean voyage would be well advised to have one fitted to their yacht!” From: Pure Plantation [mailto:purepine@westnet.com.au] Sent: Sunday, December 11, 2005 9:24 PM To: Subject: HYDROVANE Hello John I am writing to you from Albany on the South Coast of Western Australia. Perhaps you may have heard of Margaret Williams who set off from Queensland to attempt the first woman to sail around Australia. Unfortunately Margie was hit with terrible weather South South East of Albany and suffered many knockdowns with the result being a broken rudder. It appears the tangs have broken within the rudder rendering it useless. At that time she was about 50 mile South of a small town called Bemmer Bay. The good news though was that her yacht ( Against All Odds) is fitted with your Hydrovane which despite the incredibly rough conditions meant that she could steer a course, using the tiller attached to the Hydrovane, to safety in Bremmer Bay. I travelled to Bremmer Bay on Friday and helped Margie sail her back to Albany for there is a lifter here. The conditions that Margie faced in the Southern Ocean were about as bad as it can get and I guess in reality your product not only saved Margie but also her yacht. At times I deliver yachts around and up and down the coast of Western Australia for clients. I feel now, having experienced the quality of the Hydrovane, that anyone seriously considering setting of on an ocean voyage would be well advised to have one fitted to their yacht! The purpose of this email is to congratulate your company on manufacturing a magnificent piece of equipment. Kind regards Mark McRae