Online Forum Feedback

Hi John,

Here’s a basic testimonial, from facebook. Juan Antonio Martin first wrote us a fb 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 it 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 tradewinds. My “old” hydrovane has already crossed the Atlantic 12 times.
No problem to put my photo on your hydrovane website.  Regards.

_________________

Sarah

Beneteau Oceanis 34 2    Beneteau Oceanis 34 at sea

Juan Antonio Martin’s Beneteau Oceanis 34 – dramatic photo taken at sea

_____________________________________________________________

A comment included in an email from a customer in July ’09:

“I think I have noticed something – I seem to get more enthusiastic waves from other Hydro sailors than normal — a bit like VW Beetle drivers used to do 50 years ago!”

_____________________________________________

 From the YBW Forum at: http://www.ybw.com/forums/showthread.php?t=337924&highlight=hydrovane 

 View Poll Results: Best Windvane Self-steering ?
       Aries 15     –      18.99%
       Capehorn 1     –      1.27%
       Fleming 1     –      1.27%
       Hydrovane 31     –      39.24%
       Monitor 15     –      18.99%
       Neptune 0     –      0.00%
       Sailomat 0     –      0.00%
       Sea Feather 5     –      6.33%
       Voyager 0     –      0.00%
       Windpilot 11     –      13.92%
Poll – Best Windvane Self-steering system ?

Hi,

Question as title – which is the best of the big name self-steering windvanes out there ? Personal experience preferred.

The ones on the list are the just the top 10 that seem to get talked about the most, they are as follows :

  1. Aries
  2. Capehorn
  3. Fleming
  4. Hydrovane
  5. Monitor
  6. Neptune
  7. Sailomat
  8. Sea Feather
  9. Voyager
  10. Windpilot

but I also came across the  following “B” list, does anyone think I’m missing a trick in leaving any of these out of the running ?

I know this question appears a lot but I couldn’t find a comprehensive poll so that’s my excuse for posting it again…

 _____________________________________________

 And some responses:

I had a Hydrovane on my last boat. Excellent support when selecting, buying and fitting- fitting was easy singlehanded while afloat.

15 years of faultless service from it.

Would not hesitate to buy another Hydrovane.

_____________________________________________

I had a Hydrovane on my last boat. Excellent support when selecting, buying and fitting- fitting was easy

I agree. Ours had done over 25,000 miles when I sold the boat. On the maintenance front I only did two things to it, very occasionally change the pin holding the rudder because of corrosion and grease the big cog.


From “Cruisers Forum” at:

www.cruisersforum.com/forums/f117/hydrovane-thoughts-83194.html

Hydrovane thoughts
I am about to spend the $5,800 on a new Hydrovane and thought I would do one last thing. Get input from the forum. I have seen a few threads on here but most are relatively old. And I have read up on all the alternatives via articles and the websites directly, but like the Hydrovane most. Any final words or stories to share that could help me pull the trigger. the boat is a Pearson 323
Thanks,
austin

________________________________________

06-06-2012, 17:33 #2
balimara
Registered User
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: On the boat, or Bonn Germany
Boat: Moody 35, Sail, Sloop
Posts: 7

Re: Hydrovane thoughts
Hi Austin,

I can only write the very best about our Hydrovane wind vane. We use it now for 8 years, 6 in the English Channel and since August 2010 on our actual journey. We started in France (Normandy) then to Spain, Portugal, Madeira, Canary Islands, across the Atlantic on the Trade Wind Route, through Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, Bahamas into Florida and then all along the coast (sometimes ICW without wind vane) to our actual position in the Long Island Sound.

With small crew (just my wife and I) it is for long distance cruising the additional 4 hands, which do not eat and drink, do not complain and arguing about the course and needs no sleep, you can’t think about a better solution.

Of course it is a lot of money, but the benefit is enormous. The after sale service from Hydrovane is even more an argument for it. We lost our rudder sometime, when it was not in use and not properly secured on deck. In Puerto Rico we realized it and made a call to Canada. Monday called, Tuesday we had the offer and agreed, Friday the rudder was delivered from Scotland to Puerto Rico, that is Hydovane.
Take care
Manfred
www.balimara.de
balimara.blogspot.com

________________________________________

06-06-2012, 18:26 #3
barnakiel
Sea Monster
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: between the devil and the deep blue sea
Boat: a sailing boat
Posts: 6,924

Re: Hydrovane thoughts
I have ever heard only one negative comment on them and it related to old units. Hence my educated guess is they are good windvanes. The issue I have heard about has been addressed in the new units.

b.
________________________________________

06-06-2012, 18:35 #4
svpattyd
Senior Cruiser
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Maryland
Boat: Valiant 42
Posts: 218

We really like our Hydrovane. It is reliable and you don’t have control lines in the cockpit. Good service from Will. If you later buy an EchoTec watermaker, you get a discount on the watermaker.

Patty
V42-175
http://svpattyd.blogspot.com

________________________________________

06-06-2012, 19:49 #5
roverhi
Senior Cruiser
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Kona, Hawaii
Boat: Pearson 35 #108
Posts: 2,244

Re: Hydrovane thoughts
I’ve got a WindPilot Pacific Plus on my boat. WINDPILOT – Products: Pacific Plus It does an extraordinary job of steering the boat especially since I made up a lightweight windvane for it. With the Servo Pendulum providing the turning impetus for the steering rudder, it will steer the boat from almost not moving on up to hull speed. Did a great job DDW for a sail to Hawaii.
Peter O.
‘Ae’a Pearson 35

________________________________________

07-06-2012, 03:08 #6
kjames
Registered User
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Oz
Boat: Roberts Offshore 38
Posts: 91
Images: 8

Re: Hydrovane thoughts

Peter, why the windpilot and not a hydrovane? WP even looks to be
more expensive. Cheers

kjames
“The conventional view serves to protect us from the painful job of thinking”

________________________________________

07-06-2012, 07:01 #7
svHyLyte
Senior Cruiser
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Tampa Bay area, USA
Boat: Beneteau First 42
Posts: 2,111
Images: 25
Re: Hydrovane thoughts
Our first exposure to a Hydrovane was in Sausalito in the mid-70’s. The gear was aboard a young English couples’ 28′ home built yacht that they had sailed from Plymouth England to San Francisco. They declared they could not have made the trip without the Hydrovane (E.g., it steered them from a few miles off the Canaries to within a mile of Barbados.) I sailed with them quite a few times in the subsequent months and the gear was amazingly effective, even in the big winds and seas in the “Slot”. I have since met a number of cruisers with the gear–which has been vastly up-graded since the 1970’s–and all have been lavish with praise. Given that, I suspect you’ll be very happy with the gear even tho’ it is not inexpensive.

FWIW…

________________________________________

07-06-2012, 07:42 #8
theway
Registered User
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: Sunnyvale, CA
Boat: 1980 Pearson 323 – 34ft LOA
Posts: 61
Thanks everyone for the feedback and experiences. I’ll report back when I get it.
________________________________________

07-06-2012, 11:07 #9
roverhi
Senior Cruiser
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Kona, Hawaii
Boat: Pearson 35 #108
Posts: 2,244

Re: Hydrovane thoughts
The Hydrovane relies totally on the wind to turn the auxillary rudder. The WindPilot Pacific Plus uses a servo pendulum to input steering motion into the auxillary rudder. The WPP rudder will steer my boat if boat is moving at all. It’s limited only by the ability of the vane to sense the wind, not supply force to turn the auxillary rudder. I made up a bigger (8″x4′) windvane out of lightweight corrugated plastic that I use in light air and/or sailing DDW. The stock plywood vane was lacking in very light condtions. The vane will steer the boat in relative winds of less than 5 knots and maybe down to 2-3k. Don’t have enough experience in very light winds to prove the lower end. Did a TransPac with the winds directly aft at 10k for most of the trip. Despite some lumpy seas that constantly tried to throw the boat off course and a relative wind at 5k or less, the WPP steered without issues. I’ve heard, but no perpsonal experience, that the Hydrovane has problems with light air sailing because the windvane doesn’t generate the energy to turn the steering rudder. A problem when sailing downwind where relative wind is a problem for all vanes. The pendulum servo on the WPP also generates plenty of power to turn the auxillary steering rudder lock to lock at faster boat speed. Don’t know if that’s an issue on the Hydrovane.

Both vanes can steer no better than the size of the auxillary steering rudder of the vane allows. Assume that steering ability, not wind sensing, is similar for both vanes. A comparison of auxillary rudder steering area would give a better indication of that which I haven’t done. I’ve no experience with the Hydrovane but you might want to ask those who do how they steer the boat in a variety of conditions. In this day and age of big fuel tanks and engines, a lot of cruisers never experience the light air ability of boat or self steering. Don’t know how many cruisers I’ve heard brag they turn the engine on when speed drops below 4k.

I ended up with the WPP because my boats steering system had so much internal inertia and friction that a Monitor wouldn’t steer the boat below about 4k of boat speed. Also like the comfort of having another way to steer the boat if the boats steering sytem is compromised. Think a Servo Pendulum vane steering via the boats rudder is the most sensitive form of self steering if you don’t have boat steering sytem issues. I would’ve stuck with the Monitor, if I could have made it work in light air.

Fleming, believe they are out of Australia, also make a servo pendulum actuated auxillary rudder steering vane but they are even pricier with the strength of the Oz dollar. http://www.flemingselfsteer.com/products/global-auxilliary-rudder/

Peter O.
‘Ae’a Pearson 35
________________________________________

07-06-2012, 12:16 #10
Eleebana
Registered User
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Eleebana, NSW, Australia
Boat: Walker Bay 10
Posts: 559
Images: 1
Re: Hydrovane thoughts
Quote:
Originally Posted by roverhi
Think a Servo Pendulum vane steering via the boats rudder is the most sensitive form of self steering if you don’t have boat steering system issues. I would’ve stuck with the Monitor, if I could have made it work in light air.

Fleming, believe they are out of Australia, also make a servo pendulum actuated auxillary rudder steering vane but they are even pricier with the strength of the Oz dollar. http://www.flemingselfsteer.com/prod…lliary-rudder/
One of the more learned and experienced members on this forum was concerned about the change in apparent wind when a vessel acelerated down a wave face with a following sea. When the boat accelerates the aparent wind moves forward and a steering device set to wind angle (autopilot or a vane) wants to bear away. At the bottom of the wave when the boat speed reduces and apparent wind moves aft, there is potential for an accidental gybe before the self steerer can react.

Can you please comment on your experience with this?

Greg
Lake Macquarie

________________________________________

07-06-2012, 12:38 #11
roverhi
Senior Cruiser
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Kona, Hawaii
Boat: Pearson 35 #108
Posts: 2,244

Re: Hydrovane thoughts

That is a problem on multihulls and possibly the flat bottomed ultra planing monohulls. Have never had that issue with a vane on my boats even though have seen over 10k boat speed in short surges.

The problem for wind vane self steering on a cruising boat is boat speed and wave shadowing in the trough dropping the relative wind speed to near zero when running DDW or close to it. Running wing and wing at or close to hull speed hasn’t been an issue. Have done a number of 150 mile plus days running wing and wing on 25′-27′ waterline boats

Trying to run DDW with a spinnaker has been a problem. Set a spinnaker on my Westsail 32 with about 10k winds in 10’ following seas with the Aires steering and the boat promptly rounded up wrapping the spinnaker around the head stay. The additional power of the spinnaker and a following sea caused the relative wind to drop so low the vane thought it was becalmed and didn’t compensate for a following wave slewing the boat around. Tried it a couple of times with the same result. Heading up 20-30 degrees cured the problem but didn’t get me where I wanted to go as quickly.

You can rig an autopilot to the self steering to compensate for the relative wind issue. You get a very low drain compass steered boat doing that. I haven’t done it but others have. Sensitivity setting of the autopilot could be an issue if there are strong following seas but it is with a straight autopilot steered boat as well.

Unless you are cruising on a catamaran or a TP50 and have to run a spinnaker DDW, the vanes work fine.

FWIW, Jim Brown included plans for a trim tab wind vane on his Searunner trimarans. Saw a couple of them cruising with these when we were in SoPac. Didn’t ask the skippers how they worked, however.

Peter O.
‘Ae’a Pearson 35

________________________________________

From the YBW website – their Forum at: http://www.ybw.com/forums/showthread.php?t=319188&highlight=hydrovane

#1
11-06-12, 21:11
tarik
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Broadstairs Kent
Posts: 598
Hydrovane Steering
Evening all,

I have fitted a Hydrovane to the boat, but would very much welcome the opportunity to have a chat with a forum member regarding its capabilities etc.

Please PM me and I’ll give you a call.

As always many thanks for all replies.

David
________________________________________
#2
11-06-12, 21:55
oldvarnish
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 606

I had a Hydrovane on my last boat. With a previous owner it had been to Antarctica and back, and then two trips across the Atlantic with me.
I always thought its capabilities far outweighed mine.

Take time to understand it.
www.sailblogs.com/member/wildsong
________________________________________
#3
11-06-12, 22:01
Frankie-H
Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: Aboard. S of F
Posts: 1,443

PM on its way to you. Horatio has been my third hand for 16 years. He has steered me through 50+kn in the Atlantic and almost everything else. Very happy to talk you through the set up.
________________________________________
#4
11-06-12, 22:45
john_morris_uk
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: Near Exeter UK
Posts: 7,275

I don’t mean to be critical, but why have the discussion in private? I have been thinking about getting a Hydrovane and would be very interested in a discussion about how to get the best out of one.
________________________________________
#5
11-06-12, 22:48
Blueboatman
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 4,950

So good I could sail wing and wing without rigging pole nor preventer, in a lumpy gulf stream sea. Quite an extraordinary piece of kit.
I made a new airvane part that was reefable like a sliding nylon sock.
And used a tillerpilot( with waterproof cover) to adjust and ‘lock’ the main rudder at best angle to balance the boat.
There ain’t much, other than that, to adjust!

________________________________________
#6
11-06-12, 23:32
jonic
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Solent
Posts: 2,946

Feel free to contact me via my signature.

Mine took me to Antigua and happily carried on when the needle hit 55kts

Excellent bit of kit
John Rodriguez Yachts. Cruising & Blue Water Yachts www.jryachts.com.
________________________________________
#7
11-06-12, 23:37
Aurai
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 28
Hydrovane
Hi

Aurai has one and gets used on longer trips. The web site is excellent, newer models have all the wrinkles ironed out it seems and main pain for us is fitting the rudder from a dinghy! Happy to help in any way, but practise and it is fairly intuitive.

CH
________________________________________
#8
11-06-12, 23:50
rib
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: west country uk
Posts: 704

lift the rudder when not in use when ever you can other wise it can be hard to sleep
________________________________________
#9
12-06-12, 08:22
tarik
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Broadstairs Kent
Posts: 598
Hydrovane
Quote:
Originally Posted by john_morris_uk
I don’t mean to be critical, but why have the discussion in private? I have been thinking about getting a Hydrovane and would be very interested in a discussion about how to get the best out of one.

The only reason for suggesting a PM is so that we can exchange phone numbers and actually discus the subject rather than take up forum time with different Q&A on line.
No offence implied.

D
________________________________________
#10
12-06-12, 10:00
Frankie-H
Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: Aboard. S of F
Posts: 1,443

Quote:
Originally Posted by rib
lift the rudder when not in use when ever you can other wise it can be hard to sleep
The rudder is taken off on the Hydrovane. Not lifted as on some others.
The handle on the top of the rudder is tied off to a convenient point. This prevents rattling but PLEASE remember to untie it the next morning.

________________________________________



Sailers Forum

Hydrovane new rudder review.

by Robin Anderson – Tue Feb 15, 2011 3:35 pm

Recently completed some sea trials with the latest larger Hydrovane rudder.
Image

The new blade is supposed to be approx. 25% bigger and heavier but give maybe 50% more power, so the makers say.
Pleiades was very well behaved with the original rudder and I think the Hydrovane is the best marine equipment ever invented. So the old rudder was fine, but thoughts of even better performance appealed. The purpose of the new rudder is actually to enable bigger and faster boats to get the benefits of a Hydrovane. At 10 or more knots the original smaller rudders would have lost the plot too easily. Pleiades does not often get to 10 Knots :( but I was looking for significant improvements in her ability to keep on mission when very strong gusts would have caused the older rudder to loose track. I was also hoping for some improvements in down wind performance with the sails on opposite sides although I was less optomistic about that. Big sailbag of money necessary if you are you are upgrading – the bigger rudder requires a new higher grade stainless shaft and new bearings – so was it worth it?
Conclusion after a a couple of hundreds miles:-
New shaft a doddle to fit – unpacking it from the transit case was the most difficult bit.
V noticeable – improvement in course holding – faultless in fact upwind and on the beam – just like power steering now! Previously the ship’s rudder would overwhelm the Hydrovane rudder at times, now much better balanced.
Very pleasantly surprised to find very noticeable improvement in course holding down wind.

Drawback – the bigger rudder does not take to motoring well and has to be locked off to overcome weight on the helm from prop/keel wash effect. With the smaller rudder I just let it flop about and it did not like being locked in place.

So – great for sailing (important), not so good when motoring (not important).

A worthwhile upgrade to a fantastic bit of kit.
(No connection at all with the company, other than as a :D customer.)
Robin
Pleiades of Birdham
MXWQ5


JEANNE SOCRATES – SOLO CIRCUMNAVIGATOR AT CAPE HORN

On her second circumnavigation 67 year old Jeanne left Victoria BC in October 2010 – but thwarted in her ‘non-stop’ attempt by a knock down near Cape Horn that broke her boom – now (Jan/11) in Ushuaia, Argentina making repairs – Find her blogsite from her website at http://www.svnereida.com/


Jeanne removing bolts …. unnecessarily – see following

Monday 17 Jan 2011

Summer came briefly to Ushuaia – a lovely warm sunny day today – everyone was out on the dock chatting or getting on with outside jobs!! That included me… busy on the Hydrovane windsteering – I managed (see photo!)to free and remove 3 of the 4 bolts and all 4 nuts, with a bit of help at one point from English cruisers Roger and Vicki (‘Le Vagabond’) who came by in their dinghy – their boat is on a nearby club mooring. Roger will come by tomorrow to help me remove the unit from the stern so it can be worked on in safety – without losing any more tools in the water – as I did today (I dropped a lovely shiny, new double-ended number 17 spanner/wrench into the water…) We had a little teaparty in the sun on “Nereida” with some of my French friends when I’d finished removing the bits and pieces…!

Then, in the evening, an East wind came – bad news for boats on that side of the dock, since the fetch along the Beagle Channel is several miles – so a nasty swell built up quickly. The best thing for those boats then was to move off the dock that they were being pushed up against and bouncing about on…

Tuesday 18 Jan

Heavy rain all day….. and still some swell/chop. Hoped Swedish parcel was on its way – but boom still not arrived from Selden… Photos being sent so I can see if correct items in parcel.

Fortunately had talked on Skype to John at Hydrovane (Vancouver) – was doing the wrong thing trying to remove complete unit – not necessary. He put me right and talked me through what had to be done – so when Roger came to help, we were able to replace bolts wrongly removed and then take off just the top of Hydrovane unit. Later Gaspar came by to take it to his workshop to remove the embedded end of a bolt belonging to the knob which had broken off on way down here – my wiring ‘fix’ had worked fine but now I’m hoping to replace the missing part once the friends flying out to ‘Uhambo’ arrive from France…

Decided it was time I came to grips with my Sigmar diesel heater … eventually got it going – but then it died -no more fuel coming through .. likely suspect is the needle valve in the metering valve in supply line – have a spare – so that’s on the joblist now….


ON YOUTUBE

A good demo made by Adrian Flanagan in mid Atlantic on his polar circumnavigation:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6vmGTgjC5Es

Robin Lee Graham’s historic circumnavigation on DOVE filmed by National Geographic – see his Hydrovane (an early unit – 1970 vintage) at 3:25 to 3:30:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XpU_7JHV-1g&feature=related

A search for Hydrovane on http://www.youtube.com/ will find some videos of the Hydrovane at sea – try:

“Runnning downwind in 18 to 20 knots, heading to Sydney. As you can see the Hydrovane is maintaining course beautifully. Its a marvel to just sit

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DF7Qgl7yzKI

Rob Wink – Hydrovane’s dealer/agent in the Netherland’s on his boat – Sailing in the Netherlands on a Dehler 37. The Hydrovane is a completely independent mechanical windvane driven by the wind

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9UP7L34-zus

“Wanda steers Marathon with a lovely following wind and sea. Hydrovane selfsteering

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zq-Qc3thXLM


ARC 2010

From the ‘Daily Logs’ at: http://www.worldcruising.com/arc/logsarticle.aspx?page=SE634269105539962430&ArchiveID=5&CategoryID=64&ItemID=19992&src

Wind is up again blowing 26 kts from the south giving us good speed towards the Caribbean, sea a little lumpy with a swell from the southwestwith cloudy overcast sky and rain. (who said this was the trade winds route ?).

Since we are a two man crew we have an autopilot to steer the boat but its a large demand on battery power therefore we only use it when the engine is running. We also have a Hydrovaneindependent self steering system using only wind deflecting a vane suitably attached by a linkage “Gizmo” to a rudder in the water at the stern of the boat. We set the vane feathered to wind direction and adjusted to put the boat on course and leave the rest to the Gizmo. Best crew member on board, we call her “Heather” she never eats, sleeps or get tired – any boat should have two!

The weather reportslots of overcast sky’s with squalls around this part of the Atlantic this week, looking forward to what the next day may bring !.

Sean, Eamonn, and “Heather” – Grampian 34

.


FROM VARIOUS FORUMS on the WEB

From YBW (Yachting World, Yachting Monthly, Practical Boat Owner – UK’s premier yachting magazines – a Time Warner company)


http://www.ybw.com/forums/showthread.php?t=227622

“I have a Hydrovane that came with the boat, and have always had good customer service when I have needed parts or advice from the Curry family who run http://www.hydrovane.com/

Partly because of that I bought an echo tec water maker from them about 18mnths ago.

Last week I had a bizarre problem with the watermaker (nothing to do with the watermaker, just circumstance, the unit has been excellent).

I was in Florida, and just about to set off when the problem was discovered late in the evening.

I sent an email, and by the next day Will Curry had identified the problem, last seen 15 yrs ago.

Although he was in Canada and the parts I needed were in Trinidad he organised priority shipping at no charge and no charge for the parts. Two days later the parts were with me and we were on our way again.

The Curry family are ex-liveaboard cruisers, so appreciate the logistic problems we sometime have.

No connection with the company etc….just a very happy customer.”
http://www.ybw.com/forums/showthread.php?t=227852

“I have had one for twelve years and it has been excellent. I am happy with the performance including goosewinging in very light winds. I have to reef slightly earlier than when hand-steering, the sail balance is critical and it took me a very frustrating season to master it. I have no reason to believe it is better or worse than other self-steering systems in these regards.”

http://www.ybw.com/forums/showflat.php/Cat/0/Number/2215272/page/0/fpart/1/vc/1

“I had a Hydrovane on my other boat for 10 years, during the whole of that time the only failure was the nylon vane cover died because of Uv degredation, phone call to Canada for new one, received within 48 hours. 2 Med cruises each 2 years+ and I Transat, faultless. Just fitted another one for this boat. I’m biased..”

http://www.ybw.com/forums/showflat.php/Cat/0/Number/1923574/an/0/page/0

“Fitted a Hydrovane earlier this year – expensive, but an awesome company to deal with and a fantastic product!!”

http://www.ybw.com/forums/showflat.php/Cat/0/Number/1810409/an/0/page/1

“Thought others might like to hear of our experience installing our Hydrovane ………. “

http://www.ybw.com/forums/showthread.php?t=193335&page=1

“Totally agree with ‘highandry’. I recently completed a circumnavigation with a Hydrovane and it was faltless. Only problem was when a flying fish hit the vane and caused a small rip; this was repaired with stick on sail repair tape. It works well downwind (unlike some others). On the Pacific crossing we hardly touched it for eighteen days! A great bonus with the Hydrovane is that it is totally independant from the yacht’s steering system and can be used as an emergency rudder if necessary – great for peace of mind! It is beautifully engineered, easily maintained and support from manufacturers is good. It is expensive, but well worth the extra.”

http://www.ybw.com/forums/archive/index.php/t-95057.html

“Hydrovane – excellent piece of kit.

Windvanes, sadly lots of people are agin them. The boat really does need to be set up properly and if the wind changes in strength then adjustments have to be made. Nothing is fit and forget, sadly.

Hydrovane does, however, steer the boat downwind which for most is the worst possible point of sail.

You like helming — hmmm, for how long??? Hours/days or weeks. Would agree that it’s a pleasurable experience but it does have its limitations”


From SAILNET “The world’s largest online sailing forum”

http://www.sailnet.com/forums/gear-maintenance/28691-hydrovane-vs-monitor.html

“I had a hydrovane selfsteering on my Gulfstar 43 ketch and I have crossed the Atlantic 3 times (2 singlehanded) with it. It worked perfectly (average speed port to port 6.2 knts). I had gales, storms and light stern winds. Never had a problem. After 33 years the unit still looks like new (or almost!). If I had to cross again, I would just change a few teflon bushings and Hydrovane can still supply them. The boat weights 22,000 pounds. Hydovane are simple, very sturdy and in my opinion better than any other vindvanes on the market. I would not rely on a unit coupled to my main rudder. Too much strain on the cables.”


From SailboatOwners.com – This is from Evans Starzinger, Beth Leonards partner – their website at http://www.bethandevans.com/

http://cruising.sailboatowners.com/forums/csbbarchives2/index.cgi?read=50653,Hydrovane


From FreedomYachts.org – Freedom Yachts Sailboat Discussions

http://www.freedomyachts.org/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=10277&p=41019#p41019

“Thanks for the replys, think Im going to give the Hydrovane a go. I like the simplicity and the fact its completely independent, I believe it compliments my current wheel pilot. I’ve just been talking to a friend who has sailed is Mottle 33 from Southern Tasmania to Indonesia ( its a long way )using a hydrovane as is only form of self steering, his exact words were ” its a beautiful thing I wish i had invented it”
Cheers Dale.

http://www.freedomyachts.org/viewtopic.php?f=8&t=10577&hilit=hydrovane


Erik Staal’s installation website on his Victoire 1044 (in Dutch)

http://liberty.solutionbox.nl/?page_id=88


……. scroll down to see selections:

From SSCA (Seven Seas Cruising Association) Forum

 http://ssca.org/DiscBoard/viewtopic.php?t=3531

Tayana 47 Owner Reports to Forum on his Hydrovane

“….it does everything it says on the box without fuss or hassle – they are a very well conceived and manufactured product.

“We had it working and steering the boat downwind in 10 knots apparent within a minute on our first test sail.

“When all hell breaks loose it is nice to have one bit of gear that simply works.

SY Gemini

Posted: Fri May 09, 2008 10:51 pm Post subject: 6 months experience of Hydrovane

As a new owner of a Hydrovane on a Tayana 47 I would say

– it is very easy to install,

– it is great having no control lines,

the recent improvements to the rudder size and sail make it more powerful

but it is very expensive.

We just completed an Atlantic crossing with one, it gave a tremendous sense of comfort having a powerful self steering system and back up steering system. In practice it does everything it says on the box without fuss or hassle – they are a very well conceived and manufactured product. It ran downwind, reached and went to windward providing the sails were trimmed and we were slightly under canvassed.

Did it perform better than a properly sized electronic autopilot with up todate electronics and a rate gyro – no. But the difference really was marginal for a passage maker. However that is not really the point. Having had to hand steer for 3 days earlier in the year after an electronic autopilot failed we were determined to have a backup steering system.

In the unlikely event the hydrovane ever broke it is so simple and mechanical that field repairs are probably viable.

Over the years I have met many vane owners who have real problems operating their particular vanes and overcoming friction and connection problems between brand X vane and their boat. Without control lines or connection to your existing steering system the Hydrovane is truly independent and unlikely to have such problems. We had it working and steering the boat downwind in 10 knots apparent within a minute on our first test sail.

The quality of the Hydrovane as evidenced by its reputation (and resale value) comes at a price but in my view probably worth it. Service and support has been exceptional (chasing courier companys etc) and emails / phone calls were always replied to promptly by someone who really knew what they were talking about. Installation was much easier than I expected and again lots of help.

If your considering serious ocean passages it is well worth considering. When all hell breaks loose it is nice to have one bit of gear that simply works.


From SSCA (Seven Seas Cruising Association) Forum

http://ssca.org/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=9573

“Second stroke of luck involved the people at Hydrovane who included Valerie in Vancouver and Will..”
“If this was a one off incident I would be impressed but it is now the second time I have experienced excellent service from these people.

Hydrovane Service

Postby SY Gemini on Fri Sep 18, 2009 5:36 pm

On Wednesday we were off the boat for an hour or two enjoying a walk. We returned to find that a 30 ton 65ft motor boat had side swiped our stern coming into the marina and basically wrecked our 18 month old Hydrovane. Fortunately the owner of the offending boat was a true gentleman and simply agreed to replacing the damaged components and even offered to pay express courier rates to get the parts from the UK to Florida – first stroke of luck.

Second stroke of luck involved the people at Hydrovane who included Valerie in Vancouver and Will in Southampton in the UK. Will at 11.15 in the evening called me back, help work out what bits we needed and what to double check. Valerie checked for availability and arranged the couriers etc and made sure it all happened. They knew I was scheduled to depart for Chesapeake the day after we were hit and were determined to make sure we got our parts asap.

If this was a one off incident I would be impressed but it is now the second time I have experienced excellent service from these people.

Too often I have felt underwhelmed by service in the marine industry. Hydrovane give great service and I am happy to share the news.

Ross


YBW’s Forum/Discussion on Hydrovanes

from the YBW (Yachting World and Yachting Monthly) website – click on:

http://www.ybw.com/forums/showflat.php/Cat/0/Number/1810409/an/0/page/1

…or read on:

Hydrovane Installation … experience, pictures, customer service
#1810409 – 03/04/2008 22:00

Thought others might like to hear of our experience installing our Hydrovane. We bought at Southampton Boat Show and the unit was delivered (as requested) in January in extremely impressive packaging (5 wooden ended boxes).

Installation took one day when the boat was out of the water (after having spent several days studying the installation guides etc).

Before we began ………………..

I will report back in due course how it steers (reportedly very well!)[editor – scroll down for follow-up report ]but am impressed with the build quality and customer service. Not a cheap piece of kit – but looks like it will be well worth it so far!!!

Jonny

Re: Hydrovane Installation … experience, pictures, customer service
[Re: Jonny_H]
#1810426 – 03/04/2008 22:11

This is my most favourite bit of boat kit ever, I am a huge fan. The Hydrovane Club should be established. Done 2 Transatlantics on our boat with it. Best thing .

Re: Hydrovane Installation … experience, pictures, customer service
[Re: capnsensible]
#1810475 – 03/04/2008 22:4
1

Looks great, just what I need to do myself. I have looked at all the others on the market but the Hydrovane looks like the one for me (center cockpit ketch).

Does anyone have one for sale?

Richard

Re: Hydrovane Installation … experience, pictures, customer service
[Re: Jonny_H]
#1810527 – 03/04/2008 23:00

Well done Jonny. She really looks the part now. As you know I love mine, and their customer service is second to none. Just ordered a watermaker from them and they were brilliant. Arrived early here in Mallorca after coming from Trinidad.

——————–
www.JRyachts.com
specialising in Dufour yachts and long distance cruisers

Edited by jonic (03/04/2008 23:01)

Re: Hydrovane Installation … experience, pictures, customer service
#1810626 – 03/04/2008 23:45

Didn’t mention, but the one tiny snag is the vane cover. Made of lightweight spinnaker material, does not enjoy cuddling the sun’s rays. We are on our second, get spares or make your own spare, it will give up.

Re: Hydrovane Installation … experience, pictures, customer service
[Re: Wightknight]
#1810645 – 03/04/2008 23:59

We have 3 transats under our belt with our wonderful hydrovane. One thing I wish they had advised us to do on first fitting & should have considered for myself (but the rush was on) was to put plenty of Duralac (or similar anti corrosion gunk) everywhere a stainless bolt/washer was in contact with the cast aluminium. It did not take long for nasty corrosion products to arrive!
Otherwise in my opinion the best self steering there is!
One last thought – a good idea is to make up a rig to use a simple simple electric autohelm so that full use of unit can be made (eg if you have to motor) should you lose main rudder.

——————–
SimonJ

Re: Hydrovane Installation … experience, pictures, customer service
[Re: Jonny_H]
#1810724 – 04/04/2008 01:52

As somebody else said, best bit of kit on the boat by a long way. Ours has done around 25,000 miles and I had no idea of the good customer service because I’ve never had to contact them (which is probably the best recommendation of all).

I agree the ‘sail’ cover gets UV damage so carry at least one spare. If you don’t have a spare you can cover the frame with clingfilm or plastic bags (cut to fit) and tape to get by.

Also the rudder pins have been known to bend or corrode (stainless permanently under water) so carry a couple of spares. And tie the rudder to the unit, if you have a pin problem the rudder could fall off and it will sink.

The few minor problems I’ve mentioned are rare (we have only had a corroded pin) and the rest of the advice was given to us by other Hydrovane owners.

Ours drives the boat in light to heavy airs with no problem. Others have said to us that they’ve had problems but it always turned out to be sail balance. You must balance the boat before engaging the vane. In fact the vane is a good test of sailing skills. Hope you enjoy it, I suspect you’ll love it.

Re: Hydrovane Installation … experience, pictures, customer service
[Re: Jonny_H]
#1810812 – 04/04/2008 08:45

Looks great.

Out of interest, why did you remove the ladder rather than go for an off centre installation?

Re: Hydrovane Installation … experience, pictures, customer service
[Re: Morgana]
#1810876 – 04/04/2008 10:00

We decided a centred installation would be best – it is easier to install (you can use the rudder to get a true vertical alignment), plus we felt that whilst you can install off centre the boat would perform better with the main rudder and Hydrovane rudder in line.

We didn’t realise we would have to remove the ladder until we went to drill the second hole in the bottom bracket – the first hole went in fine, but the second fell right behind the ladder so we couldn’t get the drill in!

Fortunately when we put the ladder back in the same place it cleared the Hydrovane unit by about 1/4″ so is fine and still perfectly useable – we were fortunate that the stand off brackets on the ladder were so deep to allow the Hydrovane bracket to sit behind them.

Jonny

Re: Hydrovane …. Follow Up [Re: Jonny_H]
#1831936 – 21/04/2008 15:20

As promised, a follow-up report on the Hydrovane.

In a word … awesome! We had it going last week in various wind strengths (6 through to 35 knots) and in most wind directions – it worked brilliantly in all of them.

The only way we confused it was when we had a squall come through and the wind went from 14 to 26 knots – at this point we really needed to pull an extra reef in and you could see the Hydrovane struggling, but when you took the wheel yourself you could see why, the boat was terribly unbalanced – with the extra reef tucked in it was back to business as usual.

A picture of Henry (Henry Dova (anag!!)) in action:

Jonny


YBW’s Forum/Discussion on Hydrovanes

from the YBW (Yachting World and Yachting Monthly) website – click on:

http://www.ybw.com/forums/showflat.php/Cat/0/Number/2215272/page/0/fpart/1/vc/1

or read on…………..

I had a Hydrovane on my other boat for 10 years, during the whole of that time the only failure was the nylon vane cover died because of UV degradation, phone call to Canada for new one, received within 48 hours. 2 Med cruises each 2 years+ and I Transat, faultless. Just fitted another one for this boat. I’m biased..___________________________________

We have had a Hydrovane since 1997 and 30,000 miles later would not be without it

Vane covers do go in the sun but the newer seem better, the only problem we have had is breaking locking pins but stainless steel rod works well in an emergency

ALWAY tie the rudder on to the boat, mine came off crossing the Atlantic this time but a short swim solved the problem

___________________________________

Totally agree with ‘highandry’. I recently completed a circumnavigation with a Hydrovane and it was faultless. Only problem was when a flying fish hit the vane and caused a small rip; this was repaired with stick on sail repair tape. It works well downwind (unlike some others). On the Pacific crossing we hardly touched it for eighteen days! A great bonus with the Hydrovane is that it is totally independent from the yacht’s steering system and can be used as an emergency rudder if necessary – great for peace of mind! It is beautifully engineered, easily maintained and support from manufacturers is good. It is expensive, but well worth the extra.

___________________________________

Hydrovane – excellent piece of kit.

Windvanes, sadly lots of people are agin them. The boat really does need to be set up properly and if the wind changes in strength then adjustments have to be made. Nothing is fit and forget, sadly.

Hydrovane does, however, steer the boat downwind which for most is the worst possible point of sail.

You like helming — hmmm, for how long??? Hours/days or weeks. Would agree that it’s a pleasurable experience but it does have its limitations

Another vote for the Hydrovane.

Brilliant piece of kit – but always worth carrying a 2nd vane cover if you’re going to be away for a while.

___________________________________

http://www.ybw.com/forums/archive/index.php/t-95057.html

Hydrovane self steering on heavier displacement cruising boats.

mocruising

23-07-06, 06:34

I am thinking of purchasing a Hydrovane for our circum navigation. The alternative would be a second independent auto pilot and self steering. I fitted a Hydro vane to my last boat a Warrior 40 it was no problem but my present boat is at the top end of the Hydrovane’s recommended displacement. Full up we are about 22 tonne. Has anyone used a Hydrovane on a heavier displacement boat or any other self steering device on a heavy displacement boat for that matter. In addition I would have to offset the mounting this also causes me some concern although I am advised that it should not be a problem.

KellysEye

24-07-06, 13:08

We have a heavy displacement (18 imperial tons) steel ketch and a Hydrovane – it’s the best bit of kit on the boat (closely followed by SSB) – we would get exhausted without it. If Hydrovane thinks it should work on your boat I’d be inclined to believe them. We know a number of boats with the vane offset and it doesn’t appear to cause problems but I think it takes them a little longer to set up.

I’m sure you know this but if you do go the autopilot route, it will break at some point (they don’t like big ocean waves). So buy one at least one size bigger than quoted for your boat and carry a complete spare unit. Don’t buy a unit that fits behind the steering wheel (e.g. Simrad) because if you need to do any maintenance at sea you have to take the steering wheel off – so you have no autopilot and no wheel, a brilliant design concept.

Good luck with the circumnavigation, any idea when you are leaving (we’re currently in Venezuela)?.


From Island Packet HOME PORT – IP Owners’ FORUM

http://www.iphomeport.com/forum/view_topic.php?id=938&forum_id=58&highlight=Hydrovane

……… KKMI in SF bay area installed my Hydrovane. Way better wind vane – no lines to mess with. Smaller footprint .. Installed “off center” so access gate can still be used and can still hoist dingy on davits. Send me your email address and I’ll forward you my installation pictures. Chuck works like a charm.  (Chuck, the vane autopilot is going to be doing most of the driving) ………………………….

……… HV and monitor need the about the same wind to operate. Can work upwind and downwind just as well.  No downsides to having the HV act as rudder. In fact if boat is well trimmed prior to swithing over to the HV, then pressure on the HV rudder is very light.  The HV tracks perfectly .. i have my HV offset from the centerline over to starboard and it still drives the boat perfectly straight on either tack … go to their website and read the reviews … its clearly the better product

http://www.iphomeport.com/forum/view_topic.php?id=1709&forum_id=21&highlight=Hydrovane

……. Yes we were able to let the vane do the driving sometimes for days at a time…simply get the boat balanced under sail so that u can lock the wheel without engages the vane ensuring that the boat sail on course ..this may mean shortning the jib or reefing the main…once balanced engage the vane and sit back..she sail herself for  1000 mi or more

Mark Rogers’s Island Packet 45, offset with extra long shaft


BLOG LINK – http://www.sailblogs.com/member/viente/

This is from Gerry English’s blog – Hallberg Rassy 40:

Start of Viente’s Voyage

ENE 8kt, visibility good, 1018 & steady
24/06/2008, Braye Harbour, Alderney

Sunday’s SW 30kts mercifully dropped to 10-15kt and veered West overnight, so we departed Hamble Point at 0300 Monday June 23. Motorsailed (with help from a 4 kt ebb) to the Bridge (Needles IOW); then set all plain sail and gave the steering to ‘Nigel’. Let me introduce our ace crew member; Nigel (generic name for “co-pilots” in my airline days) steers a perfect course relative to the wind 24hrs a day without complaint, needs no food or drink; a simple mechanical vane steering gear with it’s own rudder; no electronics to go wrong – perfect performance on the first voyage.

……at the end of his trip to the canaries…..

With the wind at NNE 18kt, Nigel steered a nice straight course with the wind only 10deg off dead astern (not many vane gears can do that reliably).


Ronald Hiemann’s (Nauticat 40)Blogspot – July 2009:

http://bremerspeck.blogspot.com/2009/07/hydrovane-wind-vane-called-emma.html

In a previous post I mentioned “Emma”, our “Hydrovane” wind vane. A wind vane is also referred to as a self-steering and or emergency steering system. The Hydrovane employs an auxiliary rudder to perform its duties and does it extremely well. Just a couple of weeks ago, on our way to Bermuda, we got caught in a Nor’easter for almost 3 days with sustained winds of 60 knots and very confused seas! A normal autopilot would almost certainly have blown its pump trying to cope.

Not the Hydrovane! Emma steered our yacht through it all, while the crew of Bremer Speck sat “high and dry” inside the pilothouse, protected from the elements. I have owned this Hydrovane for almost 7 years now and am extremely happy and satisfied! It is not cheap but worth every penny! I would not want to be without it and I use it every chance I get. A wind vane uses…, guess what?…, …the wind!… to steer the vessel. Thus, unlike the typical autopilot which you hear grinding below deck, a wind vane is totally quiet. No noise whatsoever! All you hear is the water rushing past the hull. Peaceful and quiet.

_

Nauticat 40 at anchor and in bad weather


From: Simon Wainman [mailto:simon@wainman.net]
Sent: September-04-08 11:01 AM
To: john@hydrovane.com; Adrian Jones
Subject: Nakamanda

John.

I haven’t got any photos of our new Hydrovane that are worth sending to you,

but the attached extracts from my log may be of interest.  It certainly made

the expenditure on this piece of equipment well worthwhile.  In spades!!

Simon

Extracts from the log of Nakamanda, Simon’s Rustler 36, on passage from Camaret, North Brittany to Plymouth in mid August 2008:

Finally, after three days of gales in this charming north Brittany town the weather looked set to allow us to cross the Channel home.  We sailed at 7.30 am, in lovely sunshine but with not a breath of wind.  The forecast the previous evening had been for westerlies of force 4 or 5, just what we needed as we sailed north for Plymouth.

The tide sped us on our way through the Chenal du Four once again and popped us out into the southern edge of the English Channel just before noon.  Still no wind but zephyrs on the water looked encouraging and so it turned out.  Within an hour the engine was cut and we were sailing at a good speed with the wind on the beam.  Heidi, our new Hydrovane, was set up and we were on our way.

Diana listened to the lunchtime forecast and came on deck with the news that the depression out to the west of us, which we knew about but hoped we could avoid, was moving much faster than expected and was likely to give us a good smack as it came through.  The detail was force 6, increasing 7 and possibly gale 8.  Worse was the news that the wind would back from the west to the south, right up our stern, which makes life both uncomfortable and also somewhat dangerous.  As the seas build up, the chance of an unintentional gybe increases.  In a gale this could result in dismasting.

We began to cross the east-going shipping lane in the early afternoon as the wind freshened.  By now the sky was a uniform grey and it was getting colder.  We saw in the region of a dozen ships going up channel but didn’t have to alter course.

We hoped to be out of the main shipping channel before dark, and so it turned out.  However not before we had encountered three ships travelling in line abreast.  We got across in front of the first two but had to heave to and let the third cross in front of us.  Huge tankers travelling at 20 knots within a couple of hundred yards are an awesome sight.  Thank goodness visibility was good.  It is in fog that it can really get exciting.

As the wind and the seas increased we shortened sail till we had all three reefs in the main and a pocket-handkerchief of a jib.  We also had to alter course to the west to keep the wind on our quarter.  Finally we were heading for Falmouth, forty miles to the west of Plymouth, but a safe haven if things got too uncomfortable.  Darkness fell and at intervals we saw an almost full moon through the clouds.  It gave the sea an almost silver sheen.

We took it in turns to spend an hour or two in a bunk, covered with a duvet but fully dressed with boots and with our life-harnesses still fitted.  The noise was such that sleep was almost impossible.

At 3 am we were about 7 miles south of Falmouth, near the dreaded Manacles rocks, when the decision was made to gybe and head north-east towards Plymouth.  The wind was now gusting 8 from the south and the waves were huge.  However at last we were heading in the right direction and the distance to the breakwater in Plymouth began to decrease encouragingly.

There were various fishing boats about and their lights gave us reassurance that we were not out there alone.  At one point one large ship turned and headed straight at me but I saw his trawling lights and he swept past half a mile astern.

Diana took over at 6 am and I went happily to my bunk.  By now the rain had set in with a vengeance and visibility was down to less than a mile as the dawn broke.  A small coastal tanker appeared suddenly out of the mist heading for Falmouth but passed safely a couple of hundred yards away.  And then at last we rounded Rame Head and bore away for the harbour at Plymouth and the joy of calm water.

Looking back on the crossing it was reassuring that, although apprehensive about the sea state and our ability to survive the conditions, neither of us was seasick.  Our Rustler 36, Nakamanda, proved herself beyond our wildest dreams – it was the first time we had encountered seas of this size in forty years of sailing – and the Hydrovane self steering gear, which we had installed at the beginning of the year, to enable us to attempt longer distances on our own, had proved itself one hundred percent.

With a crossing time of 26 hours, a rhumb line of 136 miles, although much further due to our downwind tacking, there is no way we could have hand-steered through those seas without a full crew on board.  Rustler and Hydrovane had proved a winning combination.

Simon Wainman

3 Rustler 36s – all with Hydrovanes – 2 offset, 1 amidships


Will finds 21 Hydrovanes in Lagos marinas

After the 2007 Southampton boatshow Will went to Lagos, Portugal where he counted 21 Hydrovanes in the local marinas. That is what we do on our time off – look for Hydrovanes – finding some that we know – like ‘Bellamanda’, the Bowman 40 owned by Alan Taylor – and some interesting installations like this Beneteau with a stainless steel bracket extension on the ‘H’ bracket with very little separation between the rudders (we recommend a minimum of 8 inches [200cm.]). We wonder how it performs……

Will cruising the marinas in Lagos, Portugal


UNSOLICITED EMAIL RECEIVED APRIL 2008 – Catalina 36

“…..our 12-year-old son who does his own watches, can command the boat with confidence. With ‘Hydie’ at the helm, we never have to worry.”

“I just have to silently laugh knowing that I have none of those worries. ‘Hydie” has driven us through 45-knot gales never losing her way. On the other end of the spectrum, in the Doldrums recently, floating under bare poles in about 2 knots of wind,…..”

From: Chris Burns [mailto:burnssail@hotmail.com] – Sailmail address provided on request

Sent: April-26-08 10:27 AM

To: will@hydrovane.com

Subject: Hydrovane Sails Pacific

Will, John and the Hydrovane Crew:

I wanted to let you know that the Hydrovane installed on Wind Dancer, a Catalina 36, has steered us every sailing mile from Alaska to where we are today — about halfway between the Marquesas Islands and the Tuamotus Archipelago in the South Pacific. That’s about 7,000 sea miles without a hitch. We love our Hydrovane and wouldn’t trade it for any other piece of gear on the boat. It is so easy to use that the entire crew, including our 12-year-old son who does his own watches, can command the boat with confidence. With ‘Hydie’ at the helm, we never have to worry.

Along the voyage we’ve met myriad other cruisers with the old fashioned Monitors and other servo windvanes, all of them griping about chafed lines, broken blocks, wobbly courses and exactly which points of sail are worth using them on. I just have to silently laugh knowing that I have none of those worries. ‘Hydie” has driven us through 45-knot gales never losing her way. On the other end of the spectrum, in the Doldrums recently, floating under bare poles in about 2 knots of wind, the Hydrovane actually held a course through the night. A boat traveling with us (using a Monitor or similar windvane) had drifted 5 miles in the wrong direction by morning.

Fair winds,

Chris Burns s/v Wind Dancer

The Burns Family from Juneau , Alaska


FIRST REPORT FROM LARGER BOAT ON PERFORMANCE OF NEW RUDDER – 15 Ton Roberts 44

“Ernie the vane has developed a new self confidence that is quite amazing! It’s as if he’s saying “OK guys, I’ve got new muscle now, just click my knob, and leave the rest to me…”

BACKGROUND – We recently sent one of our new rudders to long-time cruising friends who at the time were in Equador. We want reliable feedback to gauge the difference between the old and new rudders. That kind of comparison can only come from a bigger boat that has experienced long passages with the old rudder. We first met John and Linda Hurlburt in New Zealand in 1973. He, like us, has had long absences from the sea but is now back fulfilling another dream. The Hurlburt’s boat, MADHATTER, is a Bruce Roberts 44 rated at 13 tons but now certainly 15 tons or so. John explains his findings -………..

John, I have waited to write you back in order to accumulate more experience with the new rudder. There were two changes I made to the Hydrovane in Ecuador:

1. the new rudder, and
2. I made up a 1.25 inch thick teak spacer for the lower vane mounting. This brought the unit into true vertical, whereas before it was “leaning” forward at the bottom.

In my view, the new rudder is a real winner. We are now 6 days and 800 miles out of the Galapagos en route to Fatu Hiva. As well, we used the vane on the 500 mile sail from Ecuador to the Galapagos.

To back up a little, since we left Vancouver, the vane has performed generally well. There were two situations where the boat would occasionally “get away” from the vane: light air downwind sailing, and broad reaching in boisterous conditions. Usually, a little attention to sail balancing would solve the problem. The new rudder seems much more forgiving of boat imbalance. It seems more powerful. It has handled everything to date with aplomb, including the above two problem situations. In fact, Ernie the vane has developed a new self confidence that is quite amazing! It’s as if he’s saying “OK guys, I’ve got new muscle now, just click my knob, and leave the rest to me…”. We know when we turn things over to him, we no longer have to worry about boat control.

To answer your questions:
1. Downwind, light apparent wind: there is not enough power to turn the rudder with the knob on middle setting even with the vane vertical. However, with the knob far left and the vane vertical there is plenty of power- a benefit I think of the new bigger, better balanced rudder.
2. Heavy weather- no problem controlling the boat now. It’s best with the knob in middle setting, and vane inclined about 70%. For example, right now we are broad reaching in 15-18 knots on the port quarter, confused sea, and Ernie is handling it beautifully.

Anyway, it’s a glorious Tradewind day here at 4 43 S, 103 13 W. The sun is out, the SE wind is blowing 15-18, and Madhatter is romping west under genoa & mizzen. Flying fish everywhere. Yesterday we were becalmed and we all went for a swim. Water 27C (remember Pendrell Sound?- same temp). It was eerie, floating there looking down into the deep blue of the abyss. What a neat experience.

We have used our light air gennaker more than we ever thought we would. What a great sail. Many times we would have gone nowhere without it. A last minute purchase by Linda- thank the wind gods she did. Tell everyone at Bluewater to have one on board.

The Galapagos was incredible. Hope to see you guys and tell about it.

Love to all the Currys, John & Linda

MADHATTER – Bruce Roberts 44 – 15 tons – in Morro Bay, California

THEN THIS FROM THE CREW:

“At 0900hrs this morning the main steering quadrant failed–it sheared in two places and is need of a good welder. We rigged up the emergency tiller which we centred, and are steering using the Hydrovane. ”

Ahoy all,

At 0900hrs this morning the main steering quadrant failed–it sheared in two places and is need of a good welder. We rigged up the emergency tiller which we centred, and are steering using the Hydrovane. This works very well considering–we are using the manual bilge pump handle as a tiller and we’re steering from the “hen bench”. It’s much the same as steering a small outboard motor in a dinghy. Before the incident,we were having a fine sail straight downwind before a 25 kt following breeze,
but have reverted to motoring for ease of handling.

So we are now proceeding directly to Atuona for repairs, and expect to arrive tomorrow in the late afternoon. Fatu Hiva will have to wait for another time.

There are a numerous things that are on our side. Firstly, the Hydrovane makes steering much more manageable, instead of trying to steer from the bowels of the vessel. Secondly, we are only 145nm from a safe harbour, and most probably a good welder/mechanic. Thirdly, and most importantly, the failure occurred well away from land where we could sort things out in an orderly fashion, trying different steering techniques until we found the best combination. And lastly, after a wicked night of strong squalls, the skies cleared this morning in fine tradewind fashion. Landfall tomorrow morning.

The Crew of the Goodship MADHATTER

………….MORE FROM JOHN

“Hydrovane saved our Bacon!”

From: VE7JFH@Winlink.org [mailto:VE7JFH@Winlink.org]
Sent: Monday, June 04, 2007 5:38 PM
To: john@hydrovane.com
Subject: Hydrovane saved our Bacon!

Just a quick note. We are in unbelievably lush Hiva Oa, 22 days from the Galapagos. WOW! Anyway, the last day, our steering quadrant broke. We don’t know why. We were able to fit the emergency tiller, and lock the main rudder. We then steered Madhatter from the after deck using the Hydrovane for the last 30 hours into Hiva Oa. Another success story for your product!

I am however worried about flexing of the transom at the attachment point of the lower Hydrovane mount, which was quite notible hand steering. I think the solution will be an A-bracket.

Another plus- our bilge pump handle fit perfectly into the Hydrovane tiller, allowing us to extend the tiller, which was critical to successful hand steering. Was this planned?
We will write in more detail later.

John


UNSOLICITED EMAIL RECEIVED JULY 2007

Custom 14m, 20 tonne ketch – re new bigger rudder

…. substantial improvement, such that normal sail and rudder trim will allow the Hydrovane to do its job whilst allowing us to keep the speed up. We are impressed!”

From: magwen01@yahoo.co.uk
Sent: Tuesday, July 24, 2007 3:20 PM
To: john@hydrovane.com
Subject: New rudder

Hello John

Greetings from Tonga. Thought that you might like to know that the ” new, improved ” rudder has now had a thorough test over some 2000 NM of very varied sailing around NZ and up to Tonga and has passed with honours.

Magwen is a 14 metre fin/skeg ketch which in “cruising mode” probably weighs up to 20 tonnes, so it was on the Hydrovane limit in any event. We previously had trouble with control in light airs down-wind and also in heavy quartering seas in gale conditions. in both cases there has been a substantial improvement, such that normal sail and rudder trim will allow the Hydrovane to do its job whilst allowing us to keep the speed up. We are impressed!

I still wonder what extra benefit there might be with an even bigger (deeper) rudder, ie two sizes for different types of boat.

many thanks

regards, David


UNSOLICITED EMAIL RECEIVED JUNE 2007 – WAUQUIEZ PS 40

BIG OFFSET OF 30in. / 75cm.

“Tell your colleagues.”

From: available on request
Sent: June-29-07 3:03 PM
To: will@hydrovane.com
Subject: Qwyver Wauquiez 40 PS

Hi Will,

Our hydrovane, mounted way off centre, has just completed its first 500 mile passage. Everything from F7 on the nose and rough seas (North Biscay) to a gentle F4 from behind.

The Hydrovane performed brilliantly, and we are delighted with it. Tell your colleagues.

Best regards,

John Andrews & Freda Haylett

WAUQUIEZ PS 40


July 2007 – Ocean Gybe: Global Research and Outreach Expedition

“….it is incredible. We have not touched the wheel…’Casper, the friendly ghost'”

A group of surfers set out on a three year expedition to research marine pollution, and possibly catch a few waves every now and then. Sailing around the world to remote islands documenting mankind’s influence on uninhabited islands.

As of mid July – enroute from Cabo San Lucas, Mexico to the Marquesas – See their website at: http://www.oceangybe.com/

From the website: “Another big event of the day was getting our wind steering device, the ‘Hydrovane’ up and running. Using the wind, this ingenious device will steer the boat relative to a wind direction and keep you on course… all the while not using anything but the wind to power it! I was dubious to how well it was going to work, and i have to tell you, it is incredible! We have not touched the wheel since we handed over the helm to our new crew mate, ‘Casper, the friendly ghost'”.

Bryce & Ryan Robertson on their T40 with custom ‘A’ bracket


3rd PARTY EMAIL SENT TO PROSPECTIVE (since bought) HYDROVANE OWNER

CHARLES HAS A HINCKELY 49 – PETER has an OCEANIC 42

“I have used Aries, Flemming etc before and I think Hydrovane out performs them all. Biggest advantage is its ability to work down to 3 or 4 knots apparent.”

“Once you have used a (good) windvane electric auto pilots seem barbaric.”

From: peter gregory [peter_gregory@bigpond.com]
To: “Charles xxxxxxx”
Subject: Re: Hydrovane Self-steering
Date: Fri, 6 Aug 2004 08:22:07 +1000

Charles, I am a fan of hydrovane. I have used Aries, Fleming etc before and I think Hydrovane out performs them all. Biggest advantage is its ability to work down to 3 or 4 knots apparent. All types work well to windward when the ap goes up most others drop off being reliable downwind when the ap drops..

In terms of sailing performance reliablity and need of maintainence I can think of no faults. If I was to find a criticism it would be the attachment and removal of the blade (rudder) which can only be done in flat water. It is not a big problem but most other units you pull a string and the blade swings up. I have spoken to Hydrovane about it who say they are reluctant to change it because the strength and reliability of the unit would be jepodised. So I just leave the blade in the water all the time and pin it when I am motoring. Incidentaly nobodies units work under motor.

Once you have used a (good) windvane electric auto pilots seem barbaric.

cheers peter

Oceanic 42 & Peter Gregory


From the ARC 2005

Hydrovane Vane Snags Flying Fish

That is a live flying fish that hit the vane mid flight and got stuck
…nearly 3m. (10 ft.) in the air

HALLBERG RASSY 39 – ‘NECESSITY’ owned by Jan Fredrik of Norway