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Fisher 34 - another poem!

Vera’s First Voyage

“I’ve been Christened Vera, I’m Wight Mistress’s steerer
From Hydrovane I came this year.
With drilling and fitting and spirit levels flitting
I now hang upright at her rear…”

From: Stephen White
Sent: Tuesday, September 12, 2017
To: Sarah Curry
Subject: Re: Summer/Fall 2017: New Website, Free Tickets, and the Golden Gate Bridge

Hi Sarah,

Many thanks for your message,  this is going to be very pleasant reading.   Thank you and Will also for your video clips, which helped me a great deal with fitting ‘Vera’  to Wight Mistress.

I noted a poem here,  and being of a mind to waxy lyrical myself from time to time,  a poem about Vera popped into my head, so I scratched here for you if you would like it.

Vera’s First Voyage

I’ve been Christened Vera, I’m Wight Mistress’s steerer
From Hydrovane I came this year.
With drilling and fitting and spirit levels flitting
I now hang upright at her rear.

My first task this season was a cross Channel bimble
From Hamble to Normandy’s coast.
Some river close handling and cross traffic gambling
The wind of which I made the most.

For 10 hours solid with winds moist and squalid
I steered for my people with ease
The wind dropped a tad, which wasn’t too bad
Under motor, my performance still pleased.

About 6 hours later the wind dropped much further
It simply had run out of puff
But George was employed and for 6 hours he toyed
Thank goodness for batteries and stuff.

So if you are thinking of wind powered steering
There simply is no better way
So Hydrovane ‘Vera’s a permanent crew member
I really am now here to stay.

[Editor’s note – Many thanks, Steve! We love this one too.  You’ll have to recite it for us at the boat show! ]

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Baba 35 - A good story!

A passing ship tracks Kevin’s Baba 35 on AIS, and can’t understand how his sailing course is so straight!

From: Kevin
Sent:  July 26, 2017
To: Sarah Curry
Subject: First Trip

Sarah,

I had the Hydrovane installed on my boat while I was in Florida. I was tired of the Wind Pilot’s wandering.

At the same time, I installed a new AIS transponder.

The plan was to sail from the Florida Keys to the Chesapeake Bay. I would be sailing solo. So, the Hydrovane was a key element in this plan. It should take the Baba 35 about 10 days. The forecast was for fair weather offshore, and late day thunderstorms all over the south east, which is typical during the summer.

While the weather would allow, I would use the Gulf Stream for a little push. I was shocked the first time I raised the mainsail. The Windpilot would not hold the boat into the wind long enough to raise the mainsail. So, I would make 2-3 trips back to the cockpit to make adjustments during the process. With the sail ready, I prepared the halyard. I looked up to check the wind… on the nose. I was liking the Hydrovane already. I raised the mainsail with no trips to the cockpit and was shocked that we were still in irons as I tidied up the halyard.

I sat on the cabin top, looking around… checking for traffic, and enjoying the scenery. I looked up again… the sail was gently luffing… still in irons. It was an amazing experience and I hadn’t started sailing yet!

I spent most of the day babysitting the Hydrovane. It didn’t need my attention, but it was a perfect day to get acquainted.

I spent the night taking cat naps; watching for traffic; enjoying mother nature’s light show (thunderstorms over land… stars above); watching the chartplotter for AIS targets and verifying them with radar. Periodically, I would gaze astern and watch the Hydrovane as it kept me on course… no attention required. I was between the Florida keys and Cuba. I only saw three ships the whole night.

The next morning, I was rounding the bend in the Straits of Florida. I was off Key Largo. I was finally heading north!

There was bound to be much more shipping traffic. I was nearing the channel entry for Miami.

The winds were light, the sky above blue, but there was a heavy haze along the horizon in all directions.

This weather persisted through most of the day. The thunderstorms came early; still over land. Only, Florida was to my left, the Bahamas to my right, and visibility was very low ahead.

My chartplotter showed a ship heading south. I decided to hail them and verify my AIS was truly transmitting. The response came quickly: “Oh, yes! We picked you up at 26 miles out. You didn’t show up on the radar until 8 miles. “The next response shocked me! “Since you are a sailing vessel, we keep a close eye on you. Sailboats tend to wander like a snake and change direction at inappropriate times. You however, you have been different. We have a running bet going… What kind of autopilot do you have; electric or hydraulic? Your course has been as straight as an arrow.”

My response was simple, “I don’t have an autopilot.” The tone of the voice on the other end changed. “You can’t be hand steering!”

I said, “No. I’m using a windvane steering system.” I had their attention now. He immediately wanted to know what kind. His brother-in-law was a sailor and wanted a windvane for his boat.

For the next 20 minutes, we chatted all about the Hydrovane and why I thought is was better than a servo pendulum.

–Kevin

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Swan 40 - Light Airs and Good Q's Answered

“I can only say FANTASTIC !”

“Why did I wait so long to get one?”

From: richard forrest
Sent: Wednesday, August 30, 2017 10:57 AM
To: John Curry <john@hydrovane.com>
Subject: Re: SWAN 40 FIRST IMPRESSIONS

After the first few months with my Swan in the Med (mainly < 10 knots true) I can only say FANTASTIC ! The Hydrovane works well down to around 4-5 knots apparent, close hauled through to broad reach. Below that I’d probably start the engine anyway. I have time to cook, have a shower, wash the decks, etc and know that I’m not consuming precious ampere-hours. Why did I wait so long to get one ?

Questions:

1. When motoring, with the Hydrovane rudder locked, the wheel has to be turned 4 degrees to port to compensate for the bias created by the Hydrovane rudder. This does not occur when the Hydrovane rudder is removed. Can I do anything to eliminate this bias ?

A: 4-degree bias – Yes, afraid to say you are stuck with it. Another reason for a big offset – to get away from propwash.

2. With the sails balanced and the wheel locked what is the best way of setting up the vane with the correct angle to the wind ? Maybe a telltale on the vane ?

A: Telltales are always helpful. With an autopilot on and the seas throwing the boat around the final setting position is only a guess. But once the HV is engaged with the wheel locked a little tweaking solves it all. Ditto for the sail trim – tweaking is most interesting. One very experienced racer reported to us that it wasn’t until he had a Hydrovane that he finally discovered that he had always been over sheeting and over canvassed.

3. You state clearly that rattling at anchor or when motoring is normal but which components will wear because of the play in the system?

A: The big negative of leaving the rudder on when not in use is the constant wear of the shaft hole. If bits of sand or growth get in the bore hole the shaft will act as a grinder. As the hole gets larger the wear accelerates. Then it really rattles. The rest of the rattling of the drive train is not an issue. The plastic #19 Drive Sleeve and #25 Shaft Bottom Bearing are the other parts that wear and can be replaced after 10,000 miles or much more.

I am attaching a short video of “Henry the Navigator” in action. I get hypnotised watching the tiller and ratio rod assembly which seem to “float” in sync with the rudder Does everything look normal ?

A: Yes!

Thanks for your time.

Best regards
Richard Forrest

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Bavaria 49 - Stiff Worm Gear

“…the hydrovane has been the most valuable and useful piece of equipment I have installed on the boat ….. by far.”

From: Adib Sawaya
Sent: August 13, 2017
To: will@hydrovane.com
Subject: stiff course setting

Will,

Before I mention my little problem and sound like i’m complaining, I would like to start with saying that the hydrovane has been the most valuable and useful piece of equipment I have installed on the boat ….. by far. I own a Bavaria 49 and have sailed from the UAE(Dubai) to panama, I honestly believe I would have never made it this far without the Hydrovane, being mostly singlehanded. Although I have faced a little issue that I can’t sort out:

The little wheel that you turn to set the course is usually very stiff (and getting stiffer with time), to the point that it is impossible to use the line in order to spin the wheel and set the course. the line just slips off, even by hand it seems very stiff. When the course is set, the vane works very smoothly, no stiffness or jamming in any other part of the mechanism.
For a while I though that maybe some salt and dust must have stiffened it, even after removal and cleaning, the stiffness doesn’t go away.

Could it be that the plastic material expands from the sun? have you had this problem before?

The hydrovane is about 2 years in use now.

Any input would be helpful.

regards,
Adib

Hi Adib,

Good to hear from you and nice to see that your Hydrovane has been performing its duties as it should. Is it okay if we post your email to the website? If you have any pictures of the Hydrovane installation we would love to add them as well.

Apologies for the nuisance with the worm gear. There was a period where the tolerances on the bushings was too tight and swelled in the tropics. Fortunately, it is a fairly easy fix – If you download the new Operation guide and go to Troubleshooting, page 14  you will find instructions for reaming out the worm gear bushings – See http://hydrovane.com/instructions/ – and download the Operation Guide.

Let me know if any of the instructions need further explanation. Thanks for checking with us.

Kind Regards,

Will Curry
Hydrovane International Marine Inc.

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Hallberg Rassy 382

“The vane is a lovely device, perfect!”

From: SV Peach
Sent: August 11, 2017
To: Will Curry
Subject: A little of everything

Hi Will,

Using the Hydrovane all the time now. Currently we are heading south along the Spanish west coast. The vane is a lovely device, perfect!

/Göran

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Sunbeam 42DS

“Die Windfahnensteuerung läuft zu meiner vollsten Zufriedenheit.”

“The windvane is running to my full satisfaction.”

Von: Juergen Tittel
Datum: 14. August 2017
An: Tom Logisch [Hydrovane Dealer for Germany: www.tomlogisch.com]
Betreff: Überwinterung Kanaren

Hallo Tom,

Ich hoffe Dir geht es gut und der Verkauf Deiner innovativen Kläranlage ist erfolgreich angelaufen.

Die Windfahnensteuerung läuft zu meiner vollsten Zufriedenheit. Es hat ein wenig gedauert, bis ich die Einstellungen herausgefunden hatte. Jetzt läuft alles super und wir hatten schon Gelegenheit, sie auf längeren Schlägen (Überquerung Nordsee und Biskaya) zu testen. Deine ausführliche Beschreibung, die ich noch im Internet gefunden habe, hat mir dabei sehr geholfen.

Vielen Dank & viele Grüße
Juergen Tittel

Translation to English:

Hello Tom,

I hope you are doing well and the sale of your innovative sewage treatment plant has been successful.

The windvane is running to my full satisfaction. It took me a little time to find the settings. Now everything is going very well and we have already had the opportunity to test them on long beatings (crossing North Sea and Biscay). Your detailed description, which I still found in the Internet, helped me a lot.

Thank you and many greetings
Juergen Tittel

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Bavaria Vision 40

“..it’s working perfectly.”

From: Karin Duimel
Sent: July 20, 2017
To: John Curry, Will Curry
Subject: Hydrovane installed and working!

Dear John and Will,

A couple of weeks ago we installed the Hydrovane and last weekends we’ve been testing it. Sometimes we still need some time to get the right combination of the vane settings but once we have this it’s working perfectly.

Attached are some pictures. We still want to make a small platform on the A bracket. Once we fixed these I will send you better pics.

Best, Karin

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Hallberg Rassy 43 - Custom Platform

Will writes: “I’m impressed with the custom platform on top of the ‘A’ bracket.”

From: Fredrik Hallstrom
Sent: July 14, 2017
To: Will Curry
Subject: Pictures of my Hydrovane

Hi Will!

Please forgive me for being late with the photos I promised to send after completed installation of the Hydrovane. The installation went fine without major problems after I got the missing part from you. The only problem I had was that the steering line you delivered was way too short for my yacht with center cockpit.

At sea the windvane have proved to be a good helmsman on all courses except when the sail gets in lee of my outboard engine (wind from starboard 60-80 degrees).

All the best,
Fredrik Hallström

On Fri, 14 Jul 2017, “Will Curry” wrote:

Hi Fredrik,

Thanks for taking the time to send the installation photos which look great.  I’m impressed with the custom platform on top of the ‘A’ bracket.  Is it okay if we add your photos to our website?

The outboard engine shouldn’t have much effect on the vane as the top of the vane is well above but interesting to hear that.  The more you sail with the Hydrovane, the more in tune you will get.  We look forward to further performance reports.

Kind Regards,

Will Curry

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Elan 40

“The Hydrovane has been fantastic. Sailing from the Caribbean to Europe i was caught in a 60knot plus storm for three days.The hydrovane never faltered and allowed me to concentrate on surviving.”

From: John Andrews
Sent: July 17, 2017
To: Will Curry
Subject: HYDROVANE PROBLEM ON WIZARD

Hi Will

I bought my Hydrovane in early 2015 when you shipped it to St Lucia, and where it was installed. After getting used to the Hydrovane it has been marvelous. I am now in Menorca. On the sail from Mallorca, the vane and the circular wheel lifted up and the vane swung around 180degrees. Photo of the start of a lift off follows by separate mail. It seemed to happen each time the wind increased in a gust, after having been doing its normal job for say one hour. Any idea what is going on?
Thanks
John
Boat.WIZARD

From: Will Curry
Date: July 19 2017
To: John ANdrews
Subject: RE: HYDROVANE worm gear ON WIZARD

Hi John,

Good to hear from you and nice to see the Hydrovane has served you well….until recently.  Fortunately your fix is fairly simple.  I’ve marked with an arrow on the attached photo what you need to adjust.  That bolt (part 89) needs to be loosened – you need to loosen the nut first as the bolt is threaded into the casting.  You can then re set the worm gear mechanism so there is a small gap above and below the black plastic spacer that sits above the bolt.  You should be able to see the stainless tube behind it both above and below.  You can then re-tighten the bolt set ans wise to put some loctite on the threads.  You can view photos of how it should all look on our parts page – See http://hydrovane.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/Part-Schematic-and-List.pdf

On a separate note, can we add your email to the website?  I don’t believe we ever received any photos of your installation?  It would be great to have some for other Elan owners.

Happy to answer further questions.

Kind Regards,

Will Curry

From: John Andrews
Sent: July 19, 2017
To: Will Curry
Subject: RE: HYDROVANE worm gear ON WIZARD

Thank you Will. Ok yr answer was clear… will try it out in a few days when i set off again. I will be delighted to send a few photos and i stand as a reference. The Hydrovane has been fantastic. Sailing from the Caribbean to Europe i was caught in a 60knot plus storm for three days.The hydrovane never faltered and allowed me to concentrate on surviving.

Thks, john

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Van de Stadt 44

Testimonial in German, forwarded by our German Dealer Tom Logisch.

Hallo Herr Logisch,

Wir haben die Windfahne jetzt ein wenig ausprobiert und selbst uns Novizen ist es problemlos gelungen die Fahne so einzustellen, dass die das tut was sie soll. Gestern dann auch unter Parasailor (Thomas Wibberenz war zur Einführung hier) ohne Probleme.

English translation:

Hello Mr. Logisch,

We have tried the wind vane a bit now, and even for us novices it is easily managed to adjust the vane so that it does what it should.

Yesterday also under Parasailor (Thomas Wibberenz was here) without any problems. Thanks again for the excellent service.

Michael Broemmel

 

Moody 35

“Only wanted to tell you that I think this has to been the best windvane ever constructed.”

From: Håkan Åström
Sent:  July 5, 2017
To: John Curry

It has passed by a couple of years. I have saved our mail conversation. On Azores now on my way home from Florida. The boat has been there one year over the hurricane season.

When I arrived to the boat two months ago the Hydrovane rudder had been on the deck for one year and was a little bent from the heat. I was afraid that i would not work properly because of that, I had no choice but starting my sailing towards Bermuda. It worked perfect despite the rudder is not being straight! Fantastic. A forgiving windvane.

The bend is approximately five centimeters.

[Editor’s Note: store the rudder out of the sun; it can warp. That being said, a minor warp should not affect performance]

I have some minor adjustment now but it is my problem. Only wanted to tell you that I think this has to been the best windvane ever constructed.

Kind regards,
Håkan

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Discovery 47 - 41,000 lbs - Light Airs

“…we had about 1.5 – 2.0 kts of apparent wind, and it just came alive, tilting this way and that and steering a gently meandering course.”

“This thing is magical.”

From: Jean Baillargeon
Date: Jun 28, 2017
Subject: feedback on Hydrovane
To: Will Curry

Hi Will

Nice seeing you and Sarah last night. Glad to hear you are heading out again and who knows we might bump into one another in SF.

As you suggested I also wanted to offer some feedback on my hydrovane’s performance so far.

Helen and I were sailing from Nanaimo up to French Creek a few weeks ago in a very light breeze from the east up the Strait. Maybe 6-8 knots. We set our asymetrical spinaker on a starboard tack with the wind well aft the beam (150-160 degrees) It took a few minutes for the boat to get some way (we’re a heavy 41,000 lbs) But soon we’re ghosting along at about 3.0 – 3.5 kts. I set the hydrovane at its most sensitive setting, we had about 1.5 – 2.0 kts of apparent wind, and it just came alive, tilting this way and that and steering a gently meandering course. I tweaked it a few times to get just the right heading and we just enjoyed a nice quiet ride for the next few hours. This thing is magical.

Cheers,

Jean Baillargeon

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Warrior 40 - Storm Meets OSTAR Fleet

June 12, 2017, Practical Boat Owner reports:  In the early hours of Friday 9 June, 60-knot winds and 15-metre seas were experienced by competitors of the OSTAR and TwoSTAR Fleet, caused by a very low depression (967 mb).

These extreme conditions caused damage to many boats with three emergency beacons (EPIRB) triggered. The Canadian coastguard in Halifax immediately reacted to the situation sending ships and air support to all the boats in distress.

Read more about this event in this Practical Boat Owner article

David Southwood, sailing Warrior 40 SY Summerbird in the OSTAR, writes:

“… You will be pleased to learn that the Hydrovane saved both Summerbird and me.”

“It held the boat just off the wind during both these nights in extremely heavy seas with very large waves breaking over the boat. In effect the Hydrovane held Summerbird ‘hoved to’ during those 36 hours.”

“Without it I would have been in distress”

From: David Southwood
Sent: June 25, 2017
To: John Curry; Sarah Curry
Subject: SUMMERBIRD

Dear John and Sarah,

As you know from previous correspondence I started the single-handed trans  Atlantic yacht race OSTAR from Plymouth, England to Newport, Rhode Island on 29th May. The 21 vessel fleet followed the great circle route along 50 degrees north for nearly two weeks. I was alternating the lead in my class. On 9th June we hit a massive storm of hurricane force winds 50-70 knots and again the next night. Four boats were abandoned with skippers picked up by ships. My good friend aboard Tamarind was lucky enough to be rescued by the Queen Mary 2. Only seven of the fleet were able to continue.

By the time of the storm I had lost the staysail and had reefed in the genoa. The reefing line parted so I dropped the sail leaving me with just a main with three reefs. You will be pleased to learn that the Hydrovane saved both Summerbird and me. It held the boat just off the wind during both these nights in extremely heavy seas with very large waves breaking over the boat. In effect the Hydrovane held Summerbird “hoved to” during those 36 hours. Without it I would have been in distress.

I sought refuge and sailed over 700 nm with three reefs in the main and a storm jib primarily employing the Hydrovane until the last 250 nm when I had enough fuel to motor. I am now in Horta in the Azores effecting repairs. Well done to Hydrovane!

Best regards,

David Southwood

On 27 Jun 2017, at 01:01, John Curry wrote:

Hi David

It is very kind of you to share your story with us. Even in our distant location we had hourly reports of the rescues underway and boats lost.

I am often asked what to do with the Hydrovane in a storm. My answer always has been to make it part of the equation as each boat reacts differently – a handkerchief of a sail, preferably a staysail or stormsail, and the Hydrovane.

With your reefed main what did you do with the main rudder and the Hydrovane? I know what I would do with only a staysail but not when without it. Certainly, be trying this and that………………… and anxious to get in my bunk.

How long was the storm when winds were over 50 knots? I see that 50 to 70 knots produce seas of 30 to 50 feet. I have never experienced anything like that – only a 32 hour blow of 40+ knots and seas of 25 feet says the Beaufort scale. That was violent enough.

May we include your email on our website? You would be in good company.

Thanks again

John

John E. Curry, CA/CPA

From: David Southwood
Sent:  June 27, 2017
To: John Curry
Cc: Sarah Curry; Will Curry
Subject: Re: SUMMERBIRD

Hi John and Sarah,

The storm lasted 36 hours but as Summerbird went through the eye there was a lull between the two nights of 60-70 knots. The vane was lowered to about 45 degrees and was set 90 degrees to the boat’s heading. The ratio control was on the extreme left setting. The Hydrovane rudder was not lashed but the boat’s rudder was lashed midships. 

Please use my information on your website.

With best regards,

David

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Ovni 395 - Ode to Our Best Crew Member

“As you can probably imagine, there’s plenty of “thinking” time during long nights on watch and we came up with the attached…”

My name is Jane, I’m a Hydrovane
I steer night and day and don’t complain.
Come wax or wane,
Sunshine or rain,
It’s all the same, to Jane.

So in France or in Spain,
Or off the coast of Maine,
Why tax your brain?
Just trim the main, set the vane
And leave the rest to Jane.

Then without battery drain,
Nor stress nor pain,
She’ll take the strain,
Until you decide to steer again.

From: Graham Marchand
Sent:  June 22, 2017
To: ‘Sarah Curry’
Subject: ALLEGRA

Hi Sarah,

At the end of our 10,000 nm Atlantic circuit, I have to say again that we are so very impressed by the Hydrovane which is better than an extra crew member – I would never set off on a long passage without one. As you can probably imagine, there’s plenty of “thinking” time during long nights on watch and we came up with the attached, which you might find amusing!

Best Regards – Graham Marchand – ALLEGRA

[Editor’s note: We love it!!]

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Beneteau 423 - now in the Azores

“Notre Hydrovane était à la barre près de 95% du temps lors d’une traversée de 2333 NM entre l’île de St-Martin, aux Petites Antilles, et l’île de Terceira, aux Açores.”

“Our Hydrovane was at the helm nearly 95% of the time on the 2333 NM passage! We made it dock to dock in 17 days, 15 hours and 40 minutes, for an average speed of 5.5 Kts.”

“…as a general rule less sail was better and gave us both good speed and good control by the windvane. Giving much attention to the sail/wind situation was the winning condition.”

Notre Hydrovane était à la barre près de 95% du temps lors d’une traversée de 2333 NM entre l’île de St-Martin, aux Petites Antilles, et l’île de Terceira, aux Açores. Nous avons fait ce trajet du 6 au 24 mai 2017 à une vitesse moyenne de 5,5 Kts, à bord de Marinade, notre Bénéteau Océanis 423. J’ai suivi votre conseil concernant l’indispensable équilibre du bateau : en règle générale, mais surtout lorsque le vent forcit, la quantité minimale de toile doit être envoyée. Les seuls moments où le Hydrovane ne contrôlait pas la barre étaient le manque de vent et lorsqu’un ajustement des voiles tardait à être fait, auquel cas j’utilisais le pilote automatique pour assister le régulateur.

Daniel Groulx, capitaine

Voilier Marinade

From: Daniel Groulx
Sent: June 7, 2017
To: Sarah Curry
Subject: S/Y Marinade: replacement parts for the Hydrovane

Hello Sarah,

It is my pleasure to inform you that I made the passage on Marinade with two crew between St-Martin island in the Caribbean and Terceira island in the Azores from May 6 to May 24.

Our Hydrovane was at the helm nearly 95% of the time on the 2333 NM passage! We made it dock to dock in 17 days, 15 hours and 40 minutes, for an average speed of 5.5 Kts. The only time the windvane wasn’t working was the engine time, when the wind wasn’t at the rendez-vous, or when my crew couldn’t adjust it while I was sleeping. It does require fine tuning when the wind gets strong. I sometimes used both the windvane and the autopilot and got interesting results.

I followed your advice concerning the amount of sail to hang out : as a general rule less sail was better and gave us both good speed and good control by the windvane. Giving much attention to the sail/wind situation was the winning condition.

Thank you and have a good day,

Daniel

Suzanne et Daniel

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