Rival 32 - An Update

“I have sailed the hydrovane in winds from F3 to F9. It really does ‘just work’.”

“I simply ‘changed down’ on the ‘gearbox’, and the problem solved itself.”

From: Brian Case
Sent: Monday, May 22, 2006 1:59 PM
To: John Curry
Subject: ocean sunrise pics

Hi John.

It took long enough, but here are the pics I promised. 316 shows the North Somerset coast, and shows the tiller lashed midships; 318 shows the strong tides we get in the Bristol Channel, hydrovane coping well; 326 shows the vanes rope and pulley whipped to the wind generators tripod; 335 is my baby alongside in Swansea, our first real trip with the new self steering kit.

I have sailed the hydrovane in winds from F3 to F9. It really does ‘just work’. It took me a few attempts to fine tune the windvane to sail a specific course, the trick was to trim the sails properly (just like it says in the handbook!!). The unit works equally well on all points of sail, but has yet to be tested in large quartering seas. This will be an important test as Ocean Sunrise hates these conditions, and is a right bugger to steer! If the unit copes with this, I will be very pleased, but based on its performance so far, I have no real doubts.

For the hell of it, I took her out in a force nine, just to see if the unit would cope. The strong wind made the windvane move through its full range, and the rudder over-steered badly. This caused the boat to alternately luff up, and bear away dramatically, and made life awful. I simply ‘changed down’ on the ‘gearbox’, and the problem solved itself. Life returned to normal, and the subsequent cup of coffee was enjoyed particularly well!

I hope to take a couple of weeks off in June, intending to visit Lundy Island, Padstow, the Scilly Isles, and the Gower coast. It will all be single-handed, so should be the last ‘test’ my new hydrovane will have.

By the way, I have called the unit ‘Megan’, after a friends daughter who, on her very first time at the helm ( 12 years old at the time) steered a straighter course than any adult with years of experience (including yours truly!).

Hope the enclosed are useful, and that all is well in Canada.

Best wishes, Brian Case