Beneteau 45

“Our Hydrovane has been completely awesome so far”

” I can report that the Hydrovane has been very firmly promoted to our prime means of steering”

From: Andrew & Traci Roantree
Sent: April 24, 2023
To: Will Curry
Subject: Hooray for Hydrovane

Hi Will and the Happy Hydrovane team,

A quick note from Walkabout – currently mid Pacific – 1910 miles done from Santa Cruz, Galapagos and 1170 to go to Hiva Oa.

Our Hydrovane has been completely awesome so far. We have sailed probably 90% steered by it, through all sorts of sail set ups.  The only time we use the auto helm is when we are sail changing and things can get a bit unbalanced as we go through the process.

Just thought I would let you know – from happy customers in the middle of nowhere!


Andrew and Traci
World ARC Pacific 2023

Posted 29 April 2023 to

[Editor’s Note: The following is an excerpt from a longer blog post on Day 17 of a trans-pacific crossing]

There are many bits of equipment that we rely on to safely sail Walkabout across oceans. One of the most amazing additions that we made to Walkabout before leaving the UK was our Hydrovane. This bit of kit defies logic in many ways – it looks very simple, to the extent that you think it surely won’t work. But boy, does it do a job! The Hydrovane is a wind vane self steering system. It quietly steers the boat according to the wind direction.

On any sort of long passage, hand steering is a real chore – particularly when short handed like us. So everyone relies on some means of autonomous steering. The vast majority of boats use an auto helm system, linked to the nav system, driven by an electric motor or hydraulic ram. The forces are big and the power usage is significant. We have such a system, and it is great. But it eats power and what if it failed…? (As has happened to some boats already on this venture).

So we added the Hydrovane as a secondary means of autonomous steering. But I can report that the Hydrovane has been very firmly promoted to our prime means of steering. It has done the most amazing job on the crossing, having been in charge of our heading for probably 80% of the trip. (The auto helm gets used when we are motoring, due to the lack of wind for the Hydrovane to work with). The bright orange wind vane bobs from side to side on our port quarter, adjusting it’s own small rudder to keep us heading in the right direction – using no power at all. It is a blooming miracle!