First time using, four day offshore passage:
“We have a very sophisticated autopilot (Raymarine Evolution) which I love, so I assumed we would test the vane then put her away for emergencies but the performance is so good that roles seem to be reversed.”
From: Graham Openshaw
Sent: July 3, 2019
To: Will Curry
Subject: Hydrovane Commissioned – SV Leela
We never got the opportunity to test our Hydrovane before setting out into the Pacific so we were a bit concerned that it would be a challenge to set up. There was no need to worry. We just put the vane on and away we went. That was four days ago and, apart from a couple of occasions when we needed to motor through squalls she has been in action the whole time.
We have a very sophisticated autopilot (Raymarine Evolution) which I love, so I assumed we would test the vane then put her away for emergencies but the performance is so good that roles seem to be reversed. We are tracking the wind at least as well and it is great to not have the noise and the moving wheel. The power saving is important too, given the continuously overcast weather we are experiencing. At this point all we have done is sail close hauled in 9-18kts TWS so more to learn but all remarkably good so far.
The boat layout has worked remarkably well on our small and congested transom. I was concerned about the dinghy in the davits. It is on the foredeck at the moment but we did get to test that going through the Panama Canal and it is actually better with the HV than before, all good. The only challenging aspect of this installation is that getting the vane on and off above the solar panels is tricky. The panels have very sharp corners so I think another spare vane cover will be a good idea at some point.
I do have a question you might be able to help with. Are there any recommended strategies for tacking and heaving to? Unsurprisingly, the vane does not appear to have the rudder authority to execute the tack so, at the moment, I am switching on the autopilot in wind mode, moving the HV lever to the far right to freeze the vane, executing the tack, settling everything on the new course, aligning the HV to the wind, re-engaging her, switching off the autopilot. This works OK but I’m concerned about the side load on the locked vane.
Please forward my thanks to John and Sarah. You have another very satisfied customer.