John Illingworth 44 Staysail Schooner

“The Hydrovane at a guess has done 20,000 miles now, and still going strong. Close to the land or in tricky conditions it of course requires supervision, but out in a trade wind might not need to be touched for days.”

From: Joe Aston
Sent: Saturday, August 04, 2007 2:36 AM

Hi John,

I attach a couple of photos of ‘Anna M’ setting out on that big cruise. The Hydrovane at a guess has done 20,000 miles now, and still going strong. Close to the land or in tricky conditions it of course requires supervision, but out in a trade wind might not need to be touched for days.

The boat is about 15 tons and maybe it is slightly light for her, especially when the wind is light, but it is invaluable nonetheless. Of course John Illingworth saw to it that she is very well balanced in the first place. The vane works better when the wind is strong. I like the term a Frenchman used for it: ‘un r├ęgulateur d’allure’.

I only sail alone when I have to, but have done for example Trinidad/Barbados/ Granada and Isle of Man to here singlehanded. When I have novice guests out, it gives them the chance to get the hang of steering, while in fact myself and the Hydrovane have most of the work in hand!

So good health to yourself and Hydrovane!

Best regards,
Joe Aston
Horseshoe Cottage, Sherkin Island, Co.Cork, Ireland