“…our first leg, 750 miles to A Coruña, and the Hydrovane was a great success…”
“Being new both to ocean sailing and to self steering gear it was very reassuring to see the vane coping with everything, and it steered us virtually the whole way.”
From: Andrew Cooper
Sent: August 16, 2018
To: Will Curry; Sarah Curry; Gloria Anderson
Cc: John Curry
Subject: Re: Najad 391 – Hydrovane
Dear Will, Sarah and Gloria
I’m back briefly from our first leg, 750 miles to A Coruña, and the Hydrovane was a great success, throughout a range of light following winds to some solid 25 knot winds close hauled. Your device is an extremely accomplished piece of engineering!
I had prepared a grid of basic instructions compiled from your operation manual which we all read once, but hardly needed again: we found setup and adjustment entirely intuitive and also a great reason to concentrate better on balancing sails. Being new both to ocean sailing and to self steering gear it was very reassuring to see the vane coping with everything, and it steered us virtually the whole way.
A highlight was when we were joined by Minke whales, whilst Bert the Hydrovane held course, allowing us all to watch. (It is called Bert after my father’s middle name, which doesn’t get much other use.)
Another highlight is that just with solar panels and a fairly primitive wind generator we are electricity positive, and it’s great to supplant the very old Autohelm with brand new heavy engineering that doesn’t consume amps.
Here are a few photos of the installation, and my beginner’s guide. Please use any for your gallery. In the rush of departing we could have done better photographically and I will send smarter ones from blue waters.
We leave Lisbon for the Canaries next week and then the ARC in November for St. Vincent via Cap Verde.
Many thanks for your help and advice so far.