Prout 50 Catamaran

“I rate Hydrovane as one of my most valuable piece of kit.”

From: Tim Kibodeaux
Date: May 16, 2021
Subject: Re: Hydrovane feedback for multihulls
To: Sarah Curry

In 2019, I ordered the Hydrovane for an upcoming circumnavigation on my 50 foot 1990 Prout catamaran.  After familiarizing myself with the installation instructions and watching the videos from Hydrovane’s official website, my father and I dove right in.  We opted for the backing plates and wooden pads sold optionally from Hydrovane.  The installation went as easy as could be expected for such a beefy piece of equipment.  I chose to follow Will Curry’s advice to mount it as far aft and to one side as possible, in order to get the best performance out of the vane.

We crossed from Panama to Galapagos and onto Hawaii using the Hydrovane for many miles.  We found it performed best with the heaviest of winds ; 20kts+, requiring very little adjustment.  The vane works fine at lower windspeeds but requires you to start with a well balanced sail plan.  We should always strive for a balanced sail configuration so this should be considered a good tool to teach you how to balance your individual boat.  Overall, we found the higher the wind speed and speed the boat moved through the water the better the Hydrovane performed.  It even performed perfectly downwind which, I read was a challenging point of sail for all vanes, especially on catamarans.  Our experience was, on downwind sails the Hydrovane would not require any adjustments for up to 8 hours at a time.  We found we required at least 12 kts of relative wind for the Hydrovane to be reliable in steering our boat which (in any point of sail), weights 24,000 tons.  Due to our boat’s size and weight, it takes 8 kts minimum wind speed for even the sails to be effective on our boat.

We have found even in confused seas close to land, the Hydrovane combined with our autopilot on a “vane setting” worked well together and reduced our power consumption over time significantly.

Shortly after departing Panama for Galapagos, our hydraulic steering began to leak and the autopilot motor eventually failed.  The Hydrovane was fully put to the test and performed well.  In this case it was a blessing that the Hydrovane works as an independent rudder which, is not integrated into the boat’s organic steering system.

I rate Hydrovane as one of my most valuable piece of kit.

I found getting in touch with Will Curry to be very easy when I had questions.  I personally prefer to work with smaller companies such as Hydrovane because they tend to focus on the product quality and satisfaction of their customers before closing shop each day.  I highly recommend working with Hydrovane and am pleased with its performance and the customer service experience I had with this company.