Shearwater 39 - Offshore Advice
“Best and most necessary piece of equipment we have found is the mechanical self steering.”
“We had the drogue ready to go but never deployed it. During all this our Hydrovane self-steering kept us on course and pointed correctly to the seas for 2 days without needing any adjustment.”
Sent: Wednesday, May 19, 2004 4:39 PM
Subject: progress report from the Huxhams…
“We are about 700 n miles off the coast of Mexico headed for the equator. The winds are fair from the East and we have the fishing gear out. The fleeces are being stowed.
We know many of you are close to leaving and will give you our experience which may help. Best and most necessary piece of equipment we have found is the mechanical self steering. We were in a gale off Oregon. The 30-35 knot winds were not as much of a problem as the 8-14 foot seas. After heaving to for about five hours to wait for dawn, we shortened sail and ran at 6-7 knots under just staysail. We had the drogue ready to go but never deployed it. During all this our Hydrovane self-steering kept us on course and pointed correctly to the seas for 2 days without needing any adjustment. It has performed well in light conditions as well- well worth the money we spent. The crew was able to get needed rest.
In my opinion very few electric driven pilots could have held us on course in that kind of sea. We have a solar panel but did not see the sun for about 2 weeks so don’t count on it entirely. During the bad weather wind generator did well. Our water and fuel conservation is going well. Fortunately during the gale we were already 200 miles offshore so we did not need engine; don’t think we could have motored in the heavy seas. We are certainly happy we took the offshore route.
Freyja has performed well and apart from a shredded reefing block and line we have not had a major failure of equipment. For us the ham radio has become essential not only for email and weather but also for keeping in contact. Ron Kolody has been a great help and has organized phone patches with loved ones in Vancouver. We have also signed on to Pacific seafarers net.”
Shearwater 39 enroute from Vancouver to Marquesas
Basil and Angela