Swan 40 - Light Airs

“I can only say FANTASTIC !”

“Why did I wait so long to get one?”

From: richard forrest
Sent: Wednesday, August 30, 2017 10:57 AM
To: John Curry <john@hydrovane.com>

After the first few months with my Swan in the Med (mainly < 10 knots true) I can only say FANTASTIC ! The Hydrovane works well down to around 4-5 knots apparent, close hauled through to broad reach. Below that I’d probably start the engine anyway. I have time to cook, have a shower, wash the decks, etc and know that I’m not consuming precious ampere-hours. Why did I wait so long to get one ?


1. When motoring, with the Hydrovane rudder locked, the wheel has to be turned 4 degrees to port to compensate for the bias created by the Hydrovane rudder. This does not occur when the Hydrovane rudder is removed. Can I do anything to eliminate this bias ?

A: 4-degree bias – Yes, afraid to say you are stuck with it. Another reason for a big offset – to get away from propwash.

2. With the sails balanced and the wheel locked what is the best way of setting up the vane with the correct angle to the wind ? Maybe a telltale on the vane ?

A: Telltales are always helpful. With an autopilot on and the seas throwing the boat around the final setting position is only a guess. But once the HV is engaged with the wheel locked a little tweaking solves it all. Ditto for the sail trim – tweaking is most interesting. One very experienced racer reported to us that it wasn’t until he had a Hydrovane that he finally discovered that he had always been over sheeting and over canvassed.

3. You state clearly that rattling at anchor or when motoring is normal but which components will wear because of the play in the system?

A: The big negative of leaving the rudder on when not in use is the constant wear of the shaft hole. If bits of sand or growth get in the bore hole the shaft will act as a grinder. As the hole gets larger the wear accelerates. Then it really rattles. The rest of the rattling of the drive train is not an issue. The plastic #19 Drive Sleeve and #25 Shaft Bottom Bearing are the other parts that wear and can be replaced after 10,000 miles or much more.

I am attaching a short video of “Henry the Navigator” in action. I get hypnotised watching the tiller and ratio rod assembly which seem to “float” in sync with the rudder Does everything look normal ?

A: Yes!

Thanks for your time.

Best regards
Richard Forrest