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Callisto 385

“The Hydrovane is like having a third crewmember onboard!”

@cutterbove_sailing_  Tony adjusting our Hydrovane and setting our course.

The Hydrovane is like having a third crewmember onboard! It’s an independent self-steering system, can be used as an emergency rudder (take note, anybody planning to pass through the Iberian orca territory!), and beats the autopilot hands down in many ways… it doesn’t use electricity, and it doesn’t freak out and kick you off in stronger winds or bigger seas.

We are very happy to have ours onboard.

Van De Stadt 36 - Video

“Win No. 1: We put a Hydrovane on our boat before we left.”

From @sailingsolsticetide

Sailing to Mexico – great read here: ⁠
https://currents.bluewatercruising.org/articles/rookie-mistakes-and-the-things-we-did-right/  ⁠

“Win No. 1: We put a Hydrovane on our boat before we left. This was possibly the best money we have ever spent on our boat. The unit is not inexpensive but it drove for us nearly the entire way down the west coast and on all our big crossings. If you are considering a self-steering vane – do it. We love our Hydrovane but of course there are many options – anything that lets you let go of the wheel (maybe get into a bit of shade) is a bonus – especially when it is not costing you precious power!!”⁠

⛵️VAN DE STADT 36⁠
📸 Hydrovane hard at work as the sun sets⁠

Hylas 46

“Lucy – the Hydrovane (self-steering gear) – is a superstar!”

“Lucy – the Hydrovane (self-steering gear) – is a superstar! She steered almost all the way from Kinsale (Ireland) across the Bay of Biscay to A Coruna in Spain, and kept on course in light winds, strong winds, flat seas and very lumpy seas! We’re so pleased to have her on board!”

Bavaria Vision 46 - VIDEO

“Bavaria Vision 46, Blur, close hauled on port tack with the Hydrovane on the ‘uphill’ side steering a perfectly straight course.⁠”

“Bavaria Vision 46, Blur, close hauled on port tack with the Hydrovane on the ‘uphill’ side steering a perfectly straight course.⁠

This was in 18kts of wind with one reef in the main and half a reef in the genoa.⁠

You can see the angle of heel is not excessive and so there was plenty of the vane’s rudder in the water.⁠

We had a speed through the water of between 6.7 and 7.1 kts.⁠

This was on the far-right setting which moves the rudder least. In other words steers just like a good helmsman…. hence the straight track and good boat speed.⁠

We found it pointed the boat up in the gusts just like a human would and came back on course as the gust eased.”⁠

Steel 30

“The Hydrovane performed wonderfully in conditions that my electronic pilot could not have controlled.”

“After a 120 mile cruise in 20 to 25 knot winds on the stern I couldn’t be more pleased with the pilot! The Hydrovane performed wonderfully in conditions that my electronic pilot could not have controlled. I installed the course correction system rope right next to the cabin entrance so I practically don’t even have to go out on deck to change course!”⁠

⛵️ Steel 30, July 2023⁠

Barbican 33 - Video

“It gives us peace of mind while sailing and we can no longer do without it.”⁠

“This week we sailed from Lemvig Denmark to Vlieland Netherlands. 270nm and a tough journey and without the Hydrovane it really wouldn’t have been possible for us. It gives us peace of mind while sailing and we can no longer do without it.”⁠

⛵️ Barbican 33⁠

Compromis 999

“130°, 10 knots apparent and the Hydrovane works just fine”

From: Till Poepperling
To: Will Curry
Date: 24 November 2023

130°, 10 knots apparent and the Hydrovane works just fine

[Video below attached]


From: Till Pöpperling
Sent:  November 22, 2023
To: Richard Minielly
Subject: Re: Congratulations on your new Hydrovane!

Hi Richard,

We tested the Hydrovane today and we’re very excited! It’s such a joy to be able to sail without the noise of an autopilot!

In particular, we were impressed with the intuitiveness of the operation and the sensitivity to fine tuning the course.

Also, we engaged the Hydrovane on a 140° apparent and it was able to steer even in very light winds. Very impressive too!

In the next days, we’ll have some longer downwind sails, we’re looking forward to it!

Cheers,

Till

Elan Impression 434

“So good to be able to sail wind-on-wing knowing the Hydrovane would help prevent an accidental gybe. And to be able to leave it “on” for days with zero power drain.”

From: Ben Steele
To: Will Curry
Date: 21 November 2023

I am very impressed with my Hydrovane – it’s an excellent piece of kit, solid and robust. It took some work to install but I received great support from Will and the team throughout. It’s first outing was a six day passage, mostly downwind. So good to be able to sail wind-on-wing knowing the Hydrovane would help prevent an accidental gybe. And to be able to leave it “on” for days with zero power drain.

Oyster Lightwave 48

“My Hydrovane has been absolutely magic, without it I wouldn’t have made it, since my autopilot broke somewhere in the Atlantic.”

 

From: Jørn Haga
Date: November 20, 2023
To: Richard Minielly
Subject: Primer for black rudder

Hi Richard,

I got a replacement rudder last February, delivered to Las Palmas, to my boat “Toyster”. I’m now in Trinidad, after the solo crossing and traveling the Brazilian coast from Rio.

My Hydrovane has been absolutely magic, without it I wouldn’t have made it, since my autopilot broke somewhere in the Atlantic.

My question is, what kind of anti fouling-primer do you recommend for the rudder?

Best regards

Jorn H


From: Richard Minielly
Date: November 20, 2023
To: Jørn Haga
Subject: Primer for black rudder

Hi Jorn,

Great to hear from you and congratulations on the crossing! Glad to hear your Hydrovane steered the way.

Do you mind if we post your email to our ‘True Stories’ page? (https://hydrovane.com/true-stories/) We really appreciate any feedback from customers. No worries if you prefer to stay private.

For painting the rudder, we recommend a hard (non-ablative) bottom paint. To prepare the rudder surface, you will need to roughly sand the nylon to create a rough surface on which the paint can bond. Technically, a plastic-specific primer should also be used to help the paint adhere. In practice, most of our customers skip this step as the surface area is so small that they can repaint if needed. Generally, a good surface preparation is sufficient.

Happy to answer any questions.

Richard Minielly

 

Contact

Hunter 44DS

“I used it from Yap to Palau after my autopilot broke, for 250 nautical miles. It was low wind the whole way (like no wind) so I motor sailed. I used the windvane as my main rudder, and the tiller pilot on that and it worked great.”

From: Brian Hathaway
Sent: 15 November 2023
To: Sarah Curry

[EDITOR’S NOTE: Transcribed from voice memo – may contain inaccuracies]

“Hey there, I hope you don’t mind me using the voice thing.

I’m actually fixing my autopilot as I’m just leaving Jakarta to head to Batam.

The nice thing about [a tiller pilot directly on the Hydrovane] as opposed to having spare autopilot parts is it’s a built autopilot. So, if your autopilot breaks, you’re not taking up a day of trying to reinstall things. You just drop this thing in and to make it run would probably take me about 45 seconds. And I will be back to having the autopilot run the boat so it’s a really nifty fix.

I used it from Yap to Palau after my autopilot broke, for 250 nautical miles. It was low wind the whole way (like no wind) so I motor sailed. I used the windvane as my main rudder, and the tiller pilot on that and it worked great.

The only caveat is since it’s a little bit smaller than the main rudder and the Ram of the ST2000, or 1000 only pushes out about ~six inches. It does take a little bit longer if there’s any swell to get back to where it’s supposed to be. It works fine; it gets there. You just have to be patient with it. But like I said: in 250 miles, I didn’t touch it one time. I set it one time heading straight down there and it was perfect for 2 days. It was great.”

Leopard 48

“The Hydrovane worked great!”

From: Mike
Sent: October 24, 2023
To: Richard Minielly | Hydrovane
Subject: Re: Hydrovane Operation Manual

[EDITOR’S NOTE: Mike sailed his Leopard 48 on a West-East Transatlantic crossing in 2023. He suffered a steering cable failure which rendered his electric autopilot useless, although he could still manually steer one rudder using the wheel. The Hydrovane steered the remainder of the journey into Portugal, upwind in heavy conditions.]

Hey Richard – the Hydrovane worked great! But I couldn’t get the Watt and Sea to stay locked down with the line provided…it would slip in the brake and then not provide output. I’m currently in Sevilla Spain, can you ship here? Or if not here, Gibraltar? I’d like to get the block and tackle system for the watt and sea, and i’m assuming that will come with a line for securing the generator in the down position that will hopefully work better? My current mailing address is [redacted].

Thanks,

Mike

 

Columbia 36

“Thanks for your help along the way. I’ve been enjoying the Hydrovane so far.”

From: Clay Dingledine
Sent: October 29, 2023
To: Richard Minielly
Subject: Re: Clay Dingledine – Columbia 36 – Hydrovane model VXA2D L(shaft length)/H/E

Richard,

Just wanted to provide an update since I recently returned from a trip.

I’m learning my Hydrovane better and better. It certainly does take some getting familiar with. I do use the vane declination adjustment, however as you mentioned just a little adjustment seems to desensitize the vane perfectly so far.

I used the portable power planer on the rudder (a great tool for that project fyi). My vibration was reduced by about 70%. I plan to continue planing and shaping the trailing edge to hopefully eliminate the vibration.

I never realized how much my stern “squats” or throws a wake when underway until evaluating the hydrovane. I could raise the shaft but my lower bracket is already only 2” from the bearing ring. So I’ll leave it be for now.

Thanks for your help along the way. I’ve been enjoying the Hydrovane so far. 

Kindly

Clay

Contact

Tayana 37

“Best investment ever!”

From: Bob Fitzgerald
Sent: 11 July 2023
To: Richard Minielly
Subject: Re: Alignment

Thanks again Richard for the quick response.  I depend on ‘Magellan’ when offshore as hand steering for days is quite tiring! Best investment ever!

Bob Fitzgerald
SV Freyja
Dighton MA

 


From: Bob Fitzgerald
Sent: 11 July 2023
To: Richard Minielly
Subject: Re: Alignment

Hi Richard,
As a follow up I am happy to report that I sailed from the Azores to Bermuda ( > 2,200 NM based on chasing the wind for a good part of the journey ) and from Bermuda to New England ( 700 NM ) and the Hydrovane worked perfectly.
Thanks again for the support!
Bob
SV Freyja
Dighton MA

More information on Bob’s sailing with his Hydrovane, ‘Magellan’, is available on his tracker: https://forecast.predictwind.com/tracking/display/SV_Freyja_1/

Contact

Hylas 46

“We lost our autopilot heading into Australia in gale-force winds. It was a treacherous approach navigating through the reef in a shipping lane and hand-steering was extremely challenging. With only a tiny bit of sail out the Hydrovane did a mighty job keeping us on course. “

From: Fiona Harwich <fharwich@gmail.com>
Sent: Tuesday, September 19, 2023 6:37 AM
To: sarah@hydrovane.com
Subject: Testimonials

Hi Sarah

We are sailing with the World ARC 2023 and our Hydrovane has been invaluable. We lost our autopilot heading into Australia in gale-force winds. It was a treacherous approach navigating through the reef in a shipping lane and hand-steering was extremely challenging. With only a tiny bit of sail out the Hydrovane did a mighty job keeping us on course. 

Pearson 39

“Heavy wind and seas, or otherwise, ‘Bob’ has exceeded my expectations.

The best part – ‘Bob’ doesn’t drink my beer.”

From: Jim MacDougall
Sent: September 13, 2023
To: Brooklyn Foster
Subject: Bob

[photo showing] Tiburon Ca. looking towards San Francisco.

After a month of non-stop work, I was (finally) underway. Jumping off the NW tip of Vancouver Island, my first planned landfall was San Francisco on the way to Mexico.

The new hydrovane was put into service (for the first time) in very light winds on a westerly Pacific swell.

My hydrovane, now affectionately now known as Bob, is remarkable.

Bob steers better than any person I know and he seems truly happy – never complains.

Heavy wind and seas, or otherwise, Bob has exceeded my expectations. 

The best part – Bob doesn’t drink my beer.

Thank you Hydrovane! An excellent product.

 

Jim MacDougall

 

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