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Beneteau 43

“…we think is probably the best investment we have made on our SV Vitamin Sea!”

From: Blanca Boira
Sent: December 18, 2022
To: Will Curry
Subject: Spare parts

Dear Will:

Hope you are well.

We installed our Hydrovane around 2 years ago. We are now 250 miles away from reaching Saint Lucia in the Caribbean, having departed from the Canary Islands. We are more than delighted to have the Hydrovane, it has given us such peace of mind, we think is probably the best investment we have made on our SV Vitamin Sea!

We would like to order some spare parts. Those are as follows:

– One Vane cover

– Two plastic bolts for the frame case cover

– Three locking Pins


Could you please advise how can we proceed?

Kind regards

Ramiro Salom

Allures 45

“I told the crew after it was fitted, ‘prepare to be amazed…’ and they were”

From: S/V Timeless Odyssey
Sent: December 19, 2022
To: Will & John Curry
Subject: Order a spare cover for a stubby

Hi Will/John

Greetings from the mid-Atlantic where Juluka our 5th crew member is steering the dream. I have to say the vane has been a real winner.  I had some new crew on out of Gib for Madeira. I know this was unconventional but we left Gib with some concerns about the Orca attacks, so we left the Hydrovane rudder off in case we had our rudders disabled by the Orcas.  We would then have a limp home option. The strategy was to get clear of the area where attacks were happening, and then think about putting the Hydrovane rudder on. I obviously would not recommend doing this at sea in normal circumstances but we were lucky. We have a sugar scoop stern and with safety lines on two of us got the rudder on more easily than we thought it would be.

Anyway, I told the crew after it was fitted, ‘prepare to be amazed,’ and they were.

Anyway, I would like to order spare vane cover for our Stubby vane. I am sure you know but for avoidance of doubt it is 50 x 100cm surface area.

Could it please be delivered to my daughters address [removed].

Thanks All and Merry Christmas



s/v Timeless Odyssey

Rhodes 43 Sloop

“It was our first experience installing and using a vane and I’m already in love!”

From: Mark Chew
Sent: Thursday, December 15, 2022 7:24 PM
To: Will Curry & Richard Minielly
Subject: Happy Customer

Just wanted to let you know that we fitted your Vane to our 65 year old boat in November and did our first serious cruise through the Bass Strait Island to Tasmania early this month. It was our first experience installing and using a vane and I’m already in love!

There is a short film of the trip here

It really is miraculous!

Feel free to use any of the footage plus I have plenty of stills if they are of any use to you.

Regards and Thanks


(FAIR WINDS Rhodes 1956)


Regatek 41

“Merci Hydrovane pour ces 15 000 mn parcourus ensemble!”

“Thank you Hydrovane for these 15,000nm traveled together!”

From: Jean-Eudes DE PARCEVAUX
Sent: December 10, 2022
To: John, Will, and Sarah Curry
Subject: Fwd: Hydrovane : besoin de votre témoignage

Notre premier chantier dans la préparation de notre voyage de 2 ans en voilier fût l’installation de l’Hydrovane. Quelques émotions nous envahissent lorsque nous dégainons la perceuse pour transpercer la jupe des 6 trous nécessaires à la fixation de ce nouvel équipier 😅 !

L’Hydrovane nous a accompagné fidèlement pendant notre voyage, particulièrement pendant nos traversées de l’Atlantique. Malgré notre
voilier rouleur et gîtard et nos 2,5m de tirant d’eau, il a toujours piloté le navire avec efficacité !

Et quelle tranquillité d’esprit !! Nous naviguions seulement à deux, alors c’est bien rassurant d’avoir cet équipier modèle avec nous. Dans les scénarios catastrophes à imaginer pour être le mieux préparés possible, l’Hydrovane en compense plusieurs.Consommation énergétique trop importante ?
Problème de pilote automatique ? Plus d’électricité à bord ? Problème de barre ou de safran ? L’Hydrovane prendra le relais pour éviter que le rêve devienne un cauchemar.

Merci Hydrovane pour ces 15 000 mn parcourus ensemble !

Jean-Eudes & Pauline

English translation:

Our first project in the preparation of our 2-year trip on a sailboat was the installation of the Hydrovane. Some emotions overtook us when we brought out the drill to pierce the hull with the 6 holes necessary to fix this new teammate 😅!

The Hydrovane accompanied us faithfully during our trip, particularly during our crossings of the Atlantic. Despite our rolling sailboat and heeling and our 2.5m draft, it has always steered the ship efficiently!

And what peace of mind!! There were only two of us sailing, so it’s very reassuring to have this model crew member with us. In the disaster scenarios to be imagined in order to be as prepared as possible, the Hydrovane compensates for several of them. Too much energy consumption? Autopilot problem? More electricity on board? Shaft or rudder problem? The Hydrovane will take over to prevent the dream from becoming a nightmare.

Thank you Hydrovane for these 15,000nm traveled together!

Jean-Eudes & Pauline


Beneteau Oceanis 423 Clipper

“It performs even better in very light winds than electronic system.”

Sent: December 11, 2022
To: Richard Minielly
Subject: Re: Hydrovane installation Gilles Clement Nymphea

Hi Richard,

My Hydrovane is installed and tested during a 18 hours sailing.

It exceeds my expectations.

It performs even better in very light winds than electronic system.



On 12 Dec 2022, Richard Minielly wrote :

Hi Gilles,

We’re so thrilled to hear this! Thank you for reaching out. Do you mind if we post your email to our True Stories page?

As an installation note, please remember to check the tightness of all the mounting bolts now that you have gone for a test sail. These should be checked periodically and before large passages. The bolts should be “snug, plus ¼ turn”.

Fair winds!

Richard Minielly

Sent: December 12, 2022
To: Richard Minielly
Subject: Re: Hydrovane installation Gilles Clement Nymphea

No problem to post my e-mail.

What train my decision to install an Hydrovane?

The story is that I was on passage between Panama and Marquesas Islands single handed (68 years old) in last June when my Auto pilot broke down at 1000 miles from arrival… So, 11days at the helm with 4 days of heavy weather and sea conditions.

Once is enough!




“Rounding Barbuda at the end, we were able to make the necessary course corrections (probably like 30degrees) entirely on the Hydrovane and sailtrim.”

From: Ludwig Hoogstoel
Sent: December 05, 2022
To: Sarah Curry
Subject: RE: HOOGSTOEL – Testimonial Etap 46 DS

Hello Sarah,

10K nm these last 12 months since we got the Hydrovane installed. On this last trip, from Hampton VA to Antigua we were VERY happy we had it as we had some issues with the upper bearing of the main rudder. So we managed the main rudder (which stayed functional for the trip) as to alleviate all pressure on it and had the Hydrovane do all the work, as is more or less our habit on ocean passages.

One remark/question though : we notice that the housing which needs to be 90degrees of the centerline of the boat keeps ‘shifting’.  We had that when we arrived after the Transat, then again when we arrived in New England for the summer. Now on this last passage, we made sure, prior to departure that we had ‘aligned’ everything as per your instructions and tightened everything we could possibly tighten. The result was indeed that we had our best sail yet with the Hydrovane. Rounding Barbuda at the end, we were able to make the necessary course corrections (probably like 30degrees) entirely on the Hydrovane and sailtrim. We thought we had this finally figured out. Then, upon arrival, when we checked the housing…it had shifted again. So, despite that shift, the Hydrovane performed better than ever.

Any input ? Should we not care as much about this “90 degree to centerline” ?

Best regards


From: Richard Minielly
Sent: December 5, 2022
To: ‘ludwig hoogstoel’
Subject: RE: HOOGSTOEL – Testimonial Etap 46 DS

Hi Ludwig,

Great to hear from you. Sarah and Will pass on their best, and we all congratulate you on the incredible distance traveled in the past year!

Your story is an amazing testament to your abilities as sailors and the Hydrovane. Do you mind if we add it to our True Stories page on our website?

Regarding the issue of the Drive Unit rotating, it sounds like there might be some residue or lubricating substance sitting between the Drive Unit and the shaft. I recommend removing the drive unit, wiping the shaft and the inside of the Drive Unit with alcohol or another quick evaporating solvent, then re-attaching the drive unit. You shouldn’t need to tighten the bolts extremely tight, as the unit should have a tight friction fit on the shaft assembly. We recommend going only to “snug, plus ¼ turn” on the bolts.

Another good idea is to replace the M10 nyloc nuts. Repeated tightening and loosening will wear down the nylon and make the nuts more likely to come loose again. By removing the old nuts, cleaning the threads, and replacing with a new nut, you should reduce the risk of loosening.

When adjusting the bolts at all, please be very careful to always adjust evening, keeping the gap in the casting equal, and not applying excessive force. If the casting is stressed unevenly it can crack.

If you are in good service, please send me some photos of your unit showing the upper portion and where it connects to the shaft. This can be helpful to spot any more obvious issues.


Richard Minielly


Oyster 545

“The vane performs great”

From: Dr Anthony Freeman
Sent: November 01, 2022
To: Richard Minielly
Subject: RE: Hydrovane spares

Hi Richard

We are only as far as Reunion [from Queensland, Australia] but leaving for Richards Bay tomorrow. The vane performs great and I have learnt a lot from other users. We are shorthanded and very dependent on it hence making sure I have plenty of spares. [Editor’s note: parts order details and shipping information have been removed]

Thanks, Tony

Gunfleet 43

“Watching the vane dip from side to side whilst Skyfall responds like an obedient dog, I am in awe of the ingenuity of past generations, unable to utilise modern electronics.”

Posted 21 November 2022 to

A Question of Balance

Judo is a sport all about balance. A judicious touch, push or pull, executed in the right place at the right moment, can cause huge weights (your opponent) to move in ways they least intended. I was reminded of this by the recent Banksy artworks which appeared in Ukraine after the liberation of Kherson. Apart from the obvious symbolism, the picture of  ‘little guy throwing much bigger guy’  beautifully illustrates what timing and balance can achieve.

Which is perhaps a tenuous introduction to a piece about the Hydrovane self-steering on Skyfall. Let me explain. Clearly, if you want to carry your home around the world with you, it is going to be heavy. Skyfall is (loaded) the best part of 16 tonnes. And to move such a heavy object, as quickly as Skyfall sails, requires quite some power. The power comes from the sails. I forget the actual square metres of sail but the photo below makes the point.

So what if someone told you that they could build a system where the power to control all this weight and all this sail, would come from a small vane with about half a square metre of area? “Impossible!”, I hear at least some of you exclaim. But it is possible: with our Hydrovane system.

There is a small vane which is angled into the wind. The vane is fixed to the boat so if the boat changes course then the angle of the vane to the wind changes. The wind now exerts more pressure to one side (or the other), pushing the vane down. This force is transmitted, via a gearbox, to move an auxiliary rudder mounted below.  But the force from the vane is tiny. Firstly the area of the vane is small. But, more importantly, you need a rudder correction with a course change less than 10degrees. So there is a sine(10 degrees) multiplication factor too – which is also  small. It ought not to work but, of course, it does. It is all a question of balance.

I like the Hydrovane because it forces you to set your boat up correctly. A prerequisite for success is that the boat, without any external influence(i.e. a wave) or correction from the Hydrovane, is set up to sail straight. The sails need to be properly trimmed. You must reef down in time to prevent excessive heel and weather helm. In other words, keep everything in balance. In this case, a very small rudder correction is all that is needed to gain complete control.

The trip from Lanzarote to Cape Verde is the first time we have really tried to use the Hydrovane. As we sailed past Fuerteventura I played with the new toy. It would not matter (I thought) if I messed up here, there was no one watching. However, in today’s world, Big Brother is never far away. Or in this case Big Sister! Sheila had been following our progress on “Why is your course so wobbly?”, she innocently inquired by text.

I like the Hydrovane for it’s simplicity and effectiveness. Watching the vane dip from side to side whilst Skyfall responds like an obedient dog, I am in awe of the ingenuity of past generations, unable to utilise modern electronics.

I also like the Hydrovane because it requires no electrical power. Although an electronic autopilot is quite efficient with no waves, on  an  ocean passage with wind and swell, it can easily consume 4A. Using the Hydrovane means there is circa 100AH less power to generate daily.

But the main reason I like the Hydrovane is that it provides a backup. Sure, it is not as efficient as a modern autopilot. And you would never use it if you wanted to push for maximum speed. But our electronic autopilot has failed twice in 6 years. If that should happen on a long ocean passage without others on  board to share the handsteering, then life would be tough on the skipper. Now we have a second simple, ‘agricultural’ system where it is hard to imagine a failure.

Apart from playing with the Hydrovane, the passage to Cape Verde has been largely uneventful. We have had all strengths of wind, varying from drifting along in sunshine to hunkered down, sailing with only a reefed genoa. But we managed to eat well, sleep reasonably and Annick’s new bucket remains unchristened. Annick is currently writing a post to elaborate further.

Feeling 1350

Just wanted to say how impressed we are with the Hydrovane steering in both light and fresh airs, dead runs and close reaching.

Tony Bale on Whatsapp, 11 November 2022:

Hi Richard, just a little Hydrovane update. Scáthach and crew are currently in the Canary Islands and heading to the Caribbean this winter. Just wanted to say how impressed we are with the Hydrovane steering in both light and fresh airs, dead runs and close reaching. We just let it get on with it. All best, Tony

Gaia 36 - Tapio Lehtinen

“Hydrovane is great! Just completed a gybe with the biggest spinnaker and a full main in a fresh F4 with boat under full control.”

@ggr2022 on 20 September 2022:

Sep 20, 2022, 6:10 PM 06: #TapioLehtinen (Finland) – Gaia 36 “Asteria”: Hydrovane is great! Just completed a gybe with the biggest spinnaker and a full main in a fresh F4 with boat under full control. Wasn’t doable 4 yrs ago.

Taling 33 - EMERGENCY - We lost our steering

“We lost our steering! Our quadrant broke…”

@sailingblackmoon on August 30, 2022:

We lost our steering! Our quadrant brok -this triangle connects the steering wheel with the rudder. This could have gone wrong in so so so many ways.

Unfortunately at that moment we were at the Tuamotus – the most remote islands you can imagine…

Fortunately we discovered it in time and in calm conditions. Also we are so luckely to have a Hydrovane – this selfsteering system has his own rudder. So while sailing we always fixate our main rudder and let the hydrovane steer – which adapt it self on the wind.

We even used it as an emergency rudder while motoring. Also we attached a poke on the little helm to steer more controlled to anchor. We fixated the crack with a piece of stainless steel and the quadrant itself with a vicegrip. Kudos to Niels for macguyvering this all 💪

This way we made it safely to Tahiti to fix or even replace the quadrant. After 3 weeks back and forth with several machine shops there was no way to make a new one, but finally we found someone willing to weld it and he did a super job! Now it’s time for the big test 🤞

Hamble 50

“I wish all the others equipments on board were of the same brilliant efficiency”

From: Pierre-Henry Mahul
Sent: August 25, 2022
To: Will Curry
Subject: Hydrovane

Hello John, Will, Sarah, Brooklyn and all your team

This is to report about the HV and the W&S I have installed on my new Hamble 50 Whisper of Michaella last week in Guernsey.

Some stories have a happy end, our one had a happy start with a two days delivery to Guernsey which I couldn’t think was possible. Note that UPS is the carrier described by the locals as to be the most effective on the island. They delivered on behalf of DLC right down to Victoria marina and the driver let me use her trolley to bring the parcels to the boat. With 107kgs of stuff to carry when you are alone, you do appreciate this.

First of all you have now a very good and helpful man on Guernesey island with David Le Cras of DLC marine equipment. He supplied and installed my new Garmin electronics to my full satisfaction and despite being very busy he took the time to make all the wiring of the W&S for me while I was making very good use of his two trainees/apprentices, mostly Charley, to install the W&S ad the HV whose seven packs (very well made) were looking impressive taking the most part of my deck space. Charley is now proud to be the HV specialist in the island.

This job was done in two days with no major trouble except that I could not find a 50mm pipe on the island, the one I have been sold for a 50 was too big so I decided to use the small tubes of the brakets as a template and it worked good this way. Fortunately the transom of Whisper of Michaella is nearly flat and the sanding I did start in order to gain half a millimeter on the H bracket mounting plate proved worse than the original so I went back to the original un-sanded socket, thanks for supplying two. For the A brackets I did not use the mounting pads as they fitted nicely and this allows to have the control unit mounted closer inboard to the cockpit always better for safety.

After two days of intensive work the beast was looking great in the starboard side of the boat … when I realized that this was the side of the radar mast that had been dismounted by Dave working on it at the time of my decision… too late !

The next day, actually last Friday the 19th, I was due for a trail from Guernsey to Cadiz Spain about 1200nm to bring the boat to the yard where she is going to be refitted. It was at the same time the opportunity for me to discover her singlehanded. I left at 7pm with 25knt of wind against me. As we all know close hauled is the favorite situation for vanes and I was happy to discover the HV working perfectly since the first second despite a very powerful boat with a huge mainsail. Since then I am sailing with a growing admiration for your very fine engineering kit which is able to cope with a 165° route with 25knts of real wind 18 apparent without a gybe. I only discovered the far right position yesterday … what a power she gives !

I am now totally confident in the HV, I have always been doubting about her self steering strength or lack of it reported to me by an English guy with a Beneteau 57 who was altogether not unhappy with the HV Now I do not doubt any more in her possibilities and I am eager to be in the GSC in the screaming fifties planning with her, by the way she is Brigitte, and the AP in second as you suggest. In fact during those past days it appeared to me that the HV is enhancing the sheer pleasure I have in  sailing which is all about fine tuning the boat, the rigging, the sails, the rudder to make the best of the elements.

I wish all the others equipments on board were of the same brilliant efficiency. thank you guys !

About the W &S it is my second and I had many troubles making work the first one on my trimaran but the factory had been here to help me, I am happy that  this time it worked perfectly since the beginning. In this boat its noise is hopefully far less aggressive than it was in my little tri, or could it be my ears with age ? Their instruction manual is nothing compared to yours and I although I mounted it 300mm into the water on the opposite tack it is very often cavitating so I will have to put it 100mm deeper. Their mounting kit proved useless as its does not take into account the transom curvature, I had one mounting braket superbly made to measure in s/s by Nigel in Guernsey (see Dave)

Well you are the first mail I am sending while I get some network in front of Peniche Portugal as the Iridium and its related software is no HV and these equipments  does need more running-in time that I had to give them

all the best

Pierre Henry Mahul

Malö 47

“I have to tell you it has been absolutely brilliant and has coped well in most conditions”

From: Belinda Vernon
Sent: July 19, 2022
To: Will Curry
Subject: Advice please – Chili III

Hi Will,

You may not remember, but we fitted a Hydrovane to our Malo 47 last winter. I have to tell you it has been absolutely brilliant and has coped well in most conditions.

I wonder if you could give me some advice on fitting the remote control line. Is it possible to rotate the ‘heading knob’ so that it is aft of the shaft inside of to the side of the shaft?  If so, I guess I simply loosen the bolt at the bottom of the photo and turn? The reason for doing this is to get a better angle into the fair leads for the remote control line.

Also – am I missing a nut on the ‘Axis knob’ and am I missing a screw into the ‘heading knob’? If so, please can you tell me the specifications for both.

I can send more photos if helpful.

Many thanks,

Belinda Vernon

From: Richard Minielly
Sent: July 2022
To: Belinda Vernon
Subject: RE: Advice please – Chili III

Hi Belinda,

Thanks for reaching out! We’re so happy to hear that you’ve been getting good performance from the vane. Do you mind if we post your email to our Testimonials Page? If you are not comfortable, no worries.

Yes, you can rotate the Worm Box Casting around so that it faces any direction. Just loosen the Worm Box Stud Set (Part #88) and rotate the casting. This is likely easier said than done. The Stud Set is secured using medium strength Loctite, and will be firmly held in place by salt buildup. I recommend pouring hot water on the casting before attempting to loosen the stud, and maybe applying some penetrating fluid beforehand. I have attached the recommended torque settings for when it is re-tightened.

You are indeed missing a nut from your Vane Axis Bolt Set! That will be a standard 316/A4 stainless-steel M10 Nyloc nut. Its purpose is to keep the Axis knob from flying off. I’m happy to include one free of charge in your next parts order, or you can source one locally or from your own spares.

The Grooved Wheel (Heading Knob) looks like it has the necessary screw inside it. There is a small M10 set screw that fits in that hole and holds the Wheel onto the Worm. It usually sits nearly a centimetre recessed into the hole, as it appears to be now.

Happy to answer any questions. We’re also keen to see any photos or hear any tales of Hydrovane use on the High Seas!

Fair winds,

Richard Minielly


Nautitech 46 Open - Catamaran

“We were very pleased with the Hydrovane which was our first choice for steering on the long passages.”

From: Robin Gimson
Sent: July 12, 2022
To: Richard Minielly
Subject: RE: ARC 2021 Pre-Departure Hydrovane Consultation

Hello Richard,

Thanks for the offer [of a pre-departure zoom call] below which I didn’t feel was necessary for us as we had used our Hydrovane extensively on the way from UK to Las Palmas.

Eight months later, we have completed our journey around the Atlantic and returned via the Azores to UK. We were very pleased with the Hydrovane which was our first choice for steering on the long passages.

Please could you advise the best way to clean H. as he has become encrusted with spots of white salts on the castings and a white haze on the S.S. tubes. I’ve tried water an vinegar so far. Without much effect.

See photos attached.


Robin Gimson

Our Time

From: Richard Minielly
Sent: July 12, 2022
To: Robin Gimson
Subject: RE: ARC 2021 Pre-Departure Hydrovane Consultation

Hi Robin,

Thanks so much for reaching out. Testimonials from larger catamarans such as your Nautitech 46 Open are invaluable to us. Would it be ok if we posted your email and photos to our website? If you are not comfortable, no worries.

Some amount of white spotting is normal as the salt build up and white-looking mild aluminum corrosion permeate the anodized coating. To clean, first use fresh water and a mild boat soap. Then, you can use a fine grit, gentle abrasive pad, lubricated liberally with WD40. The Blue “No-scratch” Scotch-Brite pads work well, or a gentle dish-washing pad. Please avoid the “Heavy Duty” scouring pads as these will wear away the hard anodized coating.

After a very liberal spray-down of the entire unit with WD-40, wipe away the excess, allow to dry, and then apply a corrosion inhibitor such as T9, CorrosionX or CRC. This should keep the castings looking much better.

As general maintenance whenever possible, we recommend rinsing the entire unit fresh water after every passage – or essentially whenever there is water to spare – and washing the unit with mild soap and water every few months. After washing, we recommend dousing the entire unit in WD40, letting it sit before wiping away the excess, and then applying a corrosion inhibitor.

Please don’t hesitate to reach out at any point with any operational or technical questions, or any parts orders.

Best regards,

Richard Minielly

Beneteau Oceanis 461 - EMERGENCY

“The Hydrovane quite literally saved us and our boat.”

@svleeann on 29 May 2022
The Hydrovane is by far the best investment we have made on LeeAnn so far. It really saved our bacon out there. If we didn’t have it, I honestly don’t know what we would’ve done.  
As you know, our rudder tube failed while at sea and our only option was to drop our main rudder as it was causing too much stress on the tube. Then sail home 550 miles with the Hydrovane rudder only. The Hydrovane quite literally saved us and our boat.  
We specifically decided on the Hydrovane because of the fact that it has it’s own rudder!! There are many windvanes out there but a lot  of them work by steering the boats own rudder. With the Hydrovane, you lock off your wheel and the Hydrovane does all the work, saving wear and tear on your boats steering system which is a huge plus!
We bought ours at the Seattle boat show in 2019 from Will and Sarah Curry, the Hydrovane company’s owner/ operators. Their customer service was incredible from the ordering process to installation help and advice on use. We ended up becoming great friends!
We finally met up with Will and Sarah  in Barra de Navidad Mexico a couple months ago while they were cruising on their boat. Will even made it a point to come over and make sure our Hydrovane was in correct adjustment. The one piece of advice he gave us that we wish we would’ve taken was, GET A TILLER PILOT! Even if you have a great electric autopilot and backups, that isn’t going to help you if you lose your rudder. Jamie and I had to handsteer the Hydrovane rudder 12 hrs a day each for 5 days. Not fun! A tiller pilot could’ve done most of that work for us.
We will never go to sea again without a Hydrovane, tiller pilot for the vane, and a small drogue. (A drogue to aid in rudderless steering). We put together a makeshift drogue and bridal (pics 5 &6) and it really helped but the real thing would’ve been better 😉 Will and Sarah were there for us with advice on our sat phone the whole way home on our rudderless journey.  We owe a big THANK YOU to our good friends Will, Sarah and the Hydrovane company.  If you are on the fence on a self steering windvane,  get a Hydrovane. You won’t regret it!! #hydrovane
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