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“Without our ‘happy wanderer’ we would be bereft!!!”
“…thanks again – it’s an amazing piece of wizardry!”
From: Paul and Harriet
Sent: Tuesday, March 11, 2008 5:56 PM
Just to say our hydrovane is fantastic – thank you! We have sailed 7000 miles so far and now mid Pacific. Without our ‘happy wanderer’ we would be bereft!!!
Kind regards Paul and Harriet Hayes of Anahi
….and a later response:
No problem with the website, we are a Kaufman 47 centre cockpit nearly 25 years old now. We call the vane ‘Happy Wanderer’…..
If you care to look at my blogs click on web diary and then Anahi you get lots of mentions especially on the Atlantic passage I think and some photos too. I can’t send photos from sea but if you can’t find any let me know and I will send when we get to Marquesas. Try Portabelo to Panama Canal blog where we had to use the rudder of the vane when our steering broke down in the middle of the busiest shipping lane! Feel free to quote….. thanks again – it’s an amazing piece of wizardry!
“Portugal to the Bahamas 99.5% under Hydrovane…much impressed the crew!”
From: Alan Taylor
Sent: February-03-08 9:13 AM
To: John Curry
Hi team hope all is well with you. Just back home for a month having sailed Bellamanda from Portugal to the Bahamas 99.5% under Hydrovane…much impressed the crew!
I think my Hydrovane must have done about 40,000 miles now and not a part replaced, not much else on the boat does that!
Can you supply me with a spare blade cover please? (Red with or without the advert!) I need it this month here in the UK, thanks. Let us know cost etc.
“It is true, it is a lot easier than one actually imagines. It is also an effective way to impress new crews.”
From: Abdul Alkhulaifi
Sent: January-20-08 11:44 AM
To: Will Curry
Subject: RE: Hydrovane Cleaning
I attach 4 photographs of the Hydrovane on my Hallberg-Rassy 342. The boat is called ‘Aagool’ which is the Arabic name for “Camelthorn” which is a small desert bush ( 2 – 3 foot in Ht) with lots of thorns (surprise, surprise). It has a beautiful pink flower when the going is good, that is when it rains for more than one day a year (that is the desert for you).
The boat is moored at the Ritz Carlton Marina, Doha, Qatar.
The hydrovane performs superbly and is very easy to put into action. The literature that came with it says that most people are surprised by how easy it is to operate once they get their hands on it. It is true, it is a lot easier than one actually imagines. It is also an effective way to impress new crews. I usually wait for their eyes to widen, and the jaws to drop and then tell them to go and make the tea “while I watch my little gadget here”.
“The Hydrovane has never protested, it has kept the boat on course in light and strong winds dead aft running under parasail and in several severe gales on the way back to England.”
From: Eric Faber
Date: Tue, January 15, 2008 1:59 pm
To: Will Curry
Good to meet you at the London Boatshow. As promised I attach a picture of Luna Quest, a Rival 38, sailing off Dominica. I bought the Hydrovane in 2005, had it shipped to Rhodes (a Greek island off the Turkish coast) and had it fitted in Turkey. It has steered the boat from Turkey to France, to Gibraltar and the Canary Islands, across to St Lucia up to Antigua then back via Bermuuda to the Azores and Falmouth in England.
The Hydrovane has never protested, it has kept the boat on course in light and strong winds dead aft running under parasail and in several severe gales on the way back to England. The Rival 38 is a semi-long/semi fin keel sloop designed by Peter Brett in 1970. She is strongly built with a displacement of 7.8 tons and superbly balanced. On the wind she will sail by herself.
I am extremely pleased with my investment. Your father may remember that I came to see him about changing the shaft from a long length to a medium length, which he recommended to me in the first place.
If there is anything that I can do to help promote Hydrovane, please let me know.
W. Eric Faber
http://blog.mailasail.com/eric [has now circumnavigated]
“Very elegant design and quality construction. I’m thrilled.”
From: Jock Walker
Sent: Sunday, October 28, 2007 11:02 PM
To: John Curry
Subject: Compliments & a Question
I’m impressed! The quality of the Hydrovane was immediately apparent when I opened the crates. After installing it on my Swan 41, my first sail with it proved its worth. Very elegant design and quality construction. I’m thrilled.
Nauticat 40 Ketch
…responding to a reference request by a fellow Nauticat 40 owner.
“I still believe purchasing the Hydrovane is still one of the best decisions I have made. It is an expensive piece of kit, for sure, but worth it!”
From: Ronald Hiemann
Sent: Tuesday, May 27, 2008 5:01 PM
To: ‘Steve Offshore’
Subject: RE: Hydrovane
I still believe purchasing the Hydrovane is still one of the best decisions I have made. It is an expensive piece of kit, for sure, but worth it!
There is nothing much new to add to what I have stated on the web page. I have continued to use the vane as often as possible and it works as advertised. I use it whenever possible. I prefer the silence of the vane as opposed to the humming and buzzing of the autopilot.
I do have both vanes. The original and the stubby. Last year, I used the stubby most of the time. It is easier to clear the mizzen boom with it. Performance wise, I see no difference.
s/v Bremer Speck
From the website of German Yacht Balimara
“The Hydrovane was very easy to adjust and was running superb from the first moment without any problems.”
The Hydrovane self steering system was installed. The delivery was without any problems directly to Germany. Our impression on the Hydrovane team – is competence. The whole “deal” starting with questionnaire, offer, order, delivery and after sales service is absolutely first class.
The whole lot arrived in 5 boxes, packed as if they would travel 5 times around the world under worst conditions, what I want to say is, it cannot be better protected! The packaging material could be used to build houses.
In the meantime the Hydrovane is installed – the instructions need a bit more than English for beginners, but with some more time and careful reading and following the procedure, the vane gear is assembled. The base connections to the stern need the most care, because that is the most important point, to get it right. The rest of the assembly is not too difficult, as long as you follow the instructions.
Our holidays from 27th of May to 26th of June 2005 was the main trial and test for our “Minna”, so we call her. We started from Fécamp to Poole, after that we went to Guernsey, Sark, Jersey, Iles Chaussey, Sark, Alderney, Cherbourg and via St.Vaast back to Fécamp.
The Hydrovane was very easy to adjust and was running superb from the first moment without any problems. We have had a lot of opportunities to test her on all courses and wind between 2 and 6 ft with some gusts. I can only write the very best about our “Minna“ and recommend it to the whole sailing community.
Bruce Roberts 44 - Quadrant Failure
“At 0900hrs this morning the main steering quadrant failed–it sheared in two places and is need of a good welder. We rigged up the emergency tiller which we centred, and are steering using the Hydrovane.”
“Hydrovane saved our Bacon!”
At 0900hrs this morning the main steering quadrant failed–it sheared in two places and is need of a good welder. We rigged up the emergency tiller which we centred, and are steering using the Hydrovane. This works very well considering–we are using the manual bilge pump handle as a tiller and we’re steering from the “hen bench”. It’s much the same as steering a small outboard motor in a dinghy. Before the incident,we were having a fine sail straight downwind before a 25 kt following breeze,
but have reverted to motoring for ease of handling.
So we are now proceeding directly to Atuona for repairs, and expect to arrive tomorrow in the late afternoon. Fatu Hiva will have to wait for another time.
There are a numerous things that are on our side. Firstly, the Hydrovane makes steering much more manageable, instead of trying to steer from the bowels of the vessel. Secondly, we are only 145nm from a safe harbour, and most probably a good welder/mechanic. Thirdly, and most importantly, the failure occurred well away from land where we could sort things out in an orderly fashion, trying different steering techniques until we found the best combination. And lastly, after a wicked night of strong squalls, the skies cleared this morning in fine tradewind fashion. Landfall tomorrow morning.
The Crew of the Goodship MADHATTER
Sent: Monday, June 04, 2007 5:38 PM
To: John Curry
Subject: Hydrovane saved our Bacon!
Just a quick note. We are in unbelievably lush Hiva Oa, 22 days from the Galapagos. WOW! Anyway, the last day, our steering quadrant broke. We don’t know why. We were able to fit the emergency tiller, and lock the main rudder. We then steered Madhatter from the after deck using the Hydrovane for the last 30 hours into Hiva Oa. Another success story for your product!
I am however worried about flexing of the transom at the attachment point of the lower Hydrovane mount, which was quite notible hand steering. I think the solution will be an A-bracket.
Another plus- our bilge pump handle fit perfectly into the Hydrovane tiller, allowing us to extend the tiller, which was critical to successful hand steering. Was this planned?
We will write in more detail later.
John’s brother Pat on Hydrovane’s emergency tiller – saved them from untold misery when main rudder quadrant broke 145 miles from the Marquesas.
Bruce Roberts 44 - New Rudder
“In my view, the new rudder is a real winner.”
“Ernie the vane has developed a new self confidence that is quite amazing! It’s as if he’s saying ‘OK guys, I’ve got new muscle now, just click my knob, and leave the rest to me…’ “
Roberts 44 in San Francisco and Morro Bay, California, 2007
John, I have waited to write you back in order to accumulate more experience with the new rudder. There were two changes I made to the Hydrovane in Ecuador:
- The new rudder, and
- I made up a 1.25 inch thick teak spacer for the lower vane mounting. This brought the unit into true vertical, whereas before it was “leaning” forward at the bottom.
In my view, the new rudder is a real winner. We are now 6 days and 800 miles out of the Galapagos en route to Fatu Hiva. As well, we used the vane on the 500 mile sail from Ecuador to the Galapagos.
To back up a little, since we left Vancouver, the vane has performed generally well. There were two situations where the boat would occasionally “get away” from the vane: light air downwind sailing, and broad reaching in boisterous conditions. Usually, a little attention to sail balancing would solve the problem. The new rudder seems much more forgiving of boat imbalance. It seems more powerful. It has handled everything to date with aplomb, including the above two problem situations. In fact, Ernie the vane has developed a new self confidence that is quite amazing! It’s as if he’s saying “OK guys, I’ve got new muscle now, just click my knob, and leave the rest to me…”. We know when we turn things over to him, we no longer have to worry about boat control.
To answer your questions:
1. Downwind, light apparent wind: there is not enough power to turn the rudder with the knob on middle setting even with the vane vertical. However, with the knob far left and the vane vertical there is plenty of power- a benefit I think of the new bigger, better balanced rudder.
2. Heavy weather- no problem controlling the boat now. It’s best with the knob in middle setting, and vane inclined about 70%. For example, right now we are broad reaching in 15-18 knots on the port quarter, confused sea, and Ernie is handling it beautifully.
Anyway, it’s a glorious Tradewind day here at 4 43 S, 103 13 W. The sun is out, the SE wind is blowing 15-18, and Madhatter is romping west under genoa & mizzen. Flying fish everywhere. Yesterday we were becalmed and we all went for a swim. Water 27C (remember Pendrell Sound?- same temp). It was eerie, floating there looking down into the deep blue of the abyss. What a neat experience.
We have used our light air gennaker more than we ever thought we would. What a great sail. Many times we would have gone nowhere without it. A last minute purchase by Linda – thank the wind gods she did. Tell everyone at Bluewater to have one on board.
The Galapagos was incredible. Hope to see you guys and tell about it.
Love to all the Currys,
John & Linda
'Henry the Navigator'
“…the wind vane… just kept putting us back on course every time the waves knocked us off.”
“We are sure now that the investment has been worth it.”
It was pretty breezy and Mike wasn’t sure he would be able to set up the Hydrovane properly at first but it was amazing!
Pat certainly couldn’t have handled the tiller in the very rough seas and even Mike would have struggled, but the wind vane (or Henry – the Navigator – as we have named him) just kept putting us back on course every time the waves knocked us off. We are sure now that the investment has been worth it. Everyone we have spoken to has said it’s like having another crew member on board.
From the blog of El Lobo, 39 ft Samson C-Bird Ferro cement junk-rigged schooner built in 1971. She has already been to the Caribbean and the Med and Baltic with her previous owner.
Malo 39 - ARC
“In the Atlantic we rated our Hydrovane as probably the most important bit of kit on board…”
“Without the Hydrovane, we would have been forced to steer by hand, because the autopilot on its own was simply overwhelmed.”
From: nicola & terry
Sent: Thursday, August 16, 2007 9:25 AM
To: John Curry
Subject: Hydrovane replacement vane cover
I purchased a Hydrovane for Flinesse, our Malo 39, in the summer of 2004, with the ARC 2006 in mind. We’re now back in the Solent after a trip of 16000 miles which spanned the UK to Greece, the Atlantic ARC crossing, Caribbean cruising from Grenada to the Bahamas, followed by a return to the UK through Bermuda and the Azores on ARC Europe .
The return Atlantic legs were particularly tough because of the recent, continuous unsettled conditions. In the Atlantic we rated our Hydrovane as probably the most important bit of kit on board, especially when having to deal with winds that were above Force 5, often gusting to F8; on the last leg from the Azores to Falmouth we had these conditions the entire time and it would have been nice to have had even one day when the wind was less than 20 kts!
Without the Hydrovane, we would have been forced to steer by hand, because the autopilot on its own was simply overwhelmed. The crew were grateful from ever being forced to leave cover and sit at the wheel exposed to the strong wind and occasional torrential rain, not forgetting the spray, waves and rogue breakers. I was very pleased with the equipment.
I found it could even cope on a dead-run in gusty winds, with a quartering, destabilizing swell, if I used it alongside the electric autopilot. With this configuration, even in these conditions, our fears about an involuntary gybe disappeared. As our voyage was 15 months long, the vane cover suffered from exposure to UV; the bright scarlet faded to pink and the top of the cover split as it is under tension; out in the Atlantic, where the winds were so strong, the vane occasionally flopped onto the ensign jackstaff and eventually it suffered a tear; repair was simple using duck tape! I now need to replace the cover and to match the boat colour scheme, navy would be my preference.
Best wishes TerryContact
John Illingworth 44 Staysail Schooner
“The Hydrovane at a guess has done 20,000 miles now, and still going strong. Close to the land or in tricky conditions it of course requires supervision, but out in a trade wind might not need to be touched for days.”
From: Joe Aston
Sent: Saturday, August 04, 2007 2:36 AM
I attach a couple of photos of ‘Anna M’ setting out on that big cruise. The Hydrovane at a guess has done 20,000 miles now, and still going strong. Close to the land or in tricky conditions it of course requires supervision, but out in a trade wind might not need to be touched for days.
The boat is about 15 tons and maybe it is slightly light for her, especially when the wind is light, but it is invaluable nonetheless. Of course John Illingworth saw to it that she is very well balanced in the first place. The vane works better when the wind is strong. I like the term a Frenchman used for it: ‘un régulateur d’allure’.
I only sail alone when I have to, but have done for example Trinidad/Barbados/ Granada and Isle of Man to here singlehanded. When I have novice guests out, it gives them the chance to get the hang of steering, while in fact myself and the Hydrovane have most of the work in hand!
So good health to yourself and Hydrovane!
Horseshoe Cottage, Sherkin Island, Co.Cork, Ireland
Westerly Storm 33 - Vane 'Noddy'
“I have no idea how I’d have coped without it – lots of discussions with interested fellow boaters and I have recommended it without hesitation.”
” ‘Noddy’ as it’s become known, is undoubtedly my most valued piece of kit.”
From: Miles Ashley
Sent: Monday, March 05, 2007 8:49 AM
To: John Curry
Subject: Stormruner- need new pin!
By the way – I am SO pleased I bought this thing – particularly since nobody can seem to get my ST4000 to settle down. It feels like a set of extra wide tyres and the harder it blows it just grips. Astounding.
I’ve done one 600 mile single handed trip round Fastnet and just last week a 500 mile double handed trip in very heavy conditions and I have no idea how I’d have coped without it – lots of discussions with interested fellow boaters and I have recommended it without hesitation.
I’m off to the Azores (www.stormrunner.co.uk ) in June in the AZAB (fundraiser for the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign), and “Noddy” as it’s become known, is undoubtedly my most valued piece of kit.
Regards, Miles AshleyContact
“The only difficulty was – as you surely remember- that I had to stop the mounting-work because one of the brackets was missing and you had to make preparations for an emergency delivery, The alarm could however be called off, when the bracket was found in the trunk of my car!!”
“Also with “wing to wing” setting with the wind straight from astern the steering was perfect without any unexpected gybes.”
From: Eje Sandberg
Sent: Friday, August 21, 2009 8:19 AM
Subject: Your homepage
I tried to forward the link of your homepage to a sailing friend of mine but I failed to find it. Have you changed the address? Anyway I would be glad to get it from you. I hope all is well with you and John, Will and the firm.
My Hydrovane is still working fantastico. Last year it steered our Chelonia more than 3000 NM . Round the Orkneys, Scotland, Ireland ,down to Bretagne and home. Absolutely without problems.
Therefore I try to recommend it to everyone who looks on it.
Best regards to all of you.
From: Eje Sandberg
Sent: Friday, October 06, 2006 3:38 AM
To: John Curry
Subject: Hydrovane on Najad 373
Ulricehamn Oct. 6.. 2006
In June this year we installed your Hydrovane on our CHELONIA, a Najad 373, and we like to give you a brief report. The only difficulty was – as you surely remember- that I had to stop the mounting-work because one of the brackets was missing and you had to make preparations for an emergency delivery, The alarm could however be called off, when the bracket was found in the trunk of my car!!
Again, many, many excuses.
Besides that episode, the installation gave no problem thanks to the clear instructions of the manual. Because of the sloping transom of our boat you recommended use of an H-bracket plus an upper A-bracket, for which I am very glad. The equipment is thereby very stable and sturdy and a fine piece of engineering work. It was offset from the centreline in order not to interfere with the ladder.
There was no time for practical tests in our home-water so the Hydrovane had to start working in real when we set off on our trip from the Swedish West coast across the North Sea to Scotland , the Outer Hebrides and the Orkneys and back. Like many other of your customers we were amazed how simple it was to get the new crew-member to work; (once the sail-setting was in balance). We did appreciated the silence when it was in function and how well it steered; much better than we can. Also with “wing to wing” setting with the wind straight from astern the steering was perfect without any unexpected gybes.
We have not yet had the opportunity to use the new rudder in real nasty weather, but we are confident that it will manage that as well.
We are happy and very satisfied.
both Eje and his son Staffan
Enclosed you will find a photo, which you are free to use as you like.Contact
Westerly Regatta 330
“If you ever need support for your recommendation, to mount the vane off centre to preserve fitted boarding ladders, then you are welcome to refer to this.”
“I’ve noticed no performance difference on either port or starboard tacks, even at exceptional angles of heel, despite the vane being 30cm to starboard.”
From: Gavin Blem
Sent: Monday, November 27, 2006 2:31 AM
Subject: Hydrovane Mounting Position
If you ever need support for your recommendation, to mount the vane off centre to preserve fitted boarding ladders, then you are welcome to refer to this.
I’ve noticed no performance difference on either port or starboard tacks, even at exceptional angles of heel, despite the vane being 30cm to starboard. Yesterday in a club race on the Medway river in SSW 5 to 6, we had a man overboard at the gybe mark. He fortunately kept hold of the mainsheet as he went over, so he stayed with us and was able to climb aboard as soon as we’d hove to and let go the boarding ladder from its slip knot.
If we’d followed conventional wisdom or other vane designs, the boarding ladder would not have been there and we’d have had a great deal of difficulty getting him on board. We’d also certainly not have retained our position of 2nd out of 19!
Thanks again for your original advice and keep giving it!