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Catalina 36 - Burns Family

“First and foremost, the best investment we made (albeit a late decision in the fitting-out process) was the Hydrovane wind vane self-steering system. This unit has performed flawlessly from the beginning, steering us hundreds of miles under sail.”

From: Chris Burns
Sent: August-06-07 9:31 AM
To: ‘Will Curry’
Subject: RE: Hydrovane

Will:

I’m the guy from Juneau, Alaska, who purchased a Hydrovane from you in June. I thought you might like to know how the unit has been performing during our first thousand miles. We’re currently in Newport, Oregon, with plans to continue on down to San Diego and across the Hawaii before year’s end. Believe me, the Hydrovane will be in use for most of the time. Below is a piece I wrote about the unit for our website and online blog.

Thanks, again, for your guidance and assistance.

Captain Chris Burns
s/v Wind Dancer

From our blog:

“A couple of equipment notes about the voyage so far. First and foremost, the best investment we made (albeit a late decision in the fitting-out process) was the Hydrovane wind vane self-steering system. This unit has performed flawlessly from the beginning, steering us hundreds of miles under sail.

For the first time in our sailing lives we’ve been able to concentrate on navigation and other aspects of running the boat without being locked to the helm. After a four-hour watch, we’re not completely beat as we would be steering by hand. Plus, the Hydrovane — or “Hydie” as she’s been dubbed is much better at keeping a downwind course that we are.

Even in rough seas and 30 knots of breeze, Hydie kept the sails full and drawing all the time, something we couldn’t have done ourselves. We are both amazed and delighted.”

~

From: Chris Burns
Sent: August-09-07 11:30 AM
To: ‘Will Curry’
Subject: RE: Hydrovane

Will:

You certainly may add our comments to your website. We are so jazzed about the Hydrovane we hope others will make the same decision we did. Almost every day other cruisers come by to look at it and ask questions.

Fair winds,

Chris

http://www.sailblogs.com/member/winddancer

Contact

Kelly Peterson 44

“I sailed to Hawaii and back three years ago and can’t say enough good things about your windvane.”

“One big advantage, is that in the middle of the night on the ocean, when a large container ship appears out of nowhere, it is very easy to quickly take over control of the wheel and then just as easy to set up the Hydrovane again.”

 From: Wendell Nicholson
Sent: April-28-08 11:29 AM
To: John Curry
Subject: a missing piece

Hello John

It has been a few years since I have talked with you so you probably don’t remember me. I have a Peterson 44 which came with an old Hydrovane when I bought it 10 years ago. You helped me update it to the current model (VXA2D I believe).

I sailed to Hawaii and back three years ago and can’t say enough good things about your windvane. I had 2 crew members on board, who had sailed with the monitor before and liked the Hydrovane much more.

One big advantage, is that in the middle of the night on the ocean, when a large container ship appears out of nowhere, it is very easy to quickly take over control of the wheel and then just as easy to set up the Hydrovane again.

I actually use it quite a bit when I’m sailing by myself in the summertime (I live in Port Townsend, WA) around here.

Thanks, Wendell

~

Hey John

I have no problem with you putting my email on your website. And use me for a reference; although I might talk someone’s ear off about the Hydrovane.

All the best, Wendell

Contact

Amazon 37 - "Merlin the Magician"

“We simply couldn’t imagine setting off without ‘Merlin’ ”

“In 15 years we have had no repairs or maintenance other than occasional washing and spraying WD40 or anti-corrosion fluid.”

From: bud carney
Sent: Saturday, December 10, 2005 10:17 AM
To: Hydrovane
Subject: RE: Merlin

Dear John:

We have an Amazon 37 foot steel sailboat built 18 years ago in Vancouver in that time we have sailed the west coast of US and made the circuit of the Caribbean and central America, several trips to Bermuda, crossed to Europe thru to Turkey and now back in the Caribbean and presently on our way to Panama – all with our Hydrovane and only very, vey rarely using an electric autopilot.

We simply couldn’t imagine setting off without “Merlin”.

Bud and Kathy Carney – Invictus IV

~

From:  Bud Carney
Sent: Thursday, June 12, 2008 6:05 PM
To: Cynthia
Subject: hydrovane cover

We are on a circumnavigation, having sailed from the U.S. to and thru the Med,  then back to the Caribbean, across the Pacific and now we are in Thailand.

Our hydrovane, occasionally with the aid of a tillerpilot has exclusively steered our 37’ steel Amazon sailboat.  In 15 years we have had no repairs or maintenance other than occasional washing and spraying wd40 or anti-corrosion fluid. We now need a new cover. How do we order one?

Leo Carney

Rustler 36

“Just a note to say we are absolutely delighted with the Hydrovane that Rustler fitted recently.”

From: Simon Wainman
Sent: June-14-08 6:04 AM
To: John Curry
Cc: Adrian Jones
Subject: Hydrovane on Rustler 36

John.

Just a note to say we are absolutely delighted with the Hydrovane that Rustler fitted recently.

As you say in the instructions you simply set it up and go.

We did just that, and although the winds were quite light, the unit worked to perfection and the wake was as straight as a die.

It will be a marvelous addition to our cruising plans.  And I’m so glad you persuaded us to have the remote course setting model.

My only concern is that when motoring at slow speeds it makes the wheel very heavy, but that is something we can live with, and we may well detach the rudder blade when not in use.

So thank you from the Wainmans.

Best wishes Simon

Contact

Mason 33 - bedevilled by light wind

“To our disgust, “Heidi” helms in fluky light winds like a champ, following every shift with unerring accuracy.  So, we let her.  I vacationed back in the dinghy enjoying the beautiful weather while my boat partner Kimi wondered if I wanted lemon in my tea or not…”

From: SV Delphinius
Sent: April-24-08 7:40 PM
To: will@hydrovane.com
Subject: two photos

Will

While I always thought the Hydrovane was for relief in bigger weather, there was this one day about 5 miles off Point Loma when we were bedevilled by 3-7 knot winds, light and variable in direction.  As is wont to happen on those days, wind direction changes of 60-70 degrees. Our heavy boat is hard to get going, and once going, slows quickly if you get off your trim.

After a few hours of frustratingly slow progress, we said “let’s play with the Hydrovane”.

To our disgust, “Heidi” helms in fluky light winds like a champ, following every shift with unerring accuracy.  So, we let her.  I vacationed back in the dinghy enjoying the beautiful weather while my boat partner Kimi wondered if I wanted lemon in my tea or not…

“The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.” (and pulls out the Hydrovane) – William Arthur Ward

Kimi and Terri

Contact

Colvic Countess 37

“It performed equally well with a 30 knots of wind on the beam and 10 knots of wind from astern. In fact we couldn’t believe how well it worked – brilliant!”

“…reversed 200 yards in a perfectly straight line out of the marina – never done that before!”

From: Jonathan Harrison
Sent: April-21-08 7:00 AM
To: Will Curry
Subject: Replacement shaft

Will,

We’ve had 10 days away on the boat and can report the Hydrovane is absolutely superb!

I attach a picture of it on the boat when afloat and some pictures of it in use.

The first day out we had light winds and were close hauled – we set the boat up, pulled the retaining pins out, and it just worked – absolutely magic!!

That day it sailed us for 8 hours without a hand on it. It performed equally well with a 30 knots of wind on the beam and 10 knots of wind from astern. In fact we couldn’t believe how well it worked – brilliant!

The boat (which has always been a handful in reverse) is actually a little more stable – we leave the Hydrovane locked fore-aft and this seems to help her track a little better and we did the impossible aft we launched – reversed 200 yards in a perfectly straight line out of the marina – never done that before!

I do have a couple of little points to raise:

1) The gold coloured metal on the tiller arm has started to get little rust spots on it already – should this happen? It happened when the boat was out of the water after we had fitted the unit – so it wasn’t even salt water that caused it (it subsequently got a little worse when launched and used). Is this normal or should we do something to prevent it?

[Editor’s Comment – This is a bit of residue iron from the ‘shot blasting’ process. It will oxidize away soon enough.]

2) When motoring we remove the vane, but the head of the unit still vibrates – obviously due to the prop wash on the rudder. I have checked the alignment of the drive unit and it has skewed off to one side very slightly since fitting (I will re-align and tighten the bolts up as much as possible next time we go down to the boat). Provided I re-align the rudder and lock it fore-aft when motoring, will this slight vibration damage the unit? (Obviously I will remove the rudder if doing lots of motoring.)

[Editor’s note: On some boats vibration from the engine transmits through the hull and can cause either or both the rudder and drive unit to chatter. Best to minimize it by securing with strong bungee chords]

Thanks

Jonny

Contact

Nicholson 35

“The reason I thought of “enjoy” rather than “survive” is that a Hydrovane makes any passage – even a short coastal one – more enjoyable.”

From: SV Coromandel
Sent: June-27-08 8:02 AM
To: Will Curry
Subject: RE: Replacement Brackets for Hydrovane

Hi Will

The reason I thought of “enjoy” rather than “survive” is that a Hydrovane makes any passage – even a short coastal one – more enjoyable. Survival doesn’t really come into it for everyday sailing, and the Hydrovane is about everyday sailing, not just those times when you don´t want to go out on deck because it’s blowing a hoolie.

Cheers

Linda

http://www.linandy.co.uk/

[Editor’s note: We agree! In 2014 we changed our tag line for ‘SURVIVE YOUR DREAM’ to ‘STEERING THE DREAM’ which we feel is very fitting]

Contact

Bavaria 34

“We thank you very, very much for our third hand on board.”

“I just couldn’t believe it, could it really be so easy?”

From: Manfred Zimmermann
Sent: April-24-08 12:21 PM
To: Will Curry
Subject: Hydrovane

Hi Will,

How are you? You remember me?

At the beginning of 2007 we got our “Hydrovane” from you. Now it’s time to give you a response.

We thank you very, very much for our third hand on board.

After installing the vane we tested it the very next day with good winds about 5 Bft.

I pulled both lockpins, adjusted the vane, and – nothing. A few seconds later I remembered the ratio knob and put it in position. And what now? the vane was steering our boat, better then I ever have done it.

I just couldn’t believe it, could it really be so easy?

Never I would change this perfect vane against an electric steering system.

We use it for long and for short trips, vane mounted, adjusted and forget it.

Going astern under motor is better then before, going forward in a circle is a little bit bigger then before.

We just love it!

Have a good time,

Manfred Zimmermann, Schwäbisch Hall, Germany

Contact

Tartan 4100

“It was fabulous.  Worked in all points of sail, in 12-16 knots of wind. Recognized the need to have a balanced boat.”

From: JAMES FABRICK
Sent: Saturday, April 05, 2008 1:29 PM
To: John Curry
Subject: Freedom

Will and John,  After an unremarkable installation (meaning it was not difficult) we took GECKO out for sea trials with the new HYDROVANE. It was fabulous.  Worked in all points of sail, in 12-16 knots of wind. Recognized the need to have a balanced boat. 

I’m now looking forward to the Passage from Mexico to French Polynesia. Thanks for getting the unit to me post haste and your support, will keep you posted of our travels.

Jim Fabrick s/v GECKO

Contact

Kaufman 47

“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
To: Sherry
Subject: Hydrovane

Hi Sherry,

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! 

Regards, Harriet

http://blog.mailasail.com/anahi

Contact

Bowman 40

“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
Subject: Spares

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.

Regards Alan

Hallberg-Rassy 342

“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

Hi Will

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”.

Cheers,

Abdulaziz

Contact

Rival 38

“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.”

Subject: Pictures
From: Eric Faber
Date: Tue, January 15, 2008 1:59 pm
To: Will Curry

Hi Will,

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.

Kind regards,

W. Eric Faber

http://blog.mailasail.com/eric [has now circumnavigated]

Swan 41

“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

John,

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.

Jock Walker

Scotch Bonnet

Contact

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

Hello Steve,

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.

Cheers,

Ronald

s/v Bremer Speck

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