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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

Kelly Peterson 44

The Hero award goes to Harry the @hydrovane

sailingemerald on 28 June 2022:
We’ve arrived in Porto Santo, 3 days, 1 hour and 45 minutes after departure. That gives us an average speed of 6kts. This was our longest passage, just slightly more than when we crossed Biscay in 2013.
We’re both good, other than being a bit tired.
Emerald is fine too, although she now has a liberal coating of salt and was gifted an enormous pile of bird poo from a Shearwater that crash landed. It struggled to lift off again, but thankfully made it.
Other wildlife seen was a squid that was left on deck by a wave. We also passed a turtle paddling away. Isn’t it amazing to think our paths crossed at that moment in the vastness of the ocean.
The Hero award goes to Harry the @hydrovane who valiantly steered us across, dealing with some big seas at times. It was our first time using it for a long passage and once set up correctly, we were very happy.
The Useless Waste of Space award goes to our engine, which failed to start on our approach to the island. Colin has tried everything he can think of to solve it, but unfortunately it looks like we’re going to have to find external help. We could be here some time….
We were able to sail into the anchorage, thankfully we had a huge area of space to choose from. It was a bit dicey at times as to whether we’d make it as the wind died away as we passed behind the island, before gusting back in the gaps just enough to blow us to a suitable spot.

1. Emerald sailing towards Porto Santo
2. Harry working away at sunrise
3. Nichola on the helm, enjoying some sunshine
4. The sunsets were amazing
5. Helms person’s view
6. Emerald starboard view
7. The sea berth
8. Stowaway squid
9. Colin downloading weather GRIB files via SSB
10. Porto Santo from the anchorage

#hydrovaneselfsteering #hydrovane #sailingadventure #instasailing #windvane #sunsetatsea #kellypeterson44 #liveaboardlife #sailing #sailmadeira #sailboatlife #cruising #letsgosailing #sailingatlantic #oceansailing #offshoresailing #portosanto #atlanticocean #sunrisephotography #homeiswheretheanchordrops

Bavaria Vision 46

“Kept us on track the entire way in 25 – 27 kts”

From: Tom Rolph
Sent: May 31, 2022
To: Richard Minielly
Subject: Re: Order 19 September – Questions for Hydrovane team…

Hello to everyone at Hydrovane

I just wanted to let you know we completed the 600 mile trip from Gibraltar to Madeira using our new vane. Kept us on track the entire way in 25 – 27 kts.

We found that your advice on sail balance is spot on. Double reefed most of the way we sailed upright at 7kts with on the middle sensitivity setting.

Just as well we had him as my crew was seasick the entire way.

He was christened Simon – from the song You’re so Vain by Carly Simon.

Thanks for a great product .

Kind regards,


Tom Rolph





Jeanneau SO 379

“When describing the Hydrovane to other boat owners, I sum it up as follows; it doesn’t complain about being cold, or hungry, or tired, and best of all it actually steers the course you ask it to!”

From: Mark Linney
Sent: May 03, 2022
To: Will Curry
Subject: Re: Mark – Jeanneau SO 379 – Hydrovane model VXA2D L(shaft length)/A/H

Dear all at Hydrovane.

I’ve now fitted the Hydrovane to my Jeanneau 379.

The bottom bracket was a great test of my agility as access was severely limited. I also had to use lots of resin filler and an additional marine ply backing plate as the inside surface was not level. That bottom bracket is also fully submerged when on a starboard tack or motoring, but so far it’s not letting in water. I used lots of marine sealant on the bolt holes; it’ll be interesting to see how long it lasts. Perhaps there is a solution to a submerged mounting plate that you can suggest?? In my experience water usually finds a way in over time.

My test sail went really well and it works perfectly on both tacks, and on upwind, abeam and downwind points of sail. There is no vibration whatsoever under sail or engine.

I’m very impressed with the quality of the gear and the ease (bottom bracket excepted!) of assembly. Although my advice would be to measure twice, cut once! The welding of the remote line took a few attempts and is on a short run from the port helm.

Overall very pleased with the equipment, the service from you and the result.

Best wishes



On 26 May 2022, Will Curry wrote:

Hi Mark,

Great to hear the test sail went well!  Also nice to read that there was no vibration, this means the shaft should be nicely aligned in a vertical plane.

For bedding the brackets if you used Sikalfex 291, 3M 5200 or something similar they shouldn’t leak.  It’s not a problem if the bracket is submerged when underway.  Those adhesives are used to bed keels and underwater thru hulls which are permanently submerged so I suspect you will be okay.

Thanks again for taking the time to send this report.  Can we post your email and photos to our website?

Kind Regards,

Will Curry, BBA


On 26 May 2022, Mark Linney wrote:

Thanks Will

Still not leaking, but renewing the sealant from time to time (if it does start weeping) would not be a difficult job.

Happy for you to use my images and text on the website.

You could also add…

“When describing the Hydrovane to other boat owners, I sum it up as follows; it doesn’t complain about being cold, or hungry, or tired, and best of all it actually steers the course you ask it to!”




Catalina 320

“We are just super super happy with our Hydro-Vane. It really IS that good!!!”

From: Mark & Shawnae
Sent: January 28, 2022
To: Richard Minielly
Subject: Re: Congratulations on your new Hydrovane!

Hello Will, Richard, etal:

Well, we’ve had the Hydrovane installed now for a couple of months.

Unbelievable – what a different world for us.  We love it.  I mean, we’re absolutely totally impressed with the technology and engineering behind it.  Zoe (as we’ve named it) is amazing.  So far, she’s steered us 300 to 400 miles.  and has done great.  It’s just so simple to use, yet the engineering is so complex and robust.  I’m sure we’ll do well with her for many many many miles.

It took us about two days to get her fully installed.  I was able to find some 1-1/2 pvc Schedule 80 electric conduit that was ‘almost’ 2″ outside diameter that we used to dry fit everything.  That was absolutely key.  In your directions to new purchasers, you should make a bigger thing out of that.  Dry fit it first using a mockup.   Once that was done, a grinder and cutoff wheel to make all three pipes the exact size. . . .  and we were good to go.

We’ve got things dialed in pretty darn good with respect to adjust course underway and all that.   I’m sure that in time, this will all become intuitive.    It’s interesting to realize andunderstand the physics behind the wind vane steering.  On a beam reach, for example, as the wind increases, so does the ‘apparent wind’ angle.  So, we’re learning how to “fiddle” with those adjustments.

One thing, we’d like some help with.  At anchor, the rudder ‘clunks’ a lot.  We sleep in the aft-berth, so we are literally right next to the hydrovane.  Even with all three pins in, the rudder rotates slightly and ‘clunks’, especially if there is some wind/waves .   at bed, in the night, it’s pretty obnoxious.   Yes, I know, one obvious solution is to remove the rudder completely, but that’s kind of a hassle.    we were thinking of adding a little SS eye-hook with a a bungee cord to hold it firmly to one side or the other at anchor.    Do have any other suggestions or feedback on this issue??

mark and shawnae

s/v Firefly

Catalina 320

From: Richard Minielly
Sent: January 28, 2022
To: Mark & Shawnae
Subject: RE: Congratulations on your new Hydrovane!

Hi Mark & Shawnae,

I’m so happy to hear that your installation went smoothly, and you have been enjoying using the Hydrovane so far. Thank you for the kind words and feedback on your installation. Do you mind if we post your email onto our Testimonials page? We get asked quite frequently about installation techniques and how to stop some of the “clunking” about at anchor.

Your idea is right on track with our normal recommendation for rudders that clunk at anchor or vibrate excessively while motoring. The best tool we have found is a docking or anchor line with a rubber “snubber”, attached from the rudder handle with a small amount of force over to a corner cleat or other attachment point. A heavy-duty bungee would work for this purpose as well. It won’t completely stop the noise but should seriously limit the back and forth play of the rudder.

If you are leaving the rudder in the water semi-permanently, we also recommend giving it a rough sand and painting with a non-ablative (hard) antifoul paint. This will significantly lessen the maintenance required to keep the rudder and shaft growth-free.

Please don’t hesitate to reach out with any other questions, performance review (good or bad), and especially photos of your installation! We love receiving pictures and feedback at any time.


Richard Minielly

From: Mark Bratz
Sent: February 28, 2022
To: Richard Minielly
Subject: Re: Congratulations on your new Hydrovane!

Hello again.

We had yet another WONDERFUL run today with Zoe (our name for the Hydro-Vane crew member) at the helm. 30 miles offshore in the Exuma’s, Bahamas.

We are just super super happy with our Hydro-Vane.   It really IS that good!!!

Mark and Shawnae

S/v Firefly

Catalina 320


Pan Oceanic 46

“Best gear on the boat”

From: Nathan Snyder
Sent: Thursday, February 24, 2022 8:05 AM
To: Sarah Curry
Subject: Re: Hydrovane order SNYDER / Vane Swap


I ordered a Hydrovane from your company a few years back, 2017 I think, and crossed the Pacific with it [Editor’s Note: Pan Oceanic 46]. Best gear on the boat. I had no other electric steering gear and had a great experience. I now have a new boat and looking to possibly order another one. My new boat is a 1990 Kanter 51 which weighs about 45,000 pounds. It has a perfect transom to mount a vane just offset. Do you have any recommendations for the set up? I can try to get some pictures to help out.

Any advice would be much appreciated.


Nathan Snyder

Lavranos 50

“To say that I was impressed is an extreme understatement”

From: Mike Garlick
Sent: February 16, 2022
To: John Curry
Subject: cornish crabber 22

Dear John,

We have just completed an Atlantic crossing on a 50ft boat fitted with Hydrovane self steering [Non-production Angelo Lavranos 50ft, owner Kim Hartley].  To say that I was impressed is an extreme understatement as we had some very demanding wind and swell conditions, as I can attest from the times when I was hand steering.

Fast forward, and at home in South Devon we have a very modest boat, the Cornish Crabber 22, which is mostly used for local cruising.  My question is simply whether you have a version of the Hydrovane that would be suitable and light enough for a boat of this size?

She is 22 ft loa with a stern hung rudder on a fairly square transom. The nominal auw is 2 tons though she is probably already rather heavily loaded with extra kit.

The idea of having the availability of self steering is very seductive but I would appreciate your advice as to whether this is feasible without overwhelming this boat?

I would be very happy to provide more details,

With many thanks,

Mike Garlic

From: John Curry
Sent: Wednesday, February 16, 2022 2:27 PM
To: Mike Garlick
Subject: Mike Garlick – Cornish Crabber 22 – Hydrovane model VXA2D S(shaft length)/H/E

Dear Mike

Many thanks for your interest in Hydrovane. We know that you would not be disappointed with a Hydrovane for your  Cornish Crabber 22.

HOW SMALL A BOAT? – ‘Chubby Girl’ attempted to be the smallest sailboat to sail from San Francisco to Hawaii. He is very experienced and knowledgeable but after a few days and some difficulties he turned around. The boat was under 9 feet long and he did choose a Hydrovane. John Guzzwell did make that passage in the biannual Transpac Race. His boat weighed under 5,000 lbs. There are others. No question that it is not the boat size or weight that determines suitability. It is the application. As you now know that a Hydrovane is the ideal helmsman ….with the help of a locked main rudder for directional stability and balances the boat by offsetting any weatherhelm. Nothing makes a boat more stable than a fixed main rudder. The result is a more natural boat motion and ‘course made good’. Doubly ideal for a solo sailor.

Please see the attached proposal that includes pricing and other installation considerations.

Will or Richard shall follow up with you for the configuration and any issues you might have.

We encourage you to spend some time on our website where you can find answers to most questions and much more.

Please feel free to come back to us with any queries or concerns.



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