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Prout 50 Catamaran
“I rate Hydrovane as one of my most valuable piece of kit.”
From: Tim Kibodeaux
Date: May 16, 2021
Subject: Re: Hydrovane feedback for multihulls
To: Sarah Curry
In 2019, I ordered the Hydrovane for an upcoming circumnavigation on my 50 foot 1990 Prout catamaran. After familiarizing myself with the installation instructions and watching the videos from Hydrovane’s official website, my father and I dove right in. We opted for the backing plates and wooden pads sold optionally from Hydrovane. The installation went as easy as could be expected for such a beefy piece of equipment. I chose to follow Will Curry’s advice to mount it as far aft and to one side as possible, in order to get the best performance out of the vane.
We crossed from Panama to Galapagos and onto Hawaii using the Hydrovane for many miles. We found it performed best with the heaviest of winds ; 20kts+, requiring very little adjustment. The vane works fine at lower windspeeds but requires you to start with a well balanced sail plan. We should always strive for a balanced sail configuration so this should be considered a good tool to teach you how to balance your individual boat. Overall, we found the higher the wind speed and speed the boat moved through the water the better the Hydrovane performed. It even performed perfectly downwind which, I read was a challenging point of sail for all vanes, especially on catamarans. Our experience was, on downwind sails the Hydrovane would not require any adjustments for up to 8 hours at a time. We found we required at least 12 kts of relative wind for the Hydrovane to be reliable in steering our boat which (in any point of sail), weights 24,000 tons. Due to our boat’s size and weight, it takes 8 kts minimum wind speed for even the sails to be effective on our boat.
We have found even in confused seas close to land, the Hydrovane combined with our autopilot on a “vane setting” worked well together and reduced our power consumption over time significantly.
Shortly after departing Panama for Galapagos, our hydraulic steering began to leak and the autopilot motor eventually failed. The Hydrovane was fully put to the test and performed well. In this case it was a blessing that the Hydrovane works as an independent rudder which, is not integrated into the boat’s organic steering system.
I rate Hydrovane as one of my most valuable piece of kit.
I found getting in touch with Will Curry to be very easy when I had questions. I personally prefer to work with smaller companies such as Hydrovane because they tend to focus on the product quality and satisfaction of their customers before closing shop each day. I highly recommend working with Hydrovane and am pleased with its performance and the customer service experience I had with this company.Contact
“My dog also seemed to appreciate [the vane steering to the boat trim], and he demonstrated his enthusiasm for this effect by napping without waking up at all.”
From: John Crews
Sent: August 09, 2021
To: Richard Minielly
Subject: Re: John D Crews – Hunter 410 – Hydrovane model VXA2D L(shaft length)/A/H
I still haven’t taken any great photos of the kit yet. I promise that I’ll get some for you.
Meanwhile, I wanted to let you know that my 70 NM test went very well. We had all of the wind conditions: winds at 4 knots, winds at 10 knots, winds at 20 knots, winds at 25 knots, gusts at 30 knots. It was perfect, as it gave me the opportunity to figure out how to adjust the settings along the way. In all cases, the Hydrovane steered us beautifully and I rarely touched the helm (only when a power boater decided to cut across our bow to impress his friends). I also learned in that case that the installed rudder will easily overpower the Hydrovane and allow me to steer the boat manually without the vane fighting much at all.
One interesting detail that I noticed in high winds: when a gust adds heel to the Stargazer, it further de-powers the wind vane and she naturally turned us into the wind until the heel released. Every time. I like this side effect very much. My dog also seemed to appreciate it, and he demonstrated his enthusiasm for this effect by napping without waking up at all.
“We have a Garmin autopilot but always prefer our Hydrovane”
From: Sarah Curry
Sent: 04 Aug 2021
Subject: RE: fix?
Oh dear! Sorry to hear this!!
If the plywood you have onboard is thick, then yes, it’s probably too heavy.
Could you make a frame with the plywood or something lighter (pvc tubes, a batten, mop handles)? A frame could then be wrapped with saran wrap or a lightweight fabric.
Shape doesn’t matter too much so long as it has a straight leading edge. It could be more triangular with the widest part in the air.
If you can produce something, but it feels heavy, you can compensate by adding weight to the counterweight…. tape on some zincs or ?. Another idea is to use bungee cords on the counter weight down to a bracket to stiffen the flopping movement.
What about plastic container lids off storage boxes? Do you have any of those?
The Vane Knob Bolt is metric. You could bolt the custom Vane right onto the casting.
We will message if we come up with any more ideas. Please let us know how you make out.
From: Fran Sharp
Sent: August 4, 2021
To: Sarah Curry
Subject: Re: RE: fix?
Hi Sarah and all
We were lucky that we had a second Hydrovane cover aboard. So we cut up some boat hooks, used one of our plywood emergency port light covers and made a new vane. Not quite as pretty but we are sailing in 20 kts apparent at 050 apparent and big ocean waves and it’s doing well. Pic attached.
We have a Garmin autopilot but always prefer our Hydrovane .
Thanks for the help and we will be in touch soon about our new boat.
Fran and Jeff Sharp
“We had good winds pending 20-30 knots, we sailed on a broad to beam reach and activated the rudder and after some adjustments it kept Ayla on course, consuming zero electricity.”
“Our Hydrovane had been at home in our living room all spring. So now it was time to install it. We did have good contact with Hydrovane in Canada who quickly answered our questions prior to installation. There is also a very detailed installation guide and many good videos that shows and explain the installation.
We put many hours in preparation for the installation. Lots of reading and measuring on the boat. A lot of new terms to translate to Swedish to get the whole picture.
With the help by Thomas (Roberth’s father), we mounted the rudder in a few hours.
The most difficult thing was the lower `E` bracket that had fixed angels, so we had to work with the timber pad for along time to get it right. It’s important that the pads follow both the contour of the hull and that all angels is 100% correct. The mounting must be totally rigid.
Now we were excited to see what our new crew member could do for us, so after midsummer we had perfect conditions to try it out. There was an offshore wind and we left Fjällbacka, Sweden, and went out a bit and set course down towards Smögen, we had good winds pending 20-30 knots, we sailed on a broad to beam reach and activated the rudder and after some adjustments it kept Ayla on course, consuming zero electricity.
We have previously written about why we have chosen to have this solution and we look forward to many nautical miles and crossings that our windvane will steer us across oceans towards new continents and countries. According to tradition, you usually have a name on the rudder as it is an extra crew member who do the hard work and steers the boat.
The question is just what should we name ours?”
Hinckley 42 - VIDEO
“I have to say the ride under Hydrovane was much more comfortable because there was erupted jerky movement comparing to the Raymarine autopilot. And there was never an accidental gybe under Hydrovane comparing to about 5 times of accidental gybe under Raymarine autopilot (set to heading).”
“For the 2019 LongPac race, I attribute leading the race because of the Hydrovane’s continuous closehauling at the precise wind angle at the Gale Alley. I didn’t win because of losing the upper bearing of the main rudder at the last few miles.”
From: William Lee
Sent: July 20, 2021
To: Will Curry
Subject: Re: Hydrovane on Hinckley 42
I had to lock the main rudder to centerline position to reduce any stress because it was dropped a couple of inches due to loose set screws on the upper bearing. The Hydrovane was jury rigged because of a missing bolt at the beginning of the race. I replaced the missing bolt with a Dyneema soft shackle and with the support of two lines port and starboard winched from the lower bearing of the Hydrovane. The two winched lines were essential to holding the Hydrovane in place. They were as tight as a steel cables and there were still sub millimeter movements which contributed to chafing of the two lines. I think that’s why adding this “A bracket” would properly hold it in place without any sort of movement.
I have to say the ride under Hydrovane was much more comfortable because there was erupted jerky movement comparing to the Raymarine autopilot. And there was never an accidental gybe under Hydrovane comparing to about 5 times of accidental gybe under Raymarine autopilot (set to heading). The only downside during the TransPac is that the Hydrovane steered the course with more distance traveled than the Rarmaine autopilot which steered very straight.
For the 2019 LongPac race, I attribute leading the race because of the Hydrovane’s continuous closehauling at the precise wind angle at the Gale Alley. I didn’t win because of losing the upper bearing of the main rudder at the last few miles.
Happy to provide more background on my use case of the Hydrovane.
“Your device is a God send for the single and or short handed sailor(s).”
From: Robert Cass
Sent: June 25, 2021
To: John Curry
Subject: Re: Joint Mechanism to Lift HV Rudder Up When Not in Use
Thanks for getting back to me so quickly. Actually I have a Hydrovane on my C&C and love it. I bought the boat in May 2020 in Honolulu and it had the Hydrovane already installed. In fact, it was a big reason I bought it. I single handed the boat home to San Diego in late May and early June of 2020 and I was infinitely grateful to have the Hydrovane as the Raymarine Wheel Pilot broke on the first day. I used the Hydrovane in all conditions except motoring which was minimal. I recently returned from Las Islas Marias in Mexico and again the Hydrovane was key. Before the trip I installed a large solar panel on Bimini and that interfered with the device’s downwind capabilities. I will be ordering a Stubby soon and I also need a new vane knob.
Your device is a God send for the single and or short handed sailor(s).
The only reason I would like to have a way to stow the rudder without removing it is that I like to sail offshore often, either to northern Baja or the Channel Island here in SoCal so removing it is a bit of an effort for this 62yo but it is not that big of a deal.
Again, thanks for writing back and your rational for not wanting to introduce any potential weakness into the system makes sense.
From: John Curry
Date: Jun 27, 2021
Subject: RE: Joint Mechanism to Lift HV Rudder Up When Not in Use
To: Robert Cass
Thanks for that glowing report. We never tire of such.
If you do leave the rudder on be sure to paint it with anti-fouling or at least go swimming to clean off any growth.
Bavaria 30 CC
“Thanks for keeping the course around the globe.”
From: Niklas Krantz
Date: May 17, 2021
Subject: Just another circumnavigator.
To: Sarah Curry
Thanks for keeping the course around the globe. Hafsorkestern, a Bavaria 30 C homeward bound.
Twice on the Atlantic crossing we encountered 60 knot winds yet the Hydrovane didn’t falter. It’s a wonderful piece of kit and amazing in its simplicity and effectiveness!
From: Bill Davis
Sent: October 21, 2020
To: John Curry
Subject: RE: Query
Many thanks, John. Much appreciated.
Like everyone else who uses them, I’m VERY impressed with the Hydrovane. I helped a friend bring his Rustler 36 back from the Caribbean to the UK a few years ago, then down to the Mediterranean and back subsequently, much of which was done using a Hydrovane. Twice on the Atlantic crossing we encountered 60 knot winds yet the Hydrovane didn’t falter. It’s a wonderful piece of kit and amazing in its simplicity and effectiveness !
“Coming home the Hydrovane drove the boat in 20-25 kts at 27-32 degrees awa with 6-10 ft breaking waves.(and even worse off Kaena Point!)”
From: Rick Value
Sent: July 12, 2020
To: John Curry
Subject: From Rick and PJ Value
We have been meaning to write you for some time now.
We just returned from a 3 week trip to Kauai from Honolulu on our C&C 40 tall rig deep keel sailboat.
The Hydrovane drove the boat flawlessly downwind in 15 kts of breeze and a 115 AWA.
The Kauai Channel is notorious for being extremely rough especially off Kaena Point.
We had a reef in the Main and our 80% get home jib
Coming home the Hydrovane drove the boat in 20-25 kts at 27-32 degrees awa with 6-10 ft breaking waves.(and even worse off Kaena Point!)
It drove up on the puffs and then back down the way I would have been driving the boat!
We were amazed at how well he was driving!
Thank you for your GREAT product!
We are really happy to have him as our third crew member!
He did a great job!
Rick and PJ Value
“Steered me across the Atlantic all the way to Colombia without any problems.”
From: Anthony Cadd
Date: Dec 17, 2020
Subject: New standard vane cover
To: Sarah Curry
Hope you are well.
Very happy with my hydrovane fitted at the end of 2019. Steered me across the Atlantic all the way to Colombia without any problems. I’m after a new standard vane cover please as the original is starting to show signs it may need replacing soon.
“We have made two passages with the Hydrovane and she works perfectly.”
From: David Luskin
Sent: January 14, 2021
To: Will Curry
We have made two passages with the Hydrovane and she works perfectly. We sailed from Norfolk, VA to Bermuda then to Puerto Rico.
In fact we are naming her either:
Which one do you like?
Also can you quote the larger Watt & Sea generator and brackets for us?
Have a Nice Day!
“Surprised to see how relaxed it seems to be even when the rest of the world was experiencing chaos.”
From: Otto Pagel
Sent: October 10, 2020
To: Will Curry
Subject: Re: Hydrovane shipment
Took her out for seatrials today; had 25 knts gusting 35. Hydrovane is a breeze it works perfectly. Surprised to see how relaxed it seems to be even when the rest of the world was experiencing chaos. I’m sure if that was my first try I’ll only get more familiar with it moving forward . Well designed bit of kit my friends. Thanks
Thanks again; Otto
From: Will Curry
Date: Oct 12, 2020
Subject: RE: Hydrovane shipment
To: Otto Pagel
Good to hear the first test sail was a success. Can we add your email and installation photos to the website?
For the vibration under power you can attach a heavy duty bungee/snubber to the rudder handle and stern cleat. Cinch it as tight as you can and it should dampen the vibration. There is more on this towards the end of the operation manual. Let me know if it helps. Cheers
Will Curry, BBA
Van De Stadt Norman 40
“Firstly I must say how pleased I am with my new crew member. After a couple of trips around the Bristol Channel, the Hydrovane has now brought me across Biscay and onto the West Atlantic Portuguese coast safely and with no fuss.”
Sent: August 20, 2020
To: Will Curry
Subject: Feedback/new rudder
Firstly I must say how pleased I am with my new crew member.
After a couple of trips around the Bristol Channel, the Hydrovane has now brought me across Biscay and onto the West Atlantic Portuguese coast safely and with no fuss.
Unfortunately I have had a little mishap and lost my rudder.
Would it be possible to send me a new one to Portugal please.
Kind Regards, David Phillips.Contact
“Hydrovane smile of confidence!”
From: Frank Hillebrand
Date: Sep 17, 2020
Subject: Sovereign 32
To: Sarah Curry
My wife’s smile says it all really given the unexpected forecast and Hydrovane confidence!
Title: Hydrovane smile of confidence! – even when a sudden F7+ is forecast in Biscay…
Sun Odyssey 49
“It’s only fantastic.”
From: Roger Bauer
Sent: August 27, 2020
To: Will Curry
Subject: Re: Hydrovane shipment BAUER
Our new crew member has beginning to work.
Very simple to understand how is working.
It’s only fantastic.
A big compliment to all of you for the care; at the beginning of the planning, the dispatch of the goods and the installation assistance. Thank you very much.