Hydrovanes...any good?

robmdknapp

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Boat fit-out continues...masthead now sorted.

Planning to fit a hydrovane to my cutlass 27. Can people endorse this/suggest alternatives/potential issues?

Also, if anyone knows of a hydrovane looking for a new home...

Thanks muchly
 

Champagne Murphy

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I've been having a look at this idea myself. I was intruiged by the Hebridean vane (see threads past) but before taking the plunge I spoke to a friend of Jester note. His recommendation was Windvane and nothing else will do. As he's trusted his life to it for a long while feel he has credibility!
 

KellysEye

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>Also, if anyone knows of a hydrovane looking for a new home...

Hydrovanes are individually built to the size and weight of boat, so if you buy second and it isn't the right size/weight it will under steer if too small or over steer if too big. So I wouldn't go that route.

>The Hydrovane is a very heavy beast. Perhaps one of the lighter servo-pendulum alternatives would suit your 27 footer better

As said above they are made to the size and weight of the boat so for a 27 footer it won't be a heavy beast, it will be the lightest they make. The smallest I have seen was on a 32 foot boat and the largest on a 52 foot boat.

Having been long distance sailing for six and a half years the Hydrovane is by far the most popular wind vane, 90% of boats with a wind vane, we had one and it was the best and most reliable bit of kit on the boat. It also came top in an ARC survey. You must balance the boat for it to work so no lee helm or weather helm.
 

capnsensible

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Have done 2 Atlantic crossings with a hydrovane and a number without.

Our Moody 33 is the one I crossed with (and without!) and is the best thing we ever invested in for our longer trips.

:encouragement:
 

Tranona

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Boat fit-out continues...masthead now sorted.

Planning to fit a hydrovane to my cutlass 27. Can people endorse this/suggest alternatives/potential issues?

Also, if anyone knows of a hydrovane looking for a new home...

Thanks muchly

There is only one basic size of Hydrovane, but with different shaft lengths depending on height of transom and different types of mounting brackets. Generally they are used on much larger boats than yours and are much more expensive than other more appropriate types. difficulty with buying second hand is not only do people rarely part with them, but the mounting variations may mean that you will need to buy new parts to adapt to your boat.

Better to look at other designs that are more appropriate to boats of your size and type.
 

BobnLesley

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I'd reiterate the foregoing concerns about weight, though most are heavy beasts to be putting on a 27-footer; whilst new Hydrovanes are 'sized' to the boat, it's really only the shaft length that's different, so it'll still be very heavy. As suggested earlier, a lightweight servo-pendulum unit would probably be better suited and what's popular with the Jester boats is far more relevant than what the ARC boats use: The 'average' ARC boat is far bigger than your Cutlass and in addition, besides being larger, there are a high proportion of centre cockpit boats on the ARC too. In my opinion the Hydrovane is far from being the best unit out there, but the fact that there are no control lines from the unit to the wheel/tiller is a major factor if you've a centre-cockpit steering position - as a rule of thumb, the longer the control lines required, the less well it will perform. Narvik was the unit of choice for smaller yachts, but they've not been made/sold new in years, we were looking to buy one ten years ago and on the secondhand maket then, they were as rare as rocking-horse poo; I suspect that with the now regular Jester Challenges, that situation's even worse, with any available units being passed-on between the competitors? Another 'lightweight' unit that had just come onto the market when we were looking then was called 'Mr Vane' or similar, it was being made in Holland and reasonably priced but it seemed to be suffering from a few teething troubles? If they're still in business, then by now said problems should be resolved and it may be worth a look.

Whilst I said that the Hydrovane (in my opinion) is far from the best choice if you've got a stern cockpit, be wary of peoples opinions as everyone - including mine with regard to our Monitor - is adamant that their choice of vane is the best on the market; when we were looking/enquiring I finally got wise and began asking the question: "If I can't find a Hydrovane/Aries/Fleming/Pacific like yours, what would be the next best to go for?" The overwhelming answer I got to that question was the Monitor and over the last four years we've just become ever more impressed with it - actually, I think it's just that it's taught us to trim sails better over the years. Talking to other ocean sailors, I'm of the opinion that all of the well known commercial brands do what they say on the box and work, though some are perhaps easier to learn how to use and more forgiving of your shortcomings in trimming/balancing the boat than others? And certainly all will perform better and be more tolerant of user incompetance on smaller/slower/long-keeled yachts than on larger/faster lighter-weight boats - I doubt you could gen any to steer and Open 50/60 Racer. Similarly or perhaps conversely? Whilst all the commercial brands seem to work, we've yet to meet anyone with a one-off home-built one that's got it right; invariably you hear that it's 'OK in certain conditions', but doesn't work in others - invariably the ones that you need most!

Whatever you eventually choose; sheet the sails in less tightly than you would normally and set a sail plan which emphasises/favours the foresail rather than the main sail.
 
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The_man_from_ABBA

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Having been long distance sailing for six and a half years the Hydrovane is by far the most popular wind vane, 90% of boats with a wind vane,

Shouldn't that be '90% of UK boats'?
We cruised the Carribean for four years and the majority of UK boats with a vane did indeed have a Hydrovane. The majority of US boats had a Monitor and a large proportion of the Germans had a Pacific Windpilot.
We, and most other Scandinavian boats, had an Airies.
 

KellysEye

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>Again you get my award for sweeping statements backed by not a scintilla of evidence

The evidence was collected by mark one eyeballs having seen over 700 long distance cruising boats on our travels.

>>There is only one basic size of Hydrovane, but with different shaft lengths depending on height of transom and different types of mounting brackets.

No, as I've said they are built to order they also have different size sails and rudders subject to boat length and weight.
 

Tranona

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>Again you get my award for sweeping statements backed by not a scintilla of evidence

The evidence was collected by mark one eyeballs having seen over 700 long distance cruising boats on our travels.

>>There is only one basic size of Hydrovane, but with different shaft lengths depending on height of transom and different types of mounting brackets.

No, as I've said they are built to order they also have different size sails and rudders subject to boat length and weight.

Funny that their website has masses of information, but only mentions different shaft length and one alternative sail size. No mention of customizing to different size or weight of boat. The essential (heavy) bits are exactly the same and virtually all the examples shown are for boats in the 30-50' range with the same basic unit - hence the advice that it may be too big and heavy for the OP.
 

Tim Good

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I've been round the block many times with this and still have not chosen. There are a lot of people with HV's and a lot like them. That said, the boat needs to be well balanced and directionally stable I have heard. There power to the rudder is simply not comparably to a servo pendulum system like windpilot, monitor etc. I have also heard that the rudder can be a total nightmare in marinas so something worth considering if you are coastal cruising and using marinas often.

For all of the downsides of HV I am especially attracted to the off centre mounting, no lines in the cockpit and emergency rudder facility. For that reason I may go that direction but I do fear being disappointed with performance.
 

KellysEye

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>We cruised the Carribean for four years and the majority of UK boats with a vane did indeed have a Hydrovane. The majority of US boats had a Monitor and a large proportion of the Germans had a Pacific Windpilot. We, and most other Scandinavian boats, had an Airies.

That's odd what I saw was completely different. We left the UK in early June 2004 and got back in late September 2010. In the Caribbean I saw only one American boat with a wind vane, they don't need them, they are not long distance sailors they just motor upwind island hopping from the east coat and often motored from island to island. I can't remember ever seeing a German flagged boat the great majority were USA, Brits, French, Dutch and Scandinavian. Aries was number two on my list but not many of them but I do remember one on a Swedish boat. The strange thing is the great exploring countries flags were hardly to be seen, we saw one Spanish flag (dismasted in the Atlantic) and no Portuguese flags. One thought we did spend three years in Venezuela, their out islands and Curacao and Bonaire diving, maybe the German boats don't go there.
 
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seabright

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Hi,

We've got a hydrogen and here's what we like about it:
1. Very easy to install and to use.
2.Steers well in light downwind conditions
3. Offers us a completely independent system to our main rudder. Some people will this is a mute point but I find it comforting when we are in very isolated/commited areas.
4. Well made.

Here's what we don't like:
1. Cost - very few second hand ones available.
2. I believe (based on a sample size of 1! - friends boat) that it will struggle on bigger boats.

FYI our boats is a 35 foot ketch - super sovereign 35.

Good luck with your choice - as has been said before, people get attached to their own system. Just make sure its robust as its one bit of kit that you don't want to break on a long passage.

Cheers,

Dave
 

Oscarpop

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Just our two peneth.
We have one and fitted it after going through the same selection process.
It is very heavy . 68kg I think. Maybe too much for a small boat.

However, we are in falmouth waiting to cross biscay. 68 boats left yesterday for the Azab. In addition to this, we have another 50 yachts waiting for weather or crew to go to Ireland , Spain or further afield.
Thhe majority of these sport hydrovanes.
 

robmdknapp

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As always the ybw crew deliver the goods...thank you all for thoughts/input.

The cutlass is indeed small & light - so am now thinking that HV is not the way to go (she will already be sitting lower in the water with tankage, suitable safety gear, more heavy duty rigging & updated electrics)...

Monitors appear to be an eye-watering $5000 plus tax/shipping/extras...are they sold in the UK? Scanmar (distributed by seatronics) seem to be different to the scanmar international who make monitors... & although they are all over the US, I can't find anything this side of the pond.

So, local, (reasonably) affordable suggestions?
 

macd

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As always the ybw crew deliver the goods...thank you all for thoughts/input.

The cutlass is indeed small & light - so am now thinking that HV is not the way to go (she will already be sitting lower in the water with tankage, suitable safety gear, more heavy duty rigging & updated electrics)...

Monitors appear to be an eye-watering $5000 plus tax/shipping/extras...are they sold in the UK? Scanmar (distributed by seatronics) seem to be different to the scanmar international who make monitors... & although they are all over the US, I can't find anything this side of the pond.

So, local, (reasonably) affordable suggestions?

Windpilot Pacific Light: 1740 euros. http://www.windpilot.com/n/wind/en/prod/prei/
Excellent product, 13kg, rated to 27 feet. If you need something heftier, the Pacific is about 1000 euros more, but still very much lighter than HV at 20kg. Speak to Peter Forthmann, prop of Windpilot: knows his stuff and very helpful. Also worth downloading his book on wind steering, free from the same website. It will tell you heaps you need to know.
 
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