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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance
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  #1  
Old 02-02-2007
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Hydrovane vs. Monitor

We went to the Seattle Boat show specifically to look at these two steering vanes. The reps for both companies were great folks with personal experience with their products.

Pros: I like the simplicity of the Hydrovane and it looks beefy. I like the idea of being able to rig a small tiller pilot to the Hydrovane for an additional autopilot option and the redundancy of a second rudder.

The Monitor is lighter, easier to trip and lift the steering paddle and would seem to have more steering power as the boat speed increases.

Cons: The hydrovane is heavier with that additional weight out there on the end of the boat. It's also more expensive than the Monitor.

The monitor still steers through the boat's primary steering gear with the associated wear and tear and all those lines in the cockpit.


I'm on the fence but leaning towards the Hydrovane. Anyone have any unsatisfactory experiences with either that I should heed?
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  #2  
Old 02-03-2007
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Based on the tiny photo, your boat appears - and I'm guessing here - to be maybe 45 feet and 27,000pds? That's pretty big for a hydrovane-type windvane. You might be better off with a vane that steers through the rudder. (My guess is that they're only reliable as an emergency rudder if the overall loads are kept reasonably small.)

I have a Sailomat on my 15,000 pd 40 footer. It works great. According to the manufacturer not a single pendulum or blade component has broken since introduced to the market - a "remarkable and unmatched durability record".

On the other hand, I've had to replace bearings, an air vane, a shear pin, and some metric fasteners.

I believe you can jury-rig a tiller pilot to just about any windvane.
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  #3  
Old 02-04-2007
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Might want to talk to some owners of each type, or look at the companies' websites and specifically the user testimonials. If one has boats in the size and displacement similar to yours with satisfactory results, and the other does not... I would go with the one that does... If neither does, then it might be worth investigating why that is.

I think the Hydrovane will not be robust enough for your boat...given phyllis's description of it... YMMV.
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  #4  
Old 02-04-2007
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The boat is a Fraser 41 weighing in around 24,000 lbs. Both manufactures have pictures on their websites of installations on other Fraser 41's. I didn't think about trying to track down the owners on some of these installations but that's probably do-able and the best source for feed back.
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Old 02-06-2007
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I just posted this in another thread. Good company.

http://www.voyagerwindvanes.com/Voyager/index.aspx
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Old 02-06-2007
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Interesting... haven't seen them before.
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Old 05-02-2010
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Smile Hydrovane

I had a hydrovane selfsteering on my Gulfstar 43 ketch and I have crossed the Atlantic 3 times (2 singlehanded) with it. It worked perfectly (average speed port to port 6.2 knts). I had gales, storms and light stern winds. Never had a problem. After 33 years the unit still looks like new (or almost!). If I had to cross again, I would just change a few teflon bushings and Hydrovane can still supply them. The boat weights 22,000 pounds. Hydovane are simple, very sturdy and in my opinion better than any other vindvanes on the market. I would not rely on a unit coupled to my main rudder. Too much strain on the cables.
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Old 05-03-2010
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Some friends of ours sailed their home build 30 foot sloop to San Francisco from England in 1976 using a hydrovane and have had the unit since on several subsequent yachts. The yachts come and go, the hydrovane remains...And remains working.

FWIW...
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Old 05-03-2010
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We really didn't want lines strung through the cockpit (or worse, strung somewhere where we couldn't see them and fix them easily) so we looked primarily at the Cape Horn and the Hydrovane. We bought a Hydrovane. We have only used it a half dozen times so far because we are getting ready to cruise. So far it has been idiot proof and worked perfectly until we (as lazy sailors) let the boat get too far out of balance. The only downside I see to the Hydrovane so far is that the rudder does not flip up so if you don't want it in the water you have to climb down and remove it.

Honestly, I'll probably get flamed for saying this but I think *any* of the major name wind vanes would have worked well and lasted for years on a boat of our size (35 feet). While I was researching, it seemed to me that most people who get all worked up over vanes have only tried the one they have on their boat. Very few people have had the pleasure of using many different vanes and the differences in performance seem to be in large part based on how easily the boat steers and balances rather than the vane itself.

PS - I think the advice of talking to owners of your same boat is a good one.
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Old 05-03-2010
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I have not used a Hydrovane but they look like a good way to go. I sailed with a Monitor for a couple of days and it was extremely easy, reliable and did a great job steering in a stiff breeze on a deep broad reach in 5-6' wind waves. The lines in the cockpit really were not a problem at all. The former owner of our boat bought our Monitor (I have not used it yet) in Samoa and immediately left for a 5800NM crossing back to the states. He encountered three major storms and reported that things were breaking left and right on the boat, but the Monitor just kept going and did the steering for the whole trip.
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