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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance
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  #11  
Old 04-09-2008
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Hydrovane is the Cadillac of self-steering. I have one, and beleive it is much stronger than any servo-pendulum I have ever seen or used. Being able to lock the helm is a huge benefit offshore, esp with wheel steering. They steer very well in light air, and of course are probably the best emergency rudder you can have since it is already deployed, you are already familiar with it, and it will have the power to steer the boat. Yes, you can hook a cheap tiller pilot to one if thats your game.
Disadvantages are:
1) cost
2) rudder is always in the water (I can remove it from my swim ladder but this is a scary job and you get wet!)
3) It fights my prop wash. I can only motor at about 4 knots.
4) It is heavy, but heavy means strong

Advantages:
1) off center installation works fine
2) no lines in cockpit
3) very strong
4) very efficient, works in ALL wind conditions (from drifting to storm force at least)
5) permanent auxiliary rudder
6) they last forever (mine is 35+ years, all original parts)
7) no learning curve, it works perfect the first time you use it assuming it was installed correctly, no fussing as with servo-pendulum designs
8) very high quality material with little to go wrong
9) you can remove the entire thing leaving only the brackets with just a couple of [big 3/4"] bolts.
10) great customer support, even for someone with a 35 year old unit not buying anything!
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  #12  
Old 04-10-2008
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Rockter will become famous soon enough
Sailboy..

Run that by me again about the motoring.
Does it need to be offset?
I cannot afford to take a hit on the motoring as I spend so much time in the canal here.
Did you notice a hit on the motoring performance when it was fitted?
This stuff is very important to know at the decision stage.
Do you have a wee picture of your installation?

Rockter.
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  #13  
Old 04-10-2008
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erps will become famous soon enough erps will become famous soon enough
It doesn't have to be offset, but it can be offset if you have a funny transom or something in the way. Sailboy will have to answer the other question.
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  #14  
Old 04-10-2008
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Rockter will become famous soon enough
he raised the point about the Hydrovane rudder interfering with the propwash.
I needed to hear that one again.
I can offset it, and some are.
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Old 04-10-2008
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I am pretty sure the propwash thing is boat specific. My install is centerline. I have a full keel with a 3 blade in a aperture. At around 2500 engine RPM, about 4 knots, the hydrovane rudder starts to "track" the prop wash, even locked in place it start to shake and shudder. The hydrovane rudder is very powerful on a 30 foot boat, so any movement affects the course of the boat. When not in use under sail I don't lock the hydovane rudder, it is fine at all boat speeds and does not interfere with steerage, but not so under power. Hydrovane actually recommends removing the rudder when motoring for long distances. The rudder is only held on with one pin, and it floats, so you can pop it off with a boat hook. Putting it back on is more difficult, but you can do it underway. I don't know if other hydrovane owners have this problem or not, but at above 4 knots I literally loose steerage completely. My guess is a little longer water line, modern under body, and more distance between the prop and hydrovane would prevent this issue, but I don't know. Consequently the hydrovane is only used on the rare occasion I am actually sailing in open waters for some distance (which means not at all up here )

EDIT: I must stress than my unit is 35+ years old, so there is more play in the bearings and links. Also, my mounting system was noted to be "custom" by the hydrovane rep. Since my model was produced they have increased the shaft size and wall thickness of the main tube, and also included a true locking mechanism which my model does not have.

Last edited by sailboy21; 04-10-2008 at 11:54 AM.
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Old 04-10-2008
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I crewed on a centre cockpit oyster many years ago. It had a hydrovane. it worked well and did practically all of our steering across bay if biscay. we called it noddy because of the vane moving around constantly in the wind. i recall it was fairly easy to adjust when needed.
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  #17  
Old 04-10-2008
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My boat came with a 1974 vintage hydrovane, minus it's rudder, and some parts were seized. I took the head unit apart and will try to refurbish it when the other boat projects are done. I agree that the unit looks very strong and think the original owner did not bother with having an emergency steering hook up installed and relied on the Hydrovane instead should the boat steering fail. Parts are expensive, the rudder alone is around $600, but I think the investment is worth it. If sailboy hears of any spare parts I'd appreciate a pm from him.
All the best
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Old 04-10-2008
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Thanks there guys.
Rudder-judder was the problem then.
Oh dear. I really will have to watch to avoid that one. So much of my time is spent motoring here in the canal. I get to sail in the open water also.
The rudder-judder point I will take it up with Hydrovane.
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Old 07-09-2009
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Hi there folks. I am a new member since 15 minutes ago from Sweden
I have a 50 feet long keel ketchrigg and around 25000kg hydralik steering wheelpump. I have been looking for a windvane and i think it will be a hydrovane becouse of no lines. It is almost impossible to find a used one for sale, I would be glad if someone could give me a tips how to find a used one.
Best regards
Sailon59
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  #20  
Old 07-09-2009
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I think you will be searching for a used one for a very long time. Check with them to see if it would be appropriate for your specific boat. I have a 42 Tayana, it's a pretty heavy boat, and I am close to the limit of what they recommend. But every boat is different. They will gladly e-mail you pictures of similar setups to what you require. I have never been treated as well by another vendor, and the product is first rate in my opinion.
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