Join Date: Apr 2012
Thanked 11 Times in 11 Posts
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Re: Self Steering
My current love came equipped with a Hydrovane. What I really like is that the auxiliary rudder is truly that, and will steer the boat should something nasty happen to the main rudder.
Previously I had a Tasmanian-made system which was all-stainless, really strong and looked great, but I never got it to work right. I'm not saying it was no good, just that I never mastered it. Also it needed a good 10 knots of breeze to steer. The Hydrovane is alloy and doesn't look as pretty as stainless, though it looks as if it would take a lot to break it. It is easy to use and steers down to about 5 or 6 knots of breeze. You do have to either antifoul the aux rudder or pull it once every two weeks or so to clean it before the barnacles get a grip. The rudder does not simply swing up like some other types - you have to hang off the transom and pull a pin. It can be a bit tricky getting it back on to its shaft and aligning the pin, so don't attempt this at sea! And the rudder doesn't float, so it needs to have a safety line attached to the boat.
Bear in mind that none of these things work on a dead downwind run.