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post #27 of Old 03-26-2019
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Re: Question about singlehanding

Have a hydrovane and an autopilot. Find on autopilot it’s easy to tack. Set up the traveler to midships. Set up the lazy sheet with two wraps but not in the self tailer. Hit the auto tack button and wait a second or two to throw off the working sheet. Then pull on the new workingsheet. Put a wrap then the self tailer and use the button for power to get the last little bit. Reposition the traveler.
Find it’s easiest when hard on the wind so go to that point of sail to start. After tacking go to desired course and trim.
When on the hydrovane it’s much harder to tack. Do the same thing as above but on occasion get caught in irons. The continuous loop that rotates the vane goes to the stern rail so it’s a bit of a struggle to get everything done in time. Find sometimes best to turn on the engine briefly after moving vane setting to more of a reach. Sort things out and then retrim to course. This means turning on a cold diesel, running it briefly, then turning it off. This is bad for the engine. Also my AP has a wireless remote. When I screw up it’s a help.
So don’t use the hydrovane when coastal just the AP. Had the same issues in prior boats with
Servo pendulums (Fleming, Monitor). Believe if you’re going to single an AP is a better choice to use then a vane. Think this is true regardless of size of the vessel or brand of vane.
Of course offshore a vane is a thing of beauty. No electrical draw. Spot on to awa. Noiseless.
Would mention if I need to gybe will do a chicken gybe. Turn the AP to standby. Put on a slight bit of wheel break. Have both sheets out of the self tailers (still with 3or 4 wraps) and in hand. Do the gybe while handling the sheets. Open the wheel brake and turn on the AP using wind angle. Usually set it to a reach. Sort myself out. Reset course and trim.
I don’t use this technique with the vane. Rather roll up the jib, chicken gybe, roll out the jib. Have the vane fixed amidships and reach back to play the wheel. It’s cumbersome even with another up to help let a lone when one up. Frequently if going down wind for awhile have no main. That’s easier. Have one sheet in the self tailer and push the button as needed as you ease the other while doing a standard gybe.

s/v Hippocampus
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