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Old 15-11-2011, 14:33   #1
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Cape Horn Windvane Self-Steering System

Next May (2011) I am planning a single-handed transatlantic trip (Maine to Mallorca) aboard my 50' classic yawl with wheel steering. I have an old Wood Freeman autopilot that works pretty well. However, I'd like to add a windvane self-steering system and am considering a Cape Horn system - the one Yves Gelinas used to sail around the world (and now manufactures). a I've reviewed many posts on self-steering with many comments on Monitor, Aries, Flemming, Sailomat, etc. There is very little posted on the Cape Horn system (mostly that its website dumps on the Monitor system) but no report of real experience with the system.

Is there anyone in this forum that has direct experience with the Cape Horn? If so, I'd appreciate your thoughts.

I should mention that I had a Monitor system on another boat I owned (also a yawl). It worked OK and the support from Scanmar was excellent. I just didn't like the lines in the cockpit to the wheel, the erector set on the stern and its poor performance in light airs.

So, any Cape Horn users out there?
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Old 15-11-2011, 14:54   #2
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Re: Cape Horn Windvane self steering system

[QUOTE
So, any Cape Horn users out there?[/QUOTE]

If you are serious about getting information, you could go to the Westsail owners association, pay the $20.00 fee to join and put the question to the membership. The association did a group buy for Cape Horn vanes a number of years back, and while most Westasails are tiller steering they still may be able to help with other questions.

Another company that you might consider is Fleming, I have had conversations with an individual who loves his.

WOA Home page
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Old 15-11-2011, 15:58   #3
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Re: Cape Horn Windvane self steering system

Hi
These are great suggestions. Will sign up on the Westsail site. I understand that the Fleming is a good unit ( a friend of mine did a few transatlantics on his Triton steered by a Fleming). But, for starters I live in Maine and Oka, Quebec (Montreal) is a lot closer than Australia if I need help installing and/or making the self steering system work. But at this point my mind is open. Thanks very much.
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Old 15-11-2011, 16:54   #4
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Re: Cape Horn Windvane Self-Steering System

I think the Horn appears like a great unit, actually met Yeves the owner of the firm a couple of years ago, found him standing next to my boat when she was on the hard. I had the same concerns with the Fleming, but when I look at contruction quality, basicly all stainless, cast gears and low weight the issue of Austrailian sourcing doesn't seem like such a problem. One of the issues with the Cape Horn that I don't care for is on some installations the transom has to be bored to accomidate a tube from the vane.
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Old 15-11-2011, 23:07   #5
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We installed a Hydrovane. Like it better than the monitor we had on our previous boat.
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Old 16-11-2011, 01:53   #6
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Re: Cape Horn Windvane Self-Steering System

We have a cape horn on Byamee. Not so good in light winds but excellent when it starts to blow . I believe they are the prettiest of all units..if that matters to you.

www.byamee.com
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Old 16-11-2011, 05:23   #7
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Re: Cape Horn Windvane Self-Steering System

Hi Tom

Thanks for the feedback and the URL. BYAMEE is one beautiful cruising machine! What an adventure you and your family are living! I note that you have a reverse transom. My boat is a Hinckley 50 yawl (31 GT; 28NT) with a classic aft-raked counter stern which would mean that the horizontal tube on the Cape Horn would have to be longer than on BYAMEE. I suspect that, in light airs, the Cape Horn system (and probably others) would not do well on my boat neither. But my boat with a deep long keel and heavy displacement doesn't do well in light airs in general. I assume that a blade/vane system needs a flow of water at a certain speed that powers the blade in order to generate the necessary force to the quadrant on the rudder post.

Although, appearance is not my prime consideration, it is a factor. The Cape Horn system seems less visually intrusive than the "erector set" configurations of other systems. I used to have a Monitor system on a Bermuda 40 I owned previously. My daughter, who was 8 years old at the time, said "Daddy, why don't you take that thing off the back of the boat. It looks stupid!" I later told the foreman of the Hinckley yard what my daughter had said. He responded in his thick Maine accent: "Way-al, when they're right, they're right." So I had them take off the Monitor and patch the holes. I had no trouble selling the Monitor for almost what I'd paid for it.

Cheers and smooth sailing!

Pat
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Old 25-11-2011, 06:00   #8
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Re: Cape Horn Windvane Self-Steering System

I have a CH mounted on my Heritage 35. It works a treat. No problem with the hole through the transom everything is epoxied solid again after the install anyway. Real Bonus is no lines to trip over in the cockpit! The block positions and fastening are critical in the lazzaret as there can be a lot of force generated. Downwind not so good but that could be me.
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Old 25-11-2011, 11:53   #9
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Re: Cape Horn Windvane Self-Steering System

Hi. Let me say Yve's is my hero. and has a fine Windvane! but there is also a kind of new kind at: The Steersman
Check it out, no strings attached in the cockpit etc. Looks like a brilliant ide' I will get one in the spring from Rob.
If you contact him, say hi From Hakan in Sweden
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Old 22-12-2011, 15:20   #10
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Re: Cape Horn Windvane Self-Steering System

I am still on the fence to get a Monitor or Cape Horn for my Westsail 28?
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Old 22-12-2011, 15:25   #11
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Re: Cape Horn Windvane Self-Steering System

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Originally Posted by svpattyd View Post
We installed a Hydrovane. Like it better than the monitor we had on our previous boat.
My friend installed a Hydrovane as well and loves it. He opted for that instead of the Cape Horn after hearing people say that for folks with worm steering (like me and him) got better light air performance out of it.
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Old 08-01-2012, 18:11   #12
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Re: Cape Horn Windvane Self-Steering System

Well I have one I am going to install on my 35 ft Dufour. Same as everyone looked at all the major players, after a major procrastination went for the capehorn for the following reasons.

Reasons why this one.

Guarantee: 28000 miles one circumnavigation.
Cruising package cost (spares), They don't have one, apparently they don't break:-)
Hardly no maintenance
Clever, does not take over the stern and the cockpit with lines etc.
Light air and downwind sailing is supposed to be good
Price is good

A very basic tiller pilot will allow the capehorn to steer the boat underpower.


It is going to be a pain in the arse to install I am not very good with building things, but it will get built slowly and right.
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Old 14-01-2012, 14:32   #13
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Re: Cape Horn Windvane Self-Steering System

Dont cut a hole in that beautiful boat!!!!!!....I sail a SW 50 Yawl to and from the Caribbean every year. If it were my decision, I wld seriously be considering a Hydrovane.
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Old 14-01-2012, 14:44   #14
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Re: Cape Horn Windvane Self-Steering System

Thanks, Simon

I came to the same conclusion, myself. That 4" hole in the transom bothered me also. Decided to go with a second autopilot (Simrad) as back-up to my trusty old Wood Freeman. I've got a 15 KW Westerbeke generator and 1100 amp-hrs in the house system so I should be OK.

Which SW50 yawl do you take to the Caribbean? Wouldn't happen to be Godspeed (ex-Cahoots) would it?

PJK
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Old 14-01-2012, 15:28   #15
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Re: Cape Horn Windvane Self-Steering System

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Originally Posted by simonEdwards View Post
Dont cut a hole in that beautiful boat!!!!!!....I sail a SW 50 Yawl to and from the Caribbean every year. If it were my decision, I wld seriously be considering a Hydrovane.

Each to their own, but settling for second best because of a hole in the transom? Please. That hole is seriously reinforced to say nothing of a great big piece of stainless steel glassed in. I do not believe that having a Capehorn gear installed has ever, and I repeat ever resulted in a transom failure!

Anyway my Capehorn is nicer than your other thingy! na,na,na,nar,na
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