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Old 22-07-2017, 15:50   #16
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Join Date: Jan 2015
Location: Alaska for work , the Passoa is stranded in NZ
Boat: Garcia Passoa 50, ex Dix 38 pilothouse
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Re: Hydrovane vs Auto Pilot Opinions

I have both.

I have 10000 miles on the hydrovane and its one of the nest pieces of kit I own. I wouldnt do any ocean crossing with out one. Its been very low maintainence.

I also have an electronic autopilot as I single hand frequently its a life saver, when cruising in light wind places.

The hydrovane also gives you emergency steering and I have also been looking inot picking up a tiller pilot on ebay and having as a backup incase the auto pilot becomes inop.

if you have the money now and you think youll use it in the future put it on before you leave.

LD
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Old 22-07-2017, 18:32   #17
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Boat: Catalina 470
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Re: Hydrovane vs Auto Pilot Opinions

I Hadbeen, I have a hydrovane and have used it on two boats, one smaller old boat one ,newer larger boat. I agree with most of what you post accept there is no problem with the purely wind operated hydrovane regarding wind not being efficient alone to steer operate rudder.

With older smaller boat there was actually no limitations that I found, on my newer bigger, faster boat there is one. Hydrovane now have a extendable vane that makes a big difference when steering larger faster yachts in light airs but faster heavier can cause some issues when surfing. If you get pushed alot of course while surfing down a wave the auxiliary rudder although fully over sometimes dosent have the power to correct, just not big enough. You must trim the main rudder to help it. But if you trim the rudder to much when you are almost ddw you can end up backing the genoa unintentionally, its a fine line.

Overall though I think its great for ocean crossing, im a big fan, redundancy in both rudder and self steering while using no electricity.

On bigger faster modern boats I agree that modern autopilots steer the boat better which wasnt the case with my smaller older boat.

If only coastal I would just have the autopilot.

Cruising is changing, windvanes are becoming less seen, hf's are getting replaced by satellite, lightwind continuous line furlered sails rather than poling headsails, watermakers etc etc.....
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Old 22-07-2017, 21:18   #18
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Re: Hydrovane vs Auto Pilot Opinions

One of the things I love about this forum is the dissemination of information. As my boat slowly comes together I have been trying to figure out an autopilot. I am strictly coastal and trailerable. I don't like long stretches on the tiller. So, when there are things to do that need attention...that autopilot ...my goodness what a wonderful thing.


thanks for whoever gave the information for pelagic auto pilot. Never heard of them before. Any other skippers have any input positive or negative about them? The price is pretty good compared to other robust auto pilots for tiller applications.
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Old 22-07-2017, 21:20   #19
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Re: Hydrovane vs Auto Pilot Opinions

thanks for the link on pelagic auto pilot. Good price for a fairly robust unit
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Old 18-08-2018, 15:27   #20
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Boat: Murray 33-Chouette & Pape Steelmaid-44-Safara-both steel cutters
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Re: Hydrovane vs Auto Pilot Opinions

Old thread but I thought I would add my comments anyway. I have an 8 ton 33’ Steel cutter. It has a home built Buehler (sp?) designed home built auxiliary rudder vane. Very well constructed. It also had an old 3000 wheel pilot. The boat has a 13 HP Volvo MD7A diesel.

I’ve had to do a LOT of bashing where I was motor sailing. The shell ap drove the main rudder, the prop walk was an issue and would overwhelm the ap on one tack.

I eventually dumped the ap and now keep the vane permanently fixed. When motoring I center the boat, use the main rudder to neutralize the prop walk and set the wheel brake. Then I engage my tiller pilot to a small tiller onto the six rudder. Because the aux rudder is semi balanced and so far aft, transome hung, it easily steers the boat. I can do this while sailing also to help balance.

If I’m hand steering under power for any reason then I use the ap to neutralize the prop walk so that the main rudder is neutral.

The vane works as intended for sailing purposes. As noted you can use the main rudder to help balance the boat.

This is an aft cockpit boat, when maneuvering in tight spaces I use both rudders to swing as tight as possible. I can reach the tiller and wheel, but it is best to have some practice in modern dance or ballet to do it gracefully.
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