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  1. #1
    G12 is offline Registered User
    Location : West Cornwall
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    Default Self steering

    Hi everyone,

    I am considering doing the 2014 Jester. I will not be able to do next years due to a career change where I will have a substantial wage cut for 12 months and the boat (Shipman 28) will be stored ashore for that period. This will be good for working on her if nothing else.
    I have many questions I could ask but the first relates to self steering. It is at the moment the most expensive single piece of kit I will need to acquire.
    I would very much like a nice Hydrovane setup. I've not heard anything really bad about these except for the price which is rather astronomical. Maybe you do get what you pay for?
    The actual question is - are there any cheaper systems/setups that'd rival the performance of a Hydrovane at a much reduced price. I am happy to fabricate things if required.
    It is easy to look around the internet and see many designs but I thought I would ask people here based on their experience of the Jester.
    All advice greatly appreciated.

    Geoff.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2007
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    Default Self steering

    Hi Geoff,

    I have a Hydrovane on my boat and it has been very good. Only fault is that it doesn't like light airs downwind, so I have made a tiller for it and attach my Simrad tillerpilot to it, which has proved to be very effective. They are hugely expensive to buy, but when you come to sell the boat, take it off and sell it privately and you'll get your money back! If it's in good condition it will sell readily.

    I had an Aries on my previous boat and that worked well. The main disadvantage is that compared to the Hydrovane there's a lot of string in the cockpit, but it's an immensely powerful system. Again, not brilliant in light airs, but it is also possible to attach a tillerpilot to the vane for those conditions.

    I have a long keeled boat which is a nightmare to manouevre singlehanded in tight marinas - I then steer using the Hydrovane rudder (very powerful!) and have found that I can spin the boat on its own axis - impossible with the boat rudder. It is even possible to go astern with some semblance of intended direction. Additionally, the Hydrovane can be used as an emergency rudder if the main rudder is damaged, a good safety feature.

    The Hydrovane is not perfect, but none of them are, but on balance I prefer it to the Aries. I don't have any experience of any other vane gears, but I'm sure someone else will volunteer some info for you.

    Great to hear you'll be there for 2014!

    Regards
    Duncan

  3. #3
    G12 is offline Registered User
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    Hi Duncan,

    Many thanks for that. I am going to the boatshow sometime next week and will also see what's available. I will definitely be having a chat to the Hydrovane people and will see what else is about. The Aries seems to have a decent following from what I can gather after a bit of google time although there seems to be a few questions about the availability of spares. This seems to be somewhat offset by the fact that a 2nd hand one can be picked up considerably cheaper than a Hydrovane.
    I like the sound of being able to drive the vane with a tillerpilot in light air - I already have a couple of those so not too much drama to remount one further aft.
    One other thing that cropped up since I looked at the Aries website is that it is 35kg. Thats a fair old chunk of weight to move aft (just under half my bodyweight!) - my fuel tank is in the lazarette too so I will see if the Hv is any lighter. I suspect they're all fairly similar though having been fairly well made to withstand their environment.
    Thanks again for that Duncan.

    G.
    The prudent see danger and seek refuge.

  4. #4

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    Have a look at the Pacific Windpilot!

    It's only a matter of time before a few devotees reply to your thread.

    You'll find it's considerably lighter than most alternatives.

    I have a Navik, no longer manufactured, it's probably one of the lightest windvanes and worked for days and nights together during my Jester time but the pendulum rudder doesn't articulate for easy deployment and the adjustment of the vane is tricky when you have a transom hung rudder!!!

    I'm working on that one...

    All the best,

    Guy.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2007
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    Yes, another devotee of Windpilot.

    I now have a boat slightly larger and went for the next size up. Couldn't really fault it before other than fickle in very light airs but then again what would cope well in those conditions other than something 'electric' and even then.....!

  6. #6
    Alchemist V274's Avatar
    Alchemist V274 is offline Registered User
    Location : Home Norfolk, Boats in Brightlingsea and Ipswich, will work anywhere!
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    Looked at & liked the Hydrovane but funds not available! Found a second hand Sea Feather which has been excellent on my previous and current boat other than in light airs.

    I have found that down wind in F3 or less attaching a supermarket style plastic bag to the vane to act like a paracutue helps.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
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    Default self steering

    Hi everyone,
    Can't leave this without adding my bit, I'm full of praise for the Sea-Feather. Going to the Azores in 2008,I used it for 13 days it took me, apart from 36 hours with spinnaker up when I used a Raymarine tiller-pilot(take 2, you'll need one for spares)Only touched tiller briefly whilst making adjustments, the harder it blew the better it worked.Will be using it again in 2012 hopefully.
    Happy New Year to all, Nick Bridges(Trapper501, 'Dolphin of Fowey') nick2e1eod@yahoo.co.uk

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
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    Default sea feather

    Quote Originally Posted by Karouise View Post
    Looked at & liked the Hydrovane but funds not available! Found a second hand Sea Feather which has been excellent on my previous and current boat other than in light airs.

    I have found that down wind in F3 or less attaching a supermarket style plastic bag to the vane to act like a paracutue helps.
    Quote Originally Posted by nicholas49 View Post
    Hi everyone,
    Can't leave this without adding my bit, I'm full of praise for the Sea-Feather. Going to the Azores in 2008,I used it for 13 days it took me, apart from 36 hours with spinnaker up when I used a Raymarine tiller-pilot(take 2, you'll need one for spares)Only touched tiller briefly whilst making adjustments, the harder it blew the better it worked.Will be using it again in 2012 hopefully.
    Happy New Year to all, Nick Bridges(Trapper501, 'Dolphin of Fowey') nick2e1eod@yahoo.co.uk
    I everyone.
    know you the price about this equipment ? boat 25 feet.
    thanks.

  9. #9
    G12 is offline Registered User
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    So for those of you with Sea Feathers, what maintenance issues have you faced? Are there any issues with things needing regular replacement or has your unit been bombproof? Also, what are your customer service experiences?

    The thing that puts me off a smaller company is the spares availability issue in the future/reliability etc. On the flipside, I am happy to buy something from a smaller company though if it really works and is good value for money as smaller companies can often be better than the big players although Hydrovane's customer service is meant to be top notch.
    The prudent see danger and seek refuge.

  10. #10
    Pye_End's Avatar
    Pye_End is offline Registered User
    Location : N Kent Coast
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    Quote Originally Posted by G12 View Post
    So for those of you with Sea Feathers, what maintenance issues have you faced?
    Nothing broken on mine yet, although it has only been used for some coastal work so far. The wooden leg comes coated with 2 part varnish, but it is well worth putting a lot more on as it tends to catch the sun whilst in the marina. Most of the parts could be fabricated or found pretty easily in the case of failure, but I take your point about one or two of the harder components. A list of suppliers will eventually come in handy.

    Paul is helpful. Might be worth putting that point to him.

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