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Which Self Steering System?

By Sue Richards last modified Sep 06, 2008 05:00 PM

Published: 2008-09-06 17:00:41
Topics: Equipment

I am preparing my boat to go from Britanny (France) to French Polynesia. I want to buy self steering because I have no genset and I want an emergency rudder. I have been reading your books and you speak of different models: Windpilot; Hydrovane. Hydrovane can be located "off centre " and it's possible to install a Duogen on the other side. In your opinion, what's the best choice, the Windpilot or the Hydrovane?

First of all, the choice of selfsteering gear depends on your type of boat. It is not such an easy decision!

Hydrovane has one great advantage: it can be used as an emergency steering if the main steering system fails. Therefore it should not be mounted off-centre!

If you decide to - or are forced - to install the gear off-centre, maybe you should buy Windpilot. Contact Peter Forthman on


Jimmy Cornell


On my HR42F "Alba" I mounted the Hydrovane 10" to port due to the boarding ladder. It has worked very well for thousands of miles. The only thing is that on one tack it is slightly more immersed, but even so the difference in performance is minimal.

My next project when I finally get back on board at Shelter Bay Marina in Panama in January, is to fit to the Hydrovane the small Raymarine Tiller Pilot 1000, another possibility with this system. I should then be able to be on autopilot (no wind and calm) without using the ST7000 main autopilot and, very importantly, with all the steering system locked with consequently no wear and tear on cables, pulleys, rudder bearings, etc.

Thanks for Noonsite!