#1 2018-02-16 18:06:19

Registered: 2017-08-10
Posts: 12

Self-Steering gear - Victoria 34 - Hydrovane versus Servo Pendulum?

Hi folks,

I am considering fitting self-steering gear to my V34. I have previous experience of the Aries 'lift-up' (fitted to my Rival 34) and early Hydrovane VXA11 self-steering gear (fitted to my Biscay 36 ketch).

Both designs are very good, but each has their pro's and con's of course.

I am swaying towards a Monitor being honest and note that several Victoria and Francis 34s have been fitted with Monitor. On the same note, I also see that many Hydrovane's have also been fitted (details on each of the vendor's web sites).

I would be interested in any feedback members have based on their experiences of either designs.

Many thanks.


Victoria 34 Cutter - 'Anitra'.


#2 2018-04-08 20:10:30

From: Guernsey
Registered: 2017-04-07
Posts: 12

Re: Self-Steering gear - Victoria 34 - Hydrovane versus Servo Pendulum?

Hi Charlie,

You may already have made a decision, but if not here goes.  I am the happy skipper of Pippin, a 1997 Frances 34 Pilothouse, which came with a brand new Hydrovane.

To be honest I was scared stiff of it until I tried it for the first time and since then I have been delighted with it, particularly as I had considerable autopilot issues on my trip from Guernsey to Baltimore.   So, though no expert in such matters, here is my list of Pros and Cons;

Pros (though some of these will apply to other types too);
1.  Bullet proof (will handle a considerable impact from astern without damage, as I have discovered).
2.  Simple to use.
3.  Can even be used gently motor sailing.
4.  OK with wind well aft of the beam.
5.  Makes me a better sailor as you have to get the balance right.
6.  It can be used as an emergency rudder.

1.  Expensive.
2.  Blade can really only be shipped at the dockside, or from a dinghy in calm water (can be unshipped easily at sea with a retaining rope).
3.  Does affect handling under engine in close quarters, but not unduly so.

I hope that helps.  Do contact me if I can help further - either on this means or email jmwillis290@gmail.com

John Willis


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