Quotes from satisfied CapeHorn Users
People who write to us not only say that the CapeHorn worked well: they write that it worked better than they expected, or better than other windvanes.
Message received Nov. 2008 :
“My CapeHorn has finally arrived. I am very impressed with the finish on it, It is very professional, compared to other products I have seen. It looks as though it was made by a company that believes in its product, and perfection. Thank you again for all the trouble you went to to ensure that I got it. It is gong to be a pleasure using it. Kind regards”
Received Feb. 2009 :
“I am so glad that I bought the Caphorn! I bought it as a backup to my electronic autopilot for the Governors Cup Yacht Race, 1750+ nautical miles from Cape Town to St Helena Island in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, between Africa and South America. After the first day of sailing and using my autopilot, my motor packed up and I was left with no means to recharge my batteries as much as the auto pilot consumed, so for the rest of the way I used the CapHorn; it was marvellous, allowing me to get sleep while racing single-handed against crewed yachts, and still come second in my class against these yachts.
It worked all the way, with me handsteering only in the lightest of breezes below 4 knots downwind. The rest it steered, beating and goosewinged, with spinnaker up, looking after me during sail changes, the works, it was a real godsend, my mechanical, wind-driven ship mate, that helmed far better than any crew member could have, without complaining, requesting only a little attention and wind to be fed on.
I have included a few photos, including the one of Moments approaching the finish line.”
Ian Williams, Ultimate 30 Moments
As a former engineer, what appealed to me about the design was its simplicity, the economy of mass, the quality of material, and an elegance of solution. In effect, rather than building onto the boat a massive structure to muscle the boat about and handle the resulting stresses, the Cape Horn becomes an integrated part of the boat, actually strengthening the boat structurally rather than burdening it, performing the one essential task of a guidance system, which is to direct the existing forces without adding to them.
Finally, after months of researching and then trying to imagine using the gear selected, what struck me most in actual use on our first day was how astoundingly simple it was. And now we look forward to freedom from the “tyranny of the tiller”, making using our boat even more of a pleasure.
William H. White, Cape Dory 28 Celtic Ray
Written soon after installing the CapeHorn gear in 2000:
“You will recall that my vane is offset about 18inches from the centerline. I have been eager to see if this affected anything because it appeared to work well inshore on either tack. I can now confirm this after more than 200NM in winds varying from 3 to 26 knots (with higher gusts) at a variety of angles. We have even sailed her overpowered, close hauled at 18-20kts (doing 7->8kts) with the leeward gunwale in the water much of the time and the oar a long way out of the water! Even stressed like this, I could not tell the difference between either tack. There was still plenty of power from the oar to steer.
We have sometimes been in 30kts on a 400NM leg with usually only one person on watch and single-handed gybing/sailing is easy. We have been sailing straight into the trade winds for the past week (and another week to go) and Flinders [our CapeHorn gear] has faithfully followed every wind shift. Today we were double reefed and close hauled in 20+ knots and heeled well over. With the offset vane, the pendulum was well out of the water but there was no deterioration in steering efficiency. Likewise, the wash off the mainsail seems to cause no harm (‘though I am sure it affects the absolute angle of the vane).”
Message received in 2006 :
“My CapeHorn is now about six years old and it continues to be the best addition we have made to our boat – ever. That’s the vote of my family! It has steered us through gales, storms, knockdowns, dismasting & man-overboard in a huge range of wind conditions. Recently, we were in dreadful weather with winds to 56 knots and we still had the light air vane mounted (it was too late to take it off!) Of course, the CapeHorn handled it all beautifully even though the vane was bent more than a big banana.”
“We have completed almost 20,000NM and eight years with our Cap Horn windvane and thought it was time to summarize how wonderful it has been. We bought it because our auto pilot failed us several times and we were always hearing similar stories from other cruisers. We studied the market very carefully for wind steering systems. There are many around and most owners liked whatever they had chosen. The main things we liked were simplicity and the fact that no power was consumed. Our yacht is 11.1 meters and though sturdily built, is relatively fast and light in weight. Until we found the Cap Horn, we did not like the idea of all that weight on the transom. We were struck by the cleverness of design in the CapHorn and the elegant appearance. We made enquiries and Yves Gelinas was extremely helpful answering questions. Not long after, we ordered our Cap Horn and were pleased with the effort that went into building it specifically to match the characteristics of our yacht. We were even more pleased when it arrived and we saw the very high level of engineering and workmanship. Installation was relatively easy and we have used it almost non-stop since then. The system is connected to our rudder circle via lines and blocks which we installed ourselves. Occasionally, a block breaks due to metal fatigue and we simply replace it- a matter of a few minutes, even if we are at sea. Perhaps we will change block manufacturer one day- t is a sharp bend in the metal of the block housing that finally fractures (after several years). Apart from the occasional block breakage, the CapHorn has been the most reliable piece of equipment on our yacht. Recently, we had our first problem when a bolt broke where the quadrant attaches to the horizontal tube. This damaged the quadrant, which is the earliest design and has since been replaced by a stronger design. The Cap Horn company has quickly sent us a new one from Canada to New Caledonia (where we have currently sailed from Australia). All they have asked for is that we pay the freight. This is the most amazing service and almost eight years since we purchased Indeed, there are plenty of companies which provide almost no service even within the warranty period. So, WELL DONE Yves and Éric. You make a fantastic product, at a realistic price, beautifully crafted, elegant to look at and your service is WONDERFUL…” A big “thank you”
David & Penny Kerr, Pastime of Sydney, Sydney, Australia 08-27-2007
I finally left Berkeley California and on my way South to San Diego, Mexico…
I’m very impressed by the vane! Worked fantastically the second I hooked it up! It’s probably the only thing I put on my boat that worked right away with nothing to tweak. So thank you. I’m excited to keep on sailing around the world with it.
Nicolas Timmerman, Albin Vega Yellow Feather, October 2015
After sailing 33 000 miles single-handed around the world with the CapeHorn at the tiller, I can say that it is indefatigable! I trusted it so much that in light air, under spinnaker, I would climb up the mast to shoot some pictures. Thank you Mr Gélinas for such a marvel. Without it, it would have been impossible to complete the voyage.
Sylvain Fortier, Sigma 30 Loreline, January 2015
“When someone says that their product is a work of art, and the best while being the least expensive, their claims are usually met with some scepticism, often deservedly so. Your CapeHorn steering system however has matched your claims. When it first arrived, I marvelled over it for at least an hour, partly for the exceedingly clever design you have come up with and partly for the quality of the construction. Those welds are beautiful.
And there were two more surprises awaiting me : I arrived at the boat at 1:00 PM Friday. By Saturday at the same time, I was off on a test sail. The installation was very straightforward. It would have taken even less time had the boat not been swinging at her mooring.
The last surprise came on the test sail when I finally shut the motor off and engaged the vane. I was expecting many many hours of tweaking and adjusting and such. In fact, I was a little nervous about using it for the first time. I had been looking forward to that moment for quite a while and I didn’t want to be disappointed. Well I wasn’t! I engaged the lines and off she went. What a thrill! I put about 50 miles on it that weekend and it behaved beautifully. Bermuda feels a little closer.”
Bryan Allen, Grampian 30 Gulliver
The Cape Horn has been installed for a few months now. So far it has taken me from San Francisco to Morro Bay. I’m heading down to Santa Barbara shortly. It works in everything from barely any wind to 30 knots so far. Here are some photos of the installation. I made a fiberglass gasket for it on the transom and put some gelcoat over it to make it look nice and pretty. I installed some preventer lines on the rudder that keep the rudder from ever banging into the wind vane, as well as offer good protection for the rudder against heavy following seas.
Thank you again for the wind vane, it’s a great piece of equipment!”
Hollin Wilkins, Contessa 26 Freya, August 2014
“Just a note from the North Atlantic to say how pleased we are with our Toucana. We have now completed passages from Florida to Bermuda and from Bermuda to the Azores and are currently underway from the Azores to the UK.
The wind steering has worked flawlessly on all points of sail and in a wide variety of wind and sea states.
Thanks for a job well done.”
Barrie Letts, Tradewind 34 Passat II, June 2014
You will recall that Thistle is our 1980 Valiant 37 Esprit and that your vane was installed around 2005. (…) The vane has worked perfectly. (…) We have now sailed from Seattle to Hawaii to Palmyra to Niuatoputapu to Vava’u to Opua to Great Barrier Island (NZ) and most recently on to Tubuai and Raiatea.
We never had to hand steer or use the autopilot, although we never had winds over 40 knots, no seas over 7 meters, and only 2 days on a drogue, in a total of 75 days at sea so far. Next we sail from Tahiti to Hawaii in November then back to Seattle in June of 2014 (…)
We love our Cape Horn! Thank you so much.”
Jamie Flowers, Valiant 37 Esprit Thistle, July 2013
“Just dropping you a note to say that I’ve finally installed the CH gear and it works like magic!
Thanks so much.”
David Davidse, Alberg 35 Zeelandia, July 2013
“Just thinking what a help and of all the relief your CapeHorn steering provided on board Malagueña sailing from Virginia to Ashkelon, Israel in 2010. The boat is still there – a Cheoy Lee Offshore 41 ketch – for use with and by men who have suffered severe PTSD. What a trip! Thanks again,”
Ed Vinson, June 2013
“We did a sea trial on Thursday this week, and the gear performed brilliantly. Holds course with autopilot input within ± 2 degrees, and under sail while fore-reaching ±3-4 degrees at 6 knots in 13 apparent. Downwind we sailed 3.5 in 4.5 apparent, wing and wing without whisker pole, replicating the picture on your website.”
Ben Hempstead, Mason 43 Triumph, July 2009
“I tested out your windvane steering here across the Gulf of Mexico last week for 315 miles from Pensacola to Venice, on my way to the Florida keys on my 33 Morgan Out Island with hydraulic steering. I just marvelled at it! Ha! Ha! Ha!!! I can’t believe somebody could come up with something like that!!! I’m 53 and made a living as a welder and pipefitter working closely with engineers my whole career, but this is the cleverest thing I have ever seen! I love just to stare at it and watch it do its thing . So I don’t have to steer, simply amazing. The thing is so well thought out. Like I said, it has to be the cleverest thing I believe I have seen. My hat is off to you. What a mechanical genius! Thanks again.”
Robert Allen, Morgan Out Island 33, Carmen, June 2009
“I have just over 4000 miles on the CapeHorn and it works perfectly. I rarely ever touch the wheel. It is slightly disconcerting to guests aboard, but they quickly adjust to avoiding the drudgery of the helm. I think I am going to Mexico after the Bahamas but as my boat is named after the God of Wandering who knows?
Your ardent supporter,”
Captain D. Quackenbush, Liveaboard Pearson 33 Hermes, December 2008
Message received Oct. 2005 :
“I have cruised about 10,0000 miles over the past 15 months, using my CapeHorn for 98% of the steering involved in those miles, and it works beautifully. Last summer, my wife and I went from Seattle, WA to Hawaii, then to Palmyra Atoll, back to Hawaii and on north to complete the summer in Seattle. One month ago we sailed down the Pacific Coast from Seattle to San Francisco, where our boat is currently tied up.”
” The only new issue with your remarkable piece of equipment is the vane itself. Hopefully the picture makes it with this message so you can see that the material has been severely battered by the sun and seas. Even so, it works flawlessly with the sailcloth repair tape that now completely enshrouds it. So, my hope is that you would be willing to send us a new vane and the top plastic tube piece… We are surely capable of making a new one, but it would not look as nice as your work. We are working on the circumnavigation, are still under 25,000 miles and within the 5 year limit of your very cool warranty”
Greg Krivonak, Jay Benford 34 Dory, junk-rigged Willow, 08-24-2007
” CapeHorn Self-Steering, made it possible to be free from the tiller for 99.9% of my trip.
Of 17300 nm, I only hand tilled along the coasts. I truly left the steering to the CapeHorn during every storm and through all the conditions. If there was enough wind to sail, the CapeHorn was steering.”
Donna Lange, Southern Cross 28 Inspired Insanity 05-07-2006
The system has worked beautifully all summer and we are planning our first trans-Atlantic with the boat (and the Toucana) next year.
The CapeHorn system is not well known at all in the UK and is generating lots of interest. I keep giving out your web address – so I hope you get some more custom!
Best wishes and many thanks for a great system.”
Chris Cotton, Lyle Hess Falmouth Cutter 30 Cloud, 10-18-2005
“After only about 3000 nm, US East Coast to the Azores via Bermuda, and 2 days in storm conditions with Hurricane Danny, I send this early status report of its performance: One word, Fantastic, describes it all. Plain and simple the best damn piece of gear on the boat except maybe the hull. Enough said. You are a genius.”
Bob Cooley, Westsail 32 Journey
“I’m now over 10,000 NM’s into the Atlantic Island cruise and the CapeHorn has steered 98% of the time. It is my number-1 most important tool on the boat. The device is not only elegant looking but a great performer under ALL points of sail and wind conditions and you can “quote me”. Thanks for the GREAT product.”
Don Goodspeed, Swan 43 Cygnus
“It’s the best damn piece of equipment on my Alberg 30!”
Gregory Daum, Alberg 30 Georgia
“I am very satisfied with the system and so far it has exceeded my expectations in all areas. I have even had people come up to me to talk about the boat and not even realize there is a self steering system on it. It is that unobtrusive. I also installed a tiller pilot to operate the system when under power. This worked flawlessly and held the course a lot closer than I can. When I install my new GPS it will be tied into the tiller pilot too.”
Bob Shelton, Dickerson 36 Aequanimitas
“I just wanted to send a quick note to comment you on the design and manufacture of an esquisite piece of gear, the Cape Horn Spray. It was my great pleasure to unpack my new Spray a couple of days ago and discover what everyone else has been raving about. The workmanship and design are first rate and I am now looking forward to installing and using it on my Hans Christian 43. Thanks for a beautiful product!
David Ingibergsson, Hans Christian 43T MKII Tambadil, November 2008
“Yves Gélinas tells us he first designed the CapeHorn for his Alberg 30 but I believe he secretly had a HC43T in mind! The unit is simple, elegant and works better than all our high expectations. It has steered us from New York to Australia with little maintenance and looks as new as the day we installed it. It has steered off the wind past Columbia in 30 knots and 15-foot seas, anywhere from two knots to nine knots of boat speed under spinnaker, poled out genoa and mainsail to the Marquesas. It hunted the fickle head winds to Galapagos and performed remarkably in all conditions in between! Of all the wind vanes we have seen on cruising boats over the past 2 years, the CapeHorn is simply the best looking.”
Christine and Michael Wiggins, Hans Christian 43T Ulu
“We have completed the installation of the CapeHorn Spray self-steerer on the 43′ Hans Christian Prologue. The owner then departed for a ten day shakedown cruise and is absolutely ecstatic about not only the performance of the unit, but also in the overall quality of the product. During the installation (which went very smoothly), there was a tremendous amount of interest from other owners in the product and if it could be adapted to their vessels.”
Neal and Mary-Anna Cirlot, Venture Marine, San Diego
“As you know I had previously sailed with Aries and Monitor vanes, although not with a Fleming. The CapeHorn begins where the others left off!! It has to be the most incredible experience in sailing I have felt in many, many years. Upwind, dead downwind, spinnaker up, storm sails up, full main, fully reefed main, close hauled, broad reaching “The Sorcerers’ Apprentice’ doesn’t care. He just does his job! Doesn’t eat too much either! […]Prior to leaving the La Cruz area I finally got around to installing the Autohelm 1000 on my CapeHorn – only after having to listen to Bill on “Prologue”. My sistership HC 43 that put a CapeHorn on in San Diego after seeing mine – rave about how well his worked and how much better it was than his big Robertson autopilot. He was right! Why I’ve been carrying around the Autohelm 1000 “in case my Autohelm 6000 goes on the fritz” I’ll never know! The CapeHorn/Autohelm 1000 works better than the 6000 ever did – and I have always liked the 6000. The 1000 steers a better course, much truer, with far less effort and, certainly, far less amps than the big one. […] Enough extolling the virtues of what I consider to be the finest piece of marine gear to come down the pike in a long time.”
Captain Keith E. Holmes, Hans Christian 43T Lady Guinevere
“We have had all kinds of weather to test the Jean-du-Sud and it has performed very well as usual. Yesterday we had a 35-40 knt gale and we left it to look after the boat on a broad reach while we went below. We are now in sight of the Greenland coast and will be making landfall at Nuuk which is the capital.”
Tony Wright, Aloha 32 Meriah
“I have been highly satisfied with its performance including an eight day passage from Georgetown, Bahamas to Roadtown, BVI’s. During this passage the vane performed in winds over 55 knots during one 12 hour period and in winds as low as 5 knots directly from aft and on both aft quarters, in following seas of 10 to 25 feet, typically the hardest point of sail for a vane. On other points of sail it has an easier time to steer. (…) I installed it myself in two days with the very comprehensive instructions included with the vane. Yves, the builder, has engineered an impressive performing product that looks very good. (…) I am very happy with it and considering the options like Monitor which are expensive, ugly, run lines through your cockpit, effectively ruin your swim platform, not to mention over-advertised. I didn’t see any real alternatives to the CapeHorn. Highly recommended and a super product.”
Greg Caws Beneteau Moorings 432 Alisee III
“Emotion was great when we turned the helm of our Veliserdi over to our CapeHorn ; we saw quickly that it was the best helmsman aboard! Thank you.”*
Diane Messier and Serge Charbonneau, Corbin 39 Veliserdi
“This letter is long overdue and is intended to convey to you my complete satisfaction with the CapeHorn self-steering system. I have used this system extensively both when sailing and motorsailing during the past six months during my voyage from Florida to Trinidad and it has performed flawlessly. Not only is it an excellent functional member of my crew, it is also the most aesthetic self-steering system on the market. Well done.”
Bruce Richardson, Nicholson 31 Chance Encounter
“Since our departure from N.-Sydney until Brest, our CapeHorn steered expertly and without fault, even beyond our expectations.”*
Daniel Chabot, Kelt 8,5m Exil
“We are very, very happy with our CapeHorn self-steerer. We often thought about you, and about how simple and precise a self-steerer you have conceived. It has been uncommonly faithful and we wish it becomes the pride of thousands of boats.” *
J -G. Petipas and J -C Fréchette, Mason 33 Petit Pas
“A few words about our Jean-du-Sud. We are pleased. It did not take us through hurricanes; however it did take us through a tropical storm. Because all our front halyards were broken, we could not use a foresail, and with only a triple reefed main, the Jean-du-Sud kept us on course for over 40 hours during which time we could not even go out into the cockpit. We are pleased with the CapeHorn and recommend it to interested sailors.”
Peter and Pauline MacLean, Contessa 32 Pendragon
“The CapeHorn gear worked wonderfully well throughout the trip. It was voted ‘crew’s pick for best piece of equipment’ after the trip south. Basically, if there was any wind at all we did not steer the boat regardless of point of sail.”
Wilson Fitt, Benford 38 cutter Christina Grant
“The wind was south at 20 – 25 and seas were huge. We were almost dead downwind under 120% genoa. We are pleased and impressed as the CapeHorn handled all that down wind sailing with big seas at least as well as we could have done hand steering.”
Gil and Judy Steinfort, Allied Seawind 32 ketch Daybreak
(After receiving the CapeHorn, 06-11-95) : “You are right: your windvane is a work of art!”
(After reaching Tahiti, 08-24-96) :” I’ve had lots of talks with other ‘yachties’ about their self-steerers. None seem to perform as well as the CapeHorn. It’s too bad Consumer Reports (or something like that) don’t do a comparative analysis. I think your CapeHorn would win.”
David Sanborn Scott, Niagara 35 Starkindred
“Top prize for equipment goes to the CapeHorn Self-Steering gear, which had been personally installed by the designer/builder Yves Gélinas (merci beaucoup, Yves !). It performed flawlessly: it must be the finest piece of equipment we have ever used. ”
Bruce Pettitt and Jacqueline Giannini, Gozzard 32 Wave Equation
“Xapic, our Westsail 32, made the passage from the Chesapeake to Puerto Rico via Bermuda, and I just wanted to let you know that our CapeHorn vane handled everything from long rounds of motoring (when I managed to stumble into the center of the Bermuda High–we have a very ancient TillerMaster–1976 model–tied to the CH auxiliary control via a throttle cable) to squalls with 45-50 kt gusts with no problems at all. Cap’n Keven, as we call our vane, is the most impressive piece of gear we have aboard and our most reliable crewman. What a marvel of engineering and function blended beautifully together.”
Rick Kennerly Westsail 32 Xapic
“Rudy (our CapeHorn) continues to steer us mile after mile with not a complaint. He is truly remarkable and the most amazing crewmember we have ever had. Coupled with Tillie at his shaft, he seems to smile while she tells him where to steer. What more can we ask?”
Tom Patterson , Shannon 43 Satori
“I do not think that any human being can steer the boat so precisely for so long and no Autopilot will do it as cheap as your system. It is worth every penny I paid for it. ”
Chris Katehis Alberg30 Kasia
“I sailed for about an hour at a close reach at about 5.5 knots and the course never changed more than 5 degrees. Unbelievable! I had never seen wind that steady. Tried my auto-helm for comparison and it could do no better than 10 degrees. Bottom line : I am very impressed with the Varuna’s performance. The stronger the wind, the better it steered.”
Dieter P. Newman, Pacific Seacraft Dana 24 Christina
“The vane worked exceedingly well. We had some stormy weather, and as we ran under rolled up genoa, the vane steered better than a human – the response was so fast. Very impressive. Even under light airs, steers great. You certainly have designed and produced a fantastic vane. Many admirers along the way south.”
Ray Cumberworth, Wauquiez Prétorien 35 Puffins
“By dawn it was blowing in excess of 35 kts. in big seas, directly down wind. The CapeHorn vane kept us on a down wind course better than any crew could steer. This was the acid test — the boat did not broach once and the CapeHorn vane operated without flaw.
I am over delighted with your system! “I must compliment you on your design, use of superior materials and ease of understand your installation instructions for your Jean-du-Sud, CapeHorn Self Steering Vane. I was very impressed with the installation simplicity by following your written instructions. Merci pour le pouvoir du cerveau.”
Capt DaveFerneding, Pearson Alberg 35 Cielo
“The CapeHorn Self-steering unit is wonderful! It works on all points of sail and seems to excel when the wind really starts blowing. After our hydraulic steering was disabled during a knock down on the passage to New Zealand, our CapeHorn steered flawlessly for the next four days in 40 to 70 knot winds. We were always happy with it, but now we truly love it.’ In my opinion no serious offshore boat should be without some sort of self-steering gear. Autopilots break and demand a lot of electricity. We especially like how the unit looks, very unobtrusive, on the transom of Never Monday.” [ www.nevermonday.com]
John Ferguson and Diana Ruff, Morgan Out Island 33 Never Monday