The presence of wind powered self-steering is one of the surest ways to tell if a sailboat is used for passage making (sailing for extend times to different destinations). And Kaleo will soon enough be among the ranks of those boats. A wind powered self-steering system uses the wind to steer the boat on a steady course and once set, doesn’t require anyone to be at the helm. When sailing somewhere more than a few hours away, hand steering can be tiring and it’s hard to stay on the correct course after hours at the helm.
Cape Horn – Integrated Self-Steering System Schematic
We recently ordered our Cape Horn self-steering system and are now in the 6-8 week build window, anxiously awaiting its arrival. We did a lot of research on self-steering gear (in fact Matt read up on this topic before we even owned a boat) and considered many brands and types – Monitor, Hydrovane, self-made. We ultimately landed on the Cape Horn for three reasons:
- Its reputation among the blue water sailing community
- Its integration into the hull structure
- A recommendation from an Aloha 34 owner who sailed with it to the South Pacific
Custom made for each vessel, the Cape Horn is built in Canada and will arrive via UPS in the next few weeks. Expect some pics of us unwrapping the system and a post or two detailing the install.
For the crusing inclined, read on about our reasoning for going with a wind vane over an autopilot. There are advantages to both systems and since they both cost about the same we chose the wind vane because it:
- Requires zero power
- Functions no matter what the boat systems are doing (important if you’re offshore for extended periods of time)
- Requires crew dilegence in monitoring the wind and course (There is potential that an autopilot gives you an excuse to be lazy)
- Doesn’t involve a computer. After all, part of going cruising is to get away from daily dependence on computers :)
- It makes the boat look like a true blue water cruiser, which is very important for your in-port credibility!
Lastly, I can’t say enough about how great Yves Gélinas, owner, designer, and builder of Cape Horns was during the research and order process. Matt had so many questions that Yves answered and he even had numerous phone calls with Matt to talk him through the measurement and optimal install for Kaleo.