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A Step Closer & Staying On Course

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:

  1. Its reputation among the blue water sailing community
  2. Its integration into the hull structure
  3. 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 GĂ©linas, 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.

Some Gear That Keep Us Going

We’ve certainly started more projects than have finished lately. It seems that in the boating world parts take longer to arrive than the time it takes to do the actual project. We’re currently waiting on the delivery of items such as dorade cowls, a finished bathroom counter top & revamped companionway doors.

So while we have less completed project updates, we do have a few tools that we’ve started relying on time and time again. The first is a custom screwdriver called a Picquic.

Matt first read about this at Navagear and I (Christie) got him the Mariner for Christmas! It’s especially handy because it was custom ordered with the bits we need most (e.g., a square bit because our Canadian boat was built with square screws).

A second tool that sees a lot of use is the Power8 Workshop, basically the most common power wood working tools combined into one flexible unit. Another holiday gift (it was a good Christmas for Matt), this makes it easy for him to handle projects and fabricate parts that he would normally have to pay someone to do. A bonus for boating life is that it packs into a small case and is powered by batteries, meaning it can be used in remote anchorages or when away from a power source.

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Volvo Ocean Race Gear …

Straight from Sweden. Our friend Jenny, who works for Sony Ericsson, sent us a sweet backpack & shirt from her adventures in Marstrand (a port of call in The Volvo Ocean Race).

The shirt is that great wicking material & it just looks racy. I’m going to want to put Kaleo’s rail in the water & sail fast every time I wear this. Though I do feel a little bad wearing this gear since I was cheering for team Puma, who took 2nd behind Ericsson 4, throughout the race.

Thanks Jenny for the great gear!

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Transparent Canoe

I would really like to have this.

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