Your most frequently asked questions… answered.

Editor’s notes (2019)

The FAQ and discussion below has been mildly edited to eliminate typos, make it clearer who the authors are and which boats they themselves have (by hull number and boat name if known). Wherever possible alternative (i.e. current) references to products & suppliers are provided.

The bulk of this FAQ was originally generated as a Q&A in the period 2005 – 2015. In this period Lester Helmus acted as a clearing house for questions and responses, but some respondents would also write direct to each other, hence some of the overlapping answers you see in the FAQ. In places there are 2019 and subsequent comments, drawing either on my own experiences, or from other Corbin 39 owners and sources, including our Corbin 39 Group on Facebook. More comments are most welcome and this FAQ will inevitably grow.

We have attempted to contact all contributors to the 2015 version of the FAQ. All responses have been most supportive, thank you. If you are a contributor who has yet to respond please contact us.

As will be apparent there are multiple viewpoints on some topics. Sometimes, but not always, this can be traced to differences in arrangement between the boats of the various authors. Some of the topics raised are not so much a Q&A, as simply being a statement of why a particular owner thought something was a good idea, which of course it may not have been at all. Make your own mind up.

If you have further comments or suggestions on any of these questions, or wish to pose new questions, or describe various issues you have faced and/or overcome, then please contact us either via the Facebook Group or via the Website.

[Remark as of November 2019: Quite a lot of the links to drawings & photos are not yet reinstated due to workload. However I also know quite a few of the relevant images have gone astray. You may find the relevant photos in the individual boat’s entry. Please email us if you have any of the missing photos, drawings, etc.]


What is the best windvane to use with stern davits and cockpit hydraulic steering? Glen Davies (#078, Half Normal Saline) a. Your question regarding windvane/selfsteering systems has finally been forwarded to me on board. I have at one point studied this question quite a bit. I finally opted for an electric/hydraulic autopilot system in the engine room. The main reason was so that I would be able to install davits for my Zodiac. I have designed an integrated davits, outboard mount, solar panel and windcharger structure which extends more than 4 feet at the stern making it impossible to install a windvane. As I have Navico/Corus (Now Simrad) instruments and already had the Navico WP300 wheelpilot in the pilothouse, I installed the Navico Ocean Navigator pilot in the engine room. I am very pleased with it. It is its 3rd year of extensive use both in the Gulf and in the Saint-Lawrence River without any hitch (touch wood!) and it actually steers better than most people can. If I had gone the windvane route, I probably would have chosen the Monitor system which seemed to be a good fit for our kind of boats. Good luck.” Claude Gagnon (s/v #159, Corail IV)

I have hull #127 a “Special Edition” aft cockpit cutter which I’m currently overhauling. I am looking at improving the steering systems which currently consist of dual mechanical stations. The pedestal is an Edson classic, the upper station has cable in conduit (conduit about 10′ long on each side) and the lower station is also cable in conduit which has about 17′ on each side. Each station has it’s own quadrant with the outside one fixed and the lower one backed off so it is not operable without a pin being engaged to connect the rudder post to the shaft. My concern is twofold: First, the outside station has a fair bit of drag in it which I’d like to eliminate or at least reduce considerably. My second concern is that the connecting pin for the lower station is inadequate for the forces on the quadrant that should rely on clamping friction to transfer the loads. I’m thinking of adding some idlers and sheaves to operate the upper station with an open cable arrangement, along with ensuring the lower station quadrant is not dragging which hopefully will resolve the friction in the upper station. Next I would replace the wire & conduit in the lower station to reduce that friction. If lucky I can connect both stations all the time without too much friction. Can any of our members suggest anything else? I don’t think I want to change over to a hydraulic system. Jack Verheyden (s/v #127, Kathrian).

a. I have my question answered. I installed a Jefa steering system, similar to the Whitlock, but with reduction gears and shafts…Works GREAT. Jack Verheyden (s/v #127, Kathrian)

I have Corbin 39 # 154 and it does not have an inside steering arrangement. As the boat is on the Gulf coast, it may not even need one. However if we ever headed north it would be good to be in the protected pilot-house. Any thoughts on systems and solutions? Tim Baggett, (#154, Brillo del Sol)

a. For my Corbin I changed both steering stations with a direct shaft & gear system from Jefa and couldn’t be more pleased. Jack V., (#127, Kathrian).

b. Two Pelicans is “fitted for but not with” inside steering and engine controls. It would be simple to connect the engine controls with a Vetus steering pump coupled to a bypass valve and some hydraulic tubing. Then, she could be operated from the pilothouse. I have never considered this option as the operator would have extremely limited vision. Jeremy P., (#101, Two Pelicans).

c. I have inside steering, but no engine controls. The steering wheel is a nice luxury, especially with the Captain’s chair; but I would use the Monitor when sailing on the open sea and I would use the autopilot when motoring. In addition, when motoring in close quarters I would be outside, in the cockpit. Inside steering is not needed, really. Lester H. (#010, Insouciance).

d. A little more info would be helpful. What is your present setup (i.e., cable, hydraulic)? If your system is hydraulic it would be easy to expand to include a second station and autopilot. I have a two station Wagner & Novice AP. The installation is strait forward, copper tubing, flaring and compression fittings. This is not a cheap way to go but if your present system is hydraulic your half way there, and it’s pretty bulletproof . Bill C. (#095, Coochi).

e. We have inside steering on “#050, Opportunity”. We never use it, partly because of our “local” sailing activity. If you stand in the wheelhouse and look out of the forward windows you will realize how restricted the visibility is. Additionally, you cannot see much of the sails. However, if you were out for an extended period in bad weather I suppose it would be useful to be able to steer from inside but only if you were not concerned about visibility. That would mean that you were not close to hazards and there was little boat traffic nearby. We have Wagner hydraulic steering for both the cockpit and in the wheelhouse so the installation was not difficult (when building the boat!). Both sets of hydraulic lines lead to a Tee near the hydraulic ram. The hydraulic autopilot (a pump) links in to the same system. I don’t know what your primary system involves. We also have duplicate engine controls. Parallel cables are attached to the throttle and the gear shift so operating one moves the other. Friction isn’t a problem. There is also an ignition switch and glow plug heater switch (for our VW diesel) adjacent to the inside steering. The analog rudder angle indicator is also duplicated here. So that is a lot of extra equipment. I was surprised to find I don’t have a decent photo of the set up, just this scan of an old photo. The wheel is on the centreline and the “step” is needed to cover the rear of the engine. It is also useful to see out a little higher up! I hope this helps. Regards, David S., s/v #050, Opportunity
f. I have a second steering station in the pilothouse. The outside and inside steering wheels have individual hydraulic pumps hooked up to the same ram. It works beautifully. HOWEVER, I’ve sailed many miles since the year 2000, including an Atlantic crossing, and, as far as I can remember, only used the inside steering one time while motoring on a cold rainy day (that’s before I had an autopilot). Why? because you can’t see what lies ahead all that well…or not at all. (by the way, I’m 6′ 2″ and my head touches the ceiling). The flaw is that the Corbin pilothouse is too low [note, this is a mk1 that Horacio is describing, it is a little better in a mk2 in this respect]. Sailing in close quarters, it’s useless; sailing in open ocean, it’s also useless because you have the autopilot on. I suggest that you stand in the pilothouse, as though steering, and ask yourself whether you’d feel comfortable with your field of vision forward (with the boat in the water and preferably not with the boat stripped in “on the hard mode”). If you add a dinghy on deck, an unrolled genoa, staysail, etc., it’s like sailing into the unknown. Setting the autopilot and occasionally scanning the horizon while standing on the companionway ladder is much better and safer. If you were in Portugal, I’d sell you mine and use the money to buy a radar and AIS. Merry Christmas and safe sailing. Horacio M., (#073 Jakatar), Peniche, Portugal.

g. Thanks Horacio, I am getting pretty much the same opinion about wheelhouses–no one uses them. Just felt if we ever came your direction it would be great to have. I do have autopilot with remote so that should do. On a side note I just read Laurence Bergreen’s OVER THE EDGE OF THE EARTH a tome about Ferdinand Magellan’s adventure to locate the Spice Islands. It is very good. Thanks for your time and the very informed response. Happy Holidays, Tim Baggett, Nacodoches, Texas, (#154, Brillo del Sol).

a. Yes, definitely yes. Read our webpage Voyaging with 2Extreme for a good reason to do so. On a voyage from New Zealand to Fiji, Henry McAlarnie lost steering due to a severed rudder post. voyagingwith2extreme.htm Be sure to check for electrical continuity between the zinc and the rudderpost, if you attach the zinc to the rudder shoe. On the other hand, if you have a self steerer, you can hang the zinc externally from the steerer with a wire to the rudder post inside the boat. Lester

Please also cross-reference to the FAQ entry on Keel Repairs as there is information in that FAQ entry which is equally relevant to Rudder & Skeg Repairs.

Here is a 2021 article on Keel & Skeg Repairs that was collated in 2021:

download article as pdf (version without photos, 127kb)

download article as pdf (version with photos, 20mb)

– photo gallery associated with repair of #086, “Stella”, formerly “Jack Iron”

– photo gallery associated with repair of #135, “Petit Chantier”, formerly “Necessity”

– photo gallery associated with repair of #174, “Anakena”


The entries below were collated up until 2019.

The skeg on my boat got hit and has some movement….cracking at the skeg – hull joint and the rudder does not turn all the way to the right. I think the rudder post may have a bend. Do you know anyone who has any experience in how to best pull out the rudder post, as well as in reinforcing the skeg. Bill Swales. (#042, Blondie Too)

a. Dear Bill, I presume your boat is out of the water! If the rudder shaft is bent it sounds as though it might be close to where the skeg joins the hull. To remove the rudder, if the boat is sitting on its cradle, you will need to dig a hole below the rudder, maybe as much as 3 feet deep, depending on the shaft length inside the boat. The rudder may be quite heavy, depending on whether it is filled with foam or a more solid fibreglass mixture. If it has the standard 1.5″ diameter shaft then it is pretty heavy on its own. The shaft should also have a web of stainless flat bar, or other shapes, inside the rudder structure to counteract the torque on the rudder. The photos show: the Corbin drawing with location of rudder, shaft and skeg (see below) ; my drawing of the rudder internal steel structure (see below) ; and a photo of the rudder internals, with plywood fitted to stainless flatbar to improve cross-sectional curvature (below) . To remove the rudder you will need to remove the metal tiller arm inside the boat and any collars, plus loosen the stuffing box nuts. If the shaft is bent it may help to remove the stuffing box completely from the support platform as you will then have a larger diameter hole to allow a non-concentric shaft to be removed. Outside, you will need to unbolt the heel fitting. On my boat, Hull #50, it is a bronze fitting held with 4 or 6 slotted head machine screws that clamp the fitting around a reduced size section of the skeg. Be prepared to support the weight of the rudder as the heel fitting is removed! I had to bend my rudder shaft back into a straight line after I got it back from the welding shop as the heating had caused distortion. This was before the rudder cheeks were installed so it was a somewhat easier job. I used a heavy section I-beam and pulled the rudder shaft onto it with large C-clamps. I had a thin piano wire stretched along the shaft to show when it was straight. It required “overbending” as there was some spring back after the clamps were removed. The attachment of the skeg to the main hull was probably done in one piece during the initial moulding. It would appear to be a potential area of weakness. When I drilled out for the original installation of the shaft there was a solid, blue, thickened resin filler material in the centre. To reinforce the area for a repair one method could be by embedding stainless rods by drilling from immediately above, provided you can get access to the area. Grinding back on each side of the skeg/hull area would allow epoxy and fibreglass patches to be added. A heavy roving or unidirectional fibreglass (Liasil) may be suitable. This may be where a naval architect should be consulted. Good luck. David Salter “#050, Opportunity” located in Bath, west of Kingston, ON .

b. Hello Bill. How are you? How did you damage your skeg? Did you hit something or just by using it. Could you send me pictures. When you knock on it with a hammer, does the skeg feel soft or solid? Where are you located? And what is your hull number? Maybe I can help you. [edit: GD was the yard manager at Corbin les Bateaux]. Best regards, Gaetan Duchesne, (#165, Therese Vincent).

I have hull #127 (#127, Kathrian)…a “Special Edition” rear cockpit cutter which I’m currently overhauling. I am looking at improving the steering systems which currently consists of dual mechanical stations. The pedestal is an Edson classic pedestal and the upper station has wire in conduit (conduit about 10′ long on each side) and the lower station is also wire in conduit which has about 17′ on each side. Each station has it’s own quadrant with the outside one fixed and the lower one is backed off so it is not operable without a pin being engaged to connect the rudder post to the shaft. My concern is twofold. First, the outside station has a fair bit of drag in it which I’d like to eliminate or at least reduce considerably. Secondly, I’m concerned that the connecting pin for the lower station is insufficient for the forces on the quadrant that should rely on clamping friction to transfer the loads. I’m thinking of adding some idlers and sheaves to operate the upper station with an open cable arrangement, along with ensuring the lower station quadrant is not dragging which hopefully will resolve the friction in the upper station. Next I would replace the wire & conduit in the lower station to reduce that friction. If lucky I can connect both stations all the time without too much friction. Can any of our members suggest any? I don’t want to change over to a hydraulic system. Jack Verheyden Hull #127 (s/v #127, Kathrian)

a. Hello Jack. Cable steering is not really a good way to go for the reasons you have stated. An alternative to cable and hydraulic systems is the mechanical systems using direct torque tube systems or rod steering. The system was introduced by Whitlock Marine Steering Systems (now under Lewmar ownership) and eventually by Edson. We installed the original Whitlock Cobra dual steering system comprised of torque tubes, universal joint coupling assemblies and all coupled to a powerful gearbox assembly which is coupled to the rudder post via a short lever giving a variable ratio speed to the rudder. Rudder feedback is excellent and once set up, requires no maintenance. We have installed an integral autopilot to this system which requires very little power but has lots of torque. Our boat “#023, Simmerdim” was the first Corbin to use this system and during the construction stage of our boat we were visited by engineers from CS Yachts who eventually also used this system with great success. A couple of Corbin builders were able to purchase the Whitlock Steering components when CS Yachts ceased production. These units however did not use the gearbox system. The cockpit pedestal has 2 turns lock to lock and the inside station has 3.5 turns lock to lock due to the smaller wheel used in the pilot house. Installation was easy and very little space was required to route the torque tubes. There was an agent in Ontario located in Barrie, but the name escapes me at the moment. Check with Lewmar for up to date info. Janis Priedkalns (s/v #023, Simmerdim)

b. Thanks Lester but I have my question answered. I installed a Jefa steering system, similar to the Whitlock, but with reduction gears and shafts…Works GREAT. Jack Verheyden (s/v #127, Kathrian)

a. I am not sure where this should go, but I would like to talk about running in big seas with the Corbin. There is tremendous buoyancy in the stern of a Corbin. The broad Norwegian stern gives one the sensation of an elevator when running in big seas. You are not going to get pooped in a Corbin but it will throw weight to the bow which can cause some tracking problems. You have to be fast on the helm to hold a safe line. The Monitor windvane has proven to be just the ticket for us. It corrects very quickly. Our autopilot lets us yaw around more than I like. Richard Bacon (s/v #043, Balmacara) [from Australia]

I just hauled #095, Coochi to change the zincs and paint the bottom. To my surprise the bronze rudder shoe was cracked completely through. I was hoping the group could point me to a source for this item or information on having one machined. It appears to be the original, 23 to 25 yrs. old. I would like to have it replaced with stainless. Thanks, William Costello #095, Coochi.

a. I made two rudder boots for two Corbins I built (#073 and #126), using 316 SS three eights inch bar and one and one half inch pipe with quarter inch wall. The pipe or the shaft may have to be machined 10thou or so for a proper fit. Also, inside the pipe I placed stainless steel ball bearings to eliminate friction. Five years later and 15,000 miles still good as new. I hope this info is of some help, Cesar Marteleira (#126, Sea Czar).

b. I got the original bronze shoe from Marius Corbin. He may still know the source for the casting. I have also seen stainless steel fabricated shoes (welded) on other boats. You will need to get the dimensions off your skeg or the broken shoe. David Salter , s/v #050, Opportunity.

c. Most any good machinist should be able to make a pattern from the old one and fabricate a SS one. Jack Verheyden (#127, Kathrian hull #127)

d. Regarding your problem, Contact: Gaetan Duchesne I think you know him. Gaetan was the assistant to Marius Corbin and Gaetan has his own Corbin now (#165, Therese Vincent). All the stainless on the Corbins was done in St-Jean Québec. Gaetan: Moules Hyteck 450-245-0575. Regards, Normand Bouchard, (#140, Urantia).

I own ALAUA VI (#021, formerly Gran de Sel). She is a pilothouse with dual hydraulic helms. I would like to install an emergency tiller and am considering accessing the rudder post via an inspection plate in the cockpit and fitting the emergency tiller over the rudder post. I was wondering if any other owners have experience with this and was hoping you could post this question on your site. Cheers, Bob Schwartz, ALAUA VI (#021, formerly Gran de Sel).

a. The top of my rudder post extends thru the cockpit sole and ends within the pedestal. I have an emergency tiller which fits on top of the post, for use with the Monitor windvane. Lester Helmus, (s/v #010, Insouciance).

b. I have the same set up as you, plus the emergency tiller. My system consists of the following: A stainless pipe that fits over the rudder stock. The pipe is prevented from rotating by using keys set into a groove in the stock and held in place by a clamp. The pipe goes through a snug nylon bushing in the cockpit to about 6 inches above the cockpit floor. Two wedges are welded into the top part of the pipe where I insert a tiller with a stainless steel fitting. The tiller is placed backward and thus must be angled upward to clear the seats. You just snap on the tiller, switch the steering to bypass and that’s it. It works like a charm. I originally installed it for the windvane since, as you surely know, windvanes and hydraulics don’t mix. In fact, while crossing the Atlantic, after experiencing a problem with the windvane, we used the emergency tiller for about 5 days of hand steering simply because it was there and was easy to use. You could have the pipe not go through the floor and, instead, install an inspection porthole or something like that, but then you would have to build some sort of support on the inside and make the male tiller fitting longer. Here are two pictures of the pipe attached to the rudder stock (see below), Here are some more pictures of the emergency tiller setup (These close-up pictures really make rust and dirt stand out!). You might consider improving the way the tiller fitting attaches to the pipe coming through the cockpit deck (below ). Mine works OK, but for windvane steering there’s always a bit of undesirable play (See emergency tiller1). The round silver lever at the base of the pedestal is the “normal, feedback and bypass” lever. The actual mechanism is hidden in the pedestal. Good luck, Horacio Marteleira, (#073, Jakatar), Peniche, Portugal

c. We have added an emergency tiller to Necessity. We removed the fibreglass gland which supported the upper end of the rudderpost and fabricated a cup which was glassed to the underside of the cockpit sole in its place. We had a bronze bushing made which is fitted into the bottom of the cup so the post sticks through. This provides the necessary support for the rudder. Perhaps a bearing would be better but the bushing works fine. We have had to lubricate it occasionally during our transatlantic passage as the salt seems to build up. (See emergency tiller access). The final step was to cut out the cockpit floor to expose the cup and the top of the rudderpost which has two keyways. We covered it with an inspection plate. The tiller is a piece of stainless tube the same diameter as the post with a larger diameter piece of tubing welded to the lower end so that it slips over the top of the rudderpost. We added a key which locks it to the shaft. A smaller diameter stainless rod fits through a hole in the top of the vertical tube and faces aft as a tiller, just clearing the helm seat. Not the ideal way to steer 1000 miles but it should work in a pinch. Fortunately we have never had to use it. Hope this helps. Let me know what questions you have. Brian Hall, (#135, Necessity), Grand Bend, Ontario, Canada

d. I see that you have a Mark 1 Corbin, like mine. You will probably find that the rudder shaft is directly below the cockpit pedestal. The original Corbin drawing of an emergency tiller system showed the use of an angled shaft connected with a universal joint, to bring a stub shaft up through the cockpit sole ahead of the pedestal (see rudderpost pantograph). I figured the cost of a universal made of non-corrodible material would be very expensive, even if I could find one. During a trip to the Corbin factory I saw a clever alternative system being installed. It used a dummy rudder shaft ahead of the rudder connected to the rudder shaft with a pantograph linkage. This required a second tiller arm on the rudder shaft (additional to the one used for the hydraulic steering ram) and an identical tiller arm on the dummy shaft (see emergency rudderpost in #050, Opportunity). This is the system I have used and it works well although it takes some effort to move the rudder manually because of the friction in the various bearings. Also, it wasn’t cheap!. My dummy shaft is the same diameter as the main rudder shaft, 1 ½”, but it could probably be smaller as it doesn’t carry a heavy load. I have a bearing (bushing) on the hull at the bottom of the shaft and a stuffing box at the top end, below the cockpit sole. The dummy shaft is a few inches ahead of the pedestal and just ahead of the pedestal 1″ guard tubes. It protrudes a few inches from the sole and I have a system to quickly connect the emergency tiller. My photo is the best I have on file and it is too cold to go out to the boat and dive under the tarp at the moment. If you would like more details I will get a photo and some measurements later on. Regards, David Salter, (#050, Opportunity).

e. Thanks very much for the information. The base of my pedestal is about 3 inches ahead of the rudder post so I should be able to rig something directly above the rudder post. On a separate note…your spotless bilge puts mine to shame!!! Cheers, Bob Schwartz

Can I add a bypass, with hand valve, to my hydraulic steering ? It is a slow, dangerous nuisance switching back and forth between steering with the Monitor windvane (mechanical) and steering with the pedestal wheel (hydraulic). Lester Helmus, s/v #010, Insouciance

a. Lester, My Wagner system came with a selector (normal, feedback and bypass) at the base of the pedestal. Bypass valves are available on the market, such as the one below (I assume it’s the right kit). If you want it simply in case of steering failure so that you can use the emergency tiller, the valve may be redundant because if your hydraulic system fails you’ve got no pressure, and if you’ve got no pressure the emergency tiller will not face any resistance (or you could also detach the hydraulic ram). In an extreme, albeit weird, case when you lose steering and still have pressure and can’t remove the kingpin from the ram arm, you could always drain the oil, attach the tiller and deal with the mess later. Cheers, Horacio Marteleira See Bypass . [Ed. Note: This bypass could be assembled with conventional Home Depot parts.]

b. Horacio, My system was set up for hydraulic hand steering or for Monitor steering (also emergency), and hydraulic autopilot. I’ll have to trace the circuitry, make a drawing, and analyze the system carefully. Currently, to use the tiller, someone has to lie on his back and crawl backwards under the cockpit to the aft end of the boat, and reach up to disconnect the ram. That was okay for the original owner who always had crew on his trip to New Zealand, but not okay for a singlehander. I have never needed to do it while sailing, because I haven’t gone anywhere, not even out the Golden Gate. I’m 78 years old, whose greatest adventure was three singlehanded trips from New Jersey to Bermuda and one singlehanded trip from Bermuda to the British Virgin Islands in a Bristol 29 sailboat. This Corbin is really too much boat for little old me – bought on an ego trip. Incidentally I owned two boats for a year but fortunately sold the Westsail 32 to Warner Bros for the making of the movie “Perfect Storm”!! My system has ordinary 5/16″ flared copper tubing probably with check valves and blocking valves, for maintenance purposes, I think. Is that Vetus valve a two position valve, go – no go? It looks like an ordinary close or open valve with two T’s, a screw end and 2 compression ends, something I can buy in the local hardware store! Lester Helmus

c. Lester, Four singlehanded oceanic trips seem like quite a feat to me. And you’re right about the Corbin being too large for singlehanding. I’m 49, 6 feet 2 inches and relatively fit and I find it a bit too much for singlehanding, especially docking and also anchoring with a manual windlass in a blow. I do it, but it would be more fun and cheaper in a smaller boat. Sailing is not so bad once I get going and after working up a sweat hoisting three sails with a lot of friction in the halyards. Except for my yearly trip of one month, I don’t sail that much because it’s too much work for an afternoon out. I don’t even have roller furling. My wife doesn’t like sailing, which puts a damper on weekend trips. But she likes meeting me at the marina in the Algarve during the aforementioned trip and staying on the boat. The valve seems to be an off-on device. There’s lots of information on the Internet about this topic, it would be wise to research about your pump make or ask somebody who knows hydraulics. Late last year, I finally installed a Raymarine hydraulic autopilot. It seems to work OK but I haven’t really put it to any gruelling test yet. My hydraulic system has three pipes and the autopilot pump has three ports, so it was a matter of hooking them up correctly. Tried the “feedback” position a couple of times, but didn’t like it at all. Never tried the feedback with the autopilot, but can’t see the advantage of doing that. Horacio

Does anyone have experience with the Auto-helm self-steering Windvane? This system runs independently of the steering system of the Corbin with no lines into the cockpit. It can be used with hydraulic steering only [Ed. Note: also cable steering]. Our Corbin has both options with an override system but I am unsure whether I want to go with the Monitor windvane or the Auto-helm.” Bill Dougan. (#152, Alecaiden).

a. Our Capehorn windpilot took us across the Atlantic and we strongly recommend it for a Corbin. We have it connected to a RayMarine ST 1000 to steer magnetic headings. Branko V.(#175, H2OBO).

b. I use the Hyrdovane system. I have hydraulic steering . Hydrovane will keep compensating for the hydraulic creep. It works independently of the main rudder. It also gives me an emergency steering system, if needed, with Autohelm capability .It is a brilliant system. Best wishes, Jeremy P (#101, Two Pelicans). [Letster’s opinion : I do not recommend the Hydrovane. I do not believe a system which draws its power from the wind only can steer a boat at high speeds in strong winds and rough seas.]

c. It’s been a long time since I was researching the windvane steering thing and when I was, I liked the Monitor. Downside: If the concept of using any selfsteering windvane is to conserve ship’s power on long passages, in case of the Monitor or some others, the hydraulics must be energized all the time, so I see little …. if any advantage. [Ed. Note: I think that ordinary hydraulic steering does not require any electric power.] On the other hand, on long passages, any windvane steering system will [conserve energy] and preserve the life of your conventional wheel auto steering system …….. Frank B. (#186, Visitant).

d. I have a Hydrovane. John G. (#181, Spinnaker)

e. I am also reviewing various windvane selfsteering options as my Wagner autopilot is acting up and replacement options are limited. I am partial to windvane systems and the Scanmar products look interesting. Based on the Scanmar website info, one or more of their solutions seem compatible with the Corbin. I too would be very interested in seeing any feedback from Corbin owners who have used the system.
I am not sure I follow your comment “It can be used with hydraulic steering only. Our Corbin has both options with an over-ride system but I am unsure whether I want to go with the Monitor or the Autohelm.”
What do you mean by “both options with an over ride system?” It is my understanding that Scanmar is the supplier of both the “Monitor” system as well as the “Autohelm” system. Are you talking about some other system/supplier?
In my systems documentation on Silent Running, I have 1995 correspondence between Gordon Nash at Scanmar Marine and the vessel owner at that time. In that fax, Gordon states “We can not in good conscious recommend the Monitor to steer an emergency tiller that is located on the floor and in the forward part of the cockpit.” (This is the setup on my boat.) [Ed. Note: My Corbin#010, Insouciance sailed in 1985 from San Francisco to Australia and back with such a setup with no problems.] Gordon recommended the Saye’s Rig for the Corbin 39, which is also a Scanmar product.
Perhaps the products have evolved since 1995, but a call to Scanmar would likely give you some upfront recommended solutions for the Corbin configuration you have that will work and those that won’t.
If you haven’t already done so, I recommend visiting the Scanmar site, where they discuss extensively the advantages and disadvantages of the three windvane systems – Servo-Pendulum (Monitor), auxiliary Rudder (Auto-helm), and the hybrid Saye’s Rig. At this point in my research, I am leaning towards the Saye’s rig solution, which is incredibly simple and acts on the main rudder. While you lose the potential of an emergency rudder with the Saye’s Rig system, Scanmar offers an opinion and a solution on the use of a self steering system as an emergency rudder. Here is a link to a couple of pages, but there is much more on the site to digest. http://www.selfsteer.com/windvanes101/auxiliary.php andhttp://www.selfsteer.com/windvanes101/toHaveOrNotToHave.php
Hope this is helpful. The proof of the pudding will be user experiences, so I am looking forward to seeing any feedback from those who have “been there, done that, got the T shirt” with self steering systems. Kind regards, Tim T. (#046, Silent Running).

f. I’ve fitted a Norvane, windvane. I have a Corbin CC, and have both windvane and autopilot fitted. The autopilot is the new Simrad AP24, with the electro magnet drive unit DD15. It is brilliant, I sailed from Mexico to Polynesia late last year and it didn’t falter. It was like second crew; it was that good. I didn’t use the windvane. However if you are taking the boat out of the water to fit either windvane, please check the shoe at the base of the rudder; it supports the rudder. Mine is held in place with 4 bolts, two of which were stainless steel and were 75% corroded. I’m glad I checked; there was a danger of losing the rudder. Alan E. (#035, Europa Star).

g. I have no experience with the Auto-helm selfsteering windvane, but very much considered it many years ago. The power drain on long distance sailing made me decide against it. [Ed. Note: There is no power drain. I think he is thinking of the electric Autohelm] I am very happy with the Monitor Windvane. On the high seas and especially in bad weather it is the best and never tiring crew I could wish for. The lines are a nuisance but are not really in my way since I spend no time in the back of the cockpit, where they connect to the reversed tiller. Close to land and for short sails I prefer the Autohelm [electric] connected to the hydraulic system. I also bought the Autohelm 1000?? [Electric] tiller steering unit. I intended to connect it to the Monitor Windvane instead of the wind paddle but never installed it so far. As a further backup I have the Autohelm 3000 [Electric] that connects to the wheel. It served me well enough in the past but I have not used it since 1997 when I installed the hydraulic unit. I wish you good luck and many happy hours on your Corbin. Peter V. (#099, Escapade).

h. The present design of the Auto-helm windvane lacks feedback, so it may oversteer and cause a zig-zag motion. Both the Monitor and Saye’s Rig have feedback and should not oversteer or cause zig-zag. Scanmar uses a change in tension in the control cables of the Auto-helm to avoid oversteering; this is not a good solution to the problem. The Auto-helm’s rudder appears to be large enough to steer a Corbin, even in strong winds and rough seas. The absence of lines, in the cockpit, to a tiller is a plus. No rudder post in the water is a plus. Having an emergency rudder for hand steering is an additional plus. A minus is the possibility that the shaft of the auxiliary rudder may bend backwards due to the water pressure of motion; the Saye’s Rig may have this problem, also. I have figured out how to put feedback in the Auto-helm, so if you decide to buy it and it oversteers, I can help you correct the problem. Lester H. (#010. Insouciance)

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