Group Buy - Cape Horn Windvane

Richard, Gary, Jerry, Dennis and Doug:

Please send Eric an email to let him know when you plan to send your deposit.

Aaron N.

“The check is in the mail”.


I have been in touch with Eric and have sent him a deposit, so I am onboard.

I am hoping most of the Cape Horn Systems (CHS) are installed by now and were tested. Others may take my approach and let the units acclimate to its surrounding before installation. I liken this to a bottle of wine and refer to our basement as our “aging cellar.”

I am interested to learn what others think of the Cape Horn Windvane System.

From time to time I receive requests to share my assessment of equipment we use on IDUNA. Following is an excerpt from an e-mail I wrote about my opinion of the Cape Horn.

"The Cape Horn System (CHS) fitted to IDUNA is a our second Cape Horn. The first CHS was installed on our custom aft-cabin Flicka (20 ft on deck, 27 ft length over spars, 6,500 lb displacement and 410 sq ft of working sail) and was the same unit CHS recommends for the BCC. The unit on the Flicka worked very well. This was the reason, we purchased a second unit.

IDUNA’s CHS works on IDUNA but I do not believe it works as well as the first unit. The Flicka has a large rudder for her size as does the BCC. The sq. ft. area ratio of CHS servo-rudder to the Flicka rudder is higher than the ratio for the BCC. The end result is the Flicka’s windvane system responded faster than IDUNA’s. Cape Horn believes the servo-rudder size is correct. I am not convinced. The unit works on the BCC but the BCC’s displacement and stable tracking sometimes results in a slower course correction than I like. I will add, the unit works in heavy and light air providing the winds are not gusty and the boat is balanced. The challenge with Chesapeake bay sailing is the winds are usually not steady and no windvane system will work very well in gusty conditions. The times, the wind is steady, the unit worked well. See video links:

In the first video, estimated wind speed was 20-25 mph depending on the time of day. Note the movement of the deck. Sometime the stern would drop 3 to 4 ft when I large wave passed under IDUNA. The ride was always comfortable. By-the-by, 25 knots of wind on the bay results in 3-4 foot chop depending on water depth. A very experienced offshore sailor friend told us “30 knots of wind on the bay is a lot of wind!” Bay conditions will and can test any boat and its crew. This short steep chop places high loads on the BCC’s rudder when sailing downwind.

In the second video, winds were very light but the unit worked perfectly. Note, the boat has good speed in very light air conditions. Also the CHS is noted for its light air performance.

If these links do not work, go to and search for “Bristol Channel Cutter.” The titles are: Bristol Channel Cutter Chesapeake Bay Oct 05 and Iduna Sailing Music.

The advantage to the CHS vs. the Monitor is weight and a cleaner installation. The CHS is about half the weight of a Monitor. The CHS negative is it takes practice and experience to adjust the angle of the vane to the wind. This is not the case for the Monitor. Both the Monitor and Cape Horn are supplied with a light air vane and heavy air vane. Changing vanes underway is a safety issue. I always wear an inflatable PFD with harness and safety tether snapped to the boat when I change the vane. The light air vane is changed out for the heavy air vane when wind speed reaches about 15 knots. I change the vanes when I take the 1st reef - about 12-14 knots depending on point of sail.

We have never sailed coastal or offshore in IDUNA - time constraints.

We have talked to several other CHS owners on different boats - none were full keeled boats. All the owners like the system and tell us it works very well offshore."

I will forward this post to Cape Horn in hopes they will participate in our discussion.

Fair Winds,

Rod Bruckdorfer

Great videos, Rod - reminds me of why we all love sailing our BCC’s!

I participated in the group purchase of the Cape Horn Windvane (to replace the Monitor windvane), but have yet to install it (it is currently “aging” in my office). I expect to install it in March or April, just after I re-install the boomkin that was removed for refinishing.

Dioscouri (#064)

“Aging” is good. It allows full development of the vintage and give us enough “courage” to tackle the task at hand. The BCC is a sailing machine. It pulled me through a tough spot on my sail to the hospice regatta. For several minutes I did not know if I would make it but the BCC kept on driving windward in reinforced headwinds and very steep chop.


did the installation of your cape horn system include holing your transom? i can’t tell from your video.

I thru-bolted all the brackets for the struts. These were backed with fender washers. The loads on the struts can become quite high, hence the reason for thru-bolting.

Go to BCC gallery, page 2. Under “projects” I have several images of Iduna’s Cape Horn installation. If you click on the images to enlarge them, you will see the fender washers and the head of the 1/4" thru-bolts.


P.S. about 26" of snow and it is still snowing. Let’s go sailing.

I installed mine but stopped when it came time to drilling holes in my tiller. Another BCC owner at the Maine event told me that he was having trouble with his new Cape Horn. He had talked to the Cape Horn factory and was considering moving the tiller attachment point. I decided to wait to see how the rest of you managed the tiller attachment.

I’m not simply concerned about the location of the attachment. I’m also worried about drilling holes horizontally through the laminations. Thus I’m considering asking a local stainless steel fabrication shop to build me something that I can clamp onto the tiller bottom, using the same holes that the autopilot arm uses.