CapeHorn renders other
Self-Steering Systems Obsolete.

The CapeHorn Integrated Self-Steering System
renders others obsolete
in more ways than one :
it is superior in its design concept,
in looks, in strength and dependability, in performance.
It is inferior in cost.

Design Concept

Up to now, self-steering systems had been an afterthought, an add-on bolted to a transom. The CapeHorn is integrated into the boat, and becomes as much part of the whole as are an engine or a steering wheel. Since the self-steering quadrant is placed inboard, it becomes possible to lead the control lines to blocks fastened to the yacht’s steering quadrant (and then to a pair of jamming cleats in the cockpit), without having to lead  them to a drum on the wheel. This considerably reduces cockpit clutter.


It also makes it possible to use a servo-pendulum system on a boat with a hydraulic steering by leading the control lines through blocks fastened on an auxiliary tiller or directly the short tiller to which the hydraulic ram is connected (after turning the by-pass valve).

The CapeHorn integrates all steering modes and affords the possibility of controlling the servo-pendulum with a small autopilot placed inside the lazarette. The servo-pendulum still provides the energy needed to move the rudder, considerably reducing the amperage consumed by the autopilot. The added cost of a CapeHorn and of a small autopilot will be much less than the cost of a powerful autopilot needed to steer a large boat and provides the best of both worlds. (The competition has copied this feature after we came on the market, but their autopilots need to be connected to the vane counterweight and remain exposed to the weather.)



Contrary to other gears which are all the same, only the mounting brackets being different, each CapeHorn gear is custom-built for a perfect fit and impeccable performance on each boat it steers ; To solve a given problem on a boat with special stern configuration or steering gear, we often combine features of different models.


Simple is beautiful. Who wants a plumbing shop attached to the stern of his yacht? The structure of the CapeHorn could not be made more simple or elegant: one horizontal tube to hold the horizontal axis and one vertical to hold the windvane. No more.

A marine architect has spent a great deal of energy in creating a work of art, a yacht that would be as pleasing to the eye as possible, only to see his efforts ruined by the addition of a drilling rig on the stern of his creation. This does not happen with the CapeHorn Self-Steering.

Strength and Dependablity


Self-steering systems were held in place with a structure made of tubes bolted to the stern. Then there were control lines that tended to twist this structure, and the more load developed by the vane, the more twisting force imposed on this structure.

On the contrary, the structure of the CapeHorn also transmits the movement: a tube links the servo-pendulum trailing behind the boat, to the quadrant inboard, and pivots inside another tube fastened to the boat, an installation as strong as the boat itself.

No Spare Parts


With the CapeHorn, you do not need to buy replacement parts . It is designed so that these are not necessary. The CapeHorn is guaranteed for 28000 miles or one circumnavigation against damage caused by the wind or the sea. No other manufacturer dares to offer a comparable guarantee.


Before the CapeHorn came on the market, self-steering systems had a reputation of performing poorly downwind, especially in light air. This is understandable : downwind, the apparent wind is at its weakest and the energy developed by the vane is often insufficient to overcome the inertia and the friction inherent in the transmission system.

Windvanes were made of plywood or a comparable material. The CapeHorn windvane is much lighter : spinnaker cloth over a 1/8’’ (3 mm) wire and reacts to the lightest impulse. (True, it could prove too light for heavy weather; so a second vane, made of aluminium sheet replaces it when it is time to reef.)

Transmission between the vane and the servo-pendulum was done through a number of gears or connecting rods (or both). The CapeHorn needs only one moving part between the connecting rod and the stock of the servo-pendulum. This reduces friction considerably, making the system even more sensitive. As a bonus, fewer moving parts also means less play between parts, making the whole system much more precise. The travel of the connecting rod is also shorter, which ensures a much quicker transmission to the servo-pendulum of the signals given by the vane.

All this means the CapeHorn is the only windvane that really works downwind in light air. The photo above shows two boats self-steered in light air, wing-on-wing, and there is no whisker pole holding the clew of either genoa to windward. We have all tried to keep the sail from collapsing while steering by hand and seen how difficult it was !  This illustrates how precise a course the CapeHorn steers. Whoever suspects  the photo was rigged can witness the same performance in the last shots of the film With Jean-du-Sud Around the World : Jean-du-Sud sails up the bay of Gaspé under this same sail combination; in the film, the scene lasts a few minutes; in reality, it lasted a few hours! And remember that the prototype had the wear and tear of a 28000 mile circumnavigation!

Witness Unmatched CapeHorn Performance



CapeHorn is superior in all these respects. But it costs less than most  other systems on the market. Being simpler, it costs less to fabricate.


This is what we mean when we state : the CapeHorn Integrated Self-Steering System renders others obsolete.

Suite : CapeHorn Self-Steering Gear

CapeHorn Integrated Self-Steering

An image is worth a thousand words
and sending it by E-mail is so easy:
send us pictures of the stern of your boat,
the cockpit and lazarette area,
its steering gear, belowdecks if needed.

We will suggest a model and its installation,
and tell you what and where to measure
to build a gear that will fit your boat perfectly


Witness how some of our customers have, on their blog or web site,  described their installation and use of the CapeHorn




Beneteau First 375 ASCENSION

Bristol 32 KESTREL


Cape Dory 28 CELTIC RAY

Cape Dory 36 FAR REACH

Contessa 26 BIRGITTA

Contessa 26 CAVENDYSH

Ericson 39B SENTA II

Frances 26 Anihoya

Hallberg Rassy Monsun JANNA

Hallberg Rassy Rasmus


Kaskelot 10.30 SALT

Kelly-Peterson 44 TAJ

Pacific Seacraft Dana SOCKDOLAGER

Pacific Seacraft Orion SAOIRSE

Pearson 33 HERMES



Westsail 32 NEVERLAND

Westsail 32 RODE TRIP

Read Andy Schell's article on

Jean-du-Sud and the Magick-Byrd,
the book by Yves Gélinas that narrated his 28 000 mile single-handed circumnavigation through the Southern Ocean and around Cape Horn aboard Alberg 30 Jean-du-Sud, has been translated in English and published by Andy Schell and Mia Karlsson of 59 North Sailing.

It was first published in French in Canada in 1986, then in France in 1996. 

Available both in print, and as a podcast,
read by the author.

-Order the Book- 

-Download the Podcast-

CapeHorn is the choice of

Andy Shell and Mia Karlsson.

Donna Lange, for

Sail Twice Around
Non-Stop Sail around the World

With Jean-du-Sud Around the World
-watch the trailer and order the video-


Listen to David Anderson's Sailing Podcast featuring Yves Gélinas