Back in 1982 my girlfriend Lauren and I were sailing up Newport Harbor in my 18 foot Gaff Rig Topsail Canoe Yawl, ‘Serena’. I had heard rumors that Seraffyn was back on home waters where she started ten years previous and which she had completed an east-about circumnavigation with no motor.
As I saw her sailing up the harbor I still couldn’t believe my luck seeing this small, tough, little sailboat and now famous sailors.
I threw on the “Iron Topsail” and headed straight for them… before they could turn their heads in our direction, I cut the engine and we coasted towards them.
After introductions and a short conversation with my heroes, we were invited out for a weekend to “Bull Canyon” to see their new boat under construction.
I remember on the kitchen wall was a cut-away artist illustration of their boat including the interior that SAIL magazine had made up for one of their stories on the Pardeys.
On the backstay was a small sail, wheel and a trim tab off the rudder.
Clumsily, I asked Larry if that was the new windvane I was hearing about.
How it hung off the backstay with its simplistic design had intrigued me, and at the time I wondered how it work as there was so much to take in when visiting Pardeys.
Little did I know at the time that I would be the builder of the Freehand Steering System for the next thirty years.
Building a device that actually can steer a boat around the world efficiently only using the wind…
Well, I can only say that it is very satisfying, especially when you get the many “thank you’s” for helping someone achieve their dreams.
~ Tom Galatea
If you are in need of a freehand steering system for your boat, give me a call and let’s discuss.