The importance of a strong rudder


A tour of European trade fairs and marinas reveals which marketing campaigns and promotions have gained the most traction and highlights the latest trends and developments to have been packaged up, badged (invariably) as important improvements and sold on to the sailing public.


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Longue Route 2018


To plagiarize shamelessly Jack London – or his wife Charmian, both wrote exactly the same sentence without specifying the author – “it’s all the fault of Captain Joshua Slocum and his ship the Spray!”

Longue Route 2018

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Golden Globe Race 2018 – Longue Route 2018


The time is racing away. Watch out or you might find yourself left behind, washed up – a social outcast even. You have to keep up, everyone says so. Perhaps there’s comfort to be had from the crowd, all paddling frantically all the time trying to keep up with each other.

GGR – Longue Route

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Peter – 70 years


With 70 years on the clock, my life’s drone has soared to a height at which one could be forgiven for expecting a measure of wisdom, a modicum of life experience.

Peter – 70 years

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From Aries to Windpilot


As the years have passed, innumerable UK-based boats that once had an Aries in pride of place have switched to the Windpilot Pacific. The differences are striking – time marches on (at Windpilot at least).

Aries to Windpilot

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Self steering on catamarans

Relief from manual steering for catamaran crews

Catamaran sailors too have the right to close their eyes once in a while. Ocean-going catamarans at sea are almost without exception steered by electric autopilots, with permanently installed inboard autopilot systems generally the preferred way of sparing the crew a life of drudgery.


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Transom ornaments part #2



The bluewater dream is a dream of sun and warmth – and the less sun and warmth you have in your daily life, the more you dream of basking in them on your travels. That much makes perfect sense from my vantage point in Hamburg, but it surprises me how many sailors completely fail to anticipate the downside of trying to live and sail in the glare of the midday tropical sun. A perfunctory survey of the sun protection solutions on the market indicates that – not for the first time – compromise is the name of the game. Even those investing in new builds, for whom the cost of a bimini is presumably just one more drop in the ocean, have little in the way of attractive options. Why are bluewater sailors so poorly served in this respect? I put it down mainly – not for the first time – to a lack of good information.CONTINUE READING

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Transom ornaments part #1



Everybody knows that appearance-wise, one sailor’s dream yacht is another’s blot on the seascape and that we all have our own personal priorities. My professional interest centres on the after end (where else can a Windpilot go?). Like some Don Quixote of the pontoons, I have been impudently annexing the prime spot in the middle of the transom for decades. Sometimes it takes all my cunning and reason (not to mention a measure of courage on occasion) to bring people accustomed to knowing their stuff and having their way (including the odd know-it-all) round to my way of thinking. It can be a painful process (painful, that is, for people who haven’t spent a large part of their life wrestling with the issues involved).

I have become used to sharing my opinion in direct fashion. Politeness has its place no doubt, but the risk of being misunderstood or brushed aside is just too high. I would keep my opinion to myself if I didn’t think I could back it up, but with the weight of evidence on my side and a receptive audience I find the effort is well worthwhile. I run into some, of course, who know it all already, but of what possible interest could my blog be to someone who knows they know everything already?CONTINUE

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Tom Cunliffe – a sailor to the core


In my (ever more swiftly flowing) life, it is moments of human contact and personal connection that truly touch my soul, warm my heart and provide lifelong pleasure. Continue reading

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SV Vaguebond – Ivan Steenhuyse BE




Hi Peter,
after sailing more than 15000 miles in 16 months, we’ve arrived in New Zealand. Our Windpilot did almost every mile of steering during our trip and she is one of the best purchases we made before leaving! We’d never take off without a Windpilot, that’s for sure.
Ivan onboard SV Vaguebond CONTINUE

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SV Sea Otter – Bob Rouner US


Hello Peter,
I have now sailed my Koopmans 43, Sea Otter, to the Eastern Caribbean from Texas several times, about 14,000 miles total, always using the Windpilot, and I was always sailing singlehanded. I could not do that without the Windpilot.
I have attached a photo that was taken as I approached Bequia. Unfortunately, I was hand steering and did not have the servo rudder in the water. I plan to head towards Panama soon.

You have a great product, but what makes it even better is your personal attention, dedication and incredible service and advice, all of which is very difficult to find these days. I enjoy reading the website, and it is good to see someone with a sense of humor.

Kind Regards,
Bob Router

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SV Kairos – Menno van Loon NED



Dear Peter,
Just a quick update. 
Depending on your perspective, I have either good or bad news. Your product is simply too good. Despite being several decades old and having been rammed by a 36 ton motor yacht, I got it working fine again. I just arrived in New Zealand after a 7 day passage from New Caledonia, including some pretty rough weather. My trusted mechanical helmsman got me safely to Opua. So, unfortunately for me, I feel I cannot justifiably claim a replacement.
Anyway, thanks for getting the pro forma invoice to me so quickly.
Menno van Loon continue

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SV Civetta – Vlado Porvaznik SL


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SV Suditude – Jean Claude Fleuret CH




Thank you for all, and hope the Windpilot go again; for the moment, a lot of miles, the track to Antarctica and 6 times Patagonia and Terra del Fuego !

Melchiore, Antarctica, a fantastic place where the Windpilot drive me, through the Drake !

Best to you
Jean-Claude Fleuret, SV Suditude WEITERLESEN

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Armin Horn and his SailingGen


Allures 44

A man who openly admits to a fascination with rear ends runs a very real risk of being misunderstood. So understand me when I confess to my obsession with the hind quarters: I’m talking about work not pleasure – and here, as in most other respects, it is wisest to keep the two separate. Continue

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Peter´s biography 1984 – 1989



Two and a half years have whizzed by and it is high time I parked myself in front of the keyboard again to squeeze out another chapter of my life story. This has to be psychoanalysis at its best: it costs nothing and I have to find my own answers on the spot to explain how things came to be the way they were. Two birds with one stone – what could be better? Or am I missing something? Are all these words just setting up a new generation of questions that, like their forebears, will eventually catch up with me and demand a response? CONTINUE

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SV Gleda – sailing + living on a Wharram Cat

BBB Gleda Episode 1 from Barefoot Boat Bums on Vimeo.

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Boats by nations – France Part 1

LIBERTÉ, EGALITÉ, FRATERNITÉ – or none of the above?


Freedom, equality and fraternity: values that inspired the rebirth of a nation but whose lustre seems to have faded under the onslaught of individualism, values that may or may not, depending on one’s viewpoint, have contributed to the emergence of a very particular – that is to say very particularly French – way of dealing with life, other people and the world in general.

Savoir-vivre is a concept that invites conflicting interpretations: the knowledge required to fit in effectively, for example, or an outline of where the ultimate boundaries lie in a sphere in which the individual, unswayed by the (will of) the larger whole, stands above all things. CONTINUE

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Dreaming of Brazil?


IMG_1908 2 Kopie

Questions to Jayme Santos Souza, 61, retired professor of surgery, son of famous Brazilian circumnavigator Alfredo Souza, experienced bluewater sailor and owner of several German-built yachts, highly knowledgeable about Brazilian waters, which he sailed for decades, and now nearly as familiar with our European waters, which he began to explore, with growing enthusiasm, a few years ago. CONTINUE

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Monetizing bluewater advice



The 40 years I have spent in the windvane business have shaped the way I think and left me with a clear and obvious set of priorities. A self-confessed idealist, I allow myself the luxury of believing that there are some things that come before sales and profit – and I do so fully cognisant of the fact that this makes me something of an outlier (to say the least). My obvious independence is the wind in the sails of the word of mouth recommendations that circulate through the cruising community, enabling me to sell my products around the word with no fanfare and no need whatsoever to trouble – much less pay – the usual suspects in the media. Not surprisingly, certain ladies and gentlemen of the global fourth estate have taken umbrage at my approach because it runs counter to their system of creating dependence and subverts their business plan (salary plus perks), under which paid advertisements tend to correlate with editorial attention.CONTINUE

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