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Innovative yacht self-steering gear is Haven Academy winner

29 May 2012

This year’s Haven Academy Award for Boating Innovation has been won by a new self-steering gear design for small yachts. Called ‘The Steersman’ by its designer Robert Chicken, it offers greater safety at sea by providing a reliable self-steering system which is not reliant on battery power. Instead, it uses changes in wind pressure in the foresail to sense and power the steering of the boat.

Robert Chicken, who has patented his idea, said: “This is a great boost for Steersman and the funding will help with the purchase of a 3D CAD system to develop the design and also with a professionally produced instructional DVD. Although the initial product will be for smaller boats, I’m aiming to quickly extend the range for yachts up to 40 feet”.

The Steersman is easy to use and reacts instantly to any deviation from course.

Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, chairman of the Haven Academy judging panel said when announcing the winners: “This proves that with our help we really can make good ideas happen. The Steersman is a truly innovative product that can bring a new dimension of enjoyment and safety to sailing”.

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