Join Date: Aug 2017
Home Port: London
South Atlantic Self steering windvane experience
We ordered and had delivered two South atlantic windvane S600, along with another friend boat.
For information, I already had and sailed different type of wind pilots for long distances that worked very fine (Hydrovane, Atoms and Windpilot)
The product that was delivered was NOT in working order. Here is a partial list of what didn't work (we have pictures and videos) :
- Mechanical pieces not adjusted or damaged
- Loose bearing, non-aligned bearings (servo shaft was hard to turn in 180deg)
- Lots of shafe, wear, and slack in all "adjustements" making te pilot incapable of steering even up wind
- The auxiliary rudder has a non-symetrical, non-hydrodynamical "shape", and was not waterproof at all (2 L of water after a day navigation). Actually, the resin was not cured ...
- One of the two pilots uses wire conection between the windvane and the servo. This is not working at all, too much friction, even after eliminating all the obvious bad work made by Thomas Whitall.
- The measurements made on our boats before starting construction, were not taken in account, and we got delivered the two same mounting elements, making it impossible to mount on one of the boats, without significant changes, we had to make (not talking about the normal adjustments)
- One part was missing, according to the technical drawing. This part is there for safety, to avoid a dangerous jamming of the transmission rod of the servo inside the auxiliary rudder shaft, leading to a dangerous situation under sail. The captain almost lost a finger there ....
The list goes on, but lets stop here.
As one can imagine, we spent a lot of time and money to fix all these issues, and one of the pilots is still not working...
The pilots were supposed to be in working order when sent, and have a "life time warranty".
Of course, the first thing we did, was contact Thomas to ask him to help fixing the issues and take his responsability. But he gave more or less the same kind of excuses to Mucisca, another boat, sabbatical, out of the company, another person in charge, ... well, he "sent us to hell"...
We wrote to the company, and no one answered, we called, no one answered, ...
Thomas refused to give us an invoice, and since a few days, the website is down, and the domain name available for sale (which means it's intentionnal, not a technical problem), letters sent to the company address returns, Thomas changed his phone numbre, company email sends a permanent error, ...
In two words, Thomas Whitall is trying to diseappear.
We already engaged a legal procedure against him, because we feel we have been fooled, by a dishonest person, and we will be gratefull for any additional information, to help us find him.
Some people had good experience with South Atlantic, and I'm glad for them. On the other side, if this was not the case, we wouldn't have been fooled by Thomas Whitall, and South Atlantic, along with 5 other boats (and still counting), and it doesn't mean this person is acting fair and honest.
My opinion, is DO NOT buy anything from South Atlantic, and go for a proven, professional, long time running, wind pilot maker, even if it seems more expensive.
You are welcome to provide any information you want to provide to help us go ahead with the procedure. We'll be greatfull for that.
PS : I will copy and paste this message in other forums. So I apologize in advance for those who mind finding it twice, but I feel that the more this infomation is read, the better. You'd be happy to bump into this message if you are in the process of choosing a wind pilot.