The designer and manufacturer, Trenchard Bowden, is an old sea dog, Yacht Master and graduate mechanical engineer.
In 1969 he completed a home built Maurice Griffiths Eventide and gained extensive sailing experience in the Indian Ocean, also crossing the Atlantic twice, once as navigator in the Cape to Rio race.
He subsequently sailed extensively in English, Scottish and Irish waters, onto Portugal, Greece and Israel. Shorthanded sailing made it imperative to have a light, powerful, wind vane steering gear on board and the book by John S. Letcher Jr. “Self Steering for Sailing Craft” proved invaluable, giving all the design criteria. He selected the servo pendulum rudder arrangement which allows the auxiliary rudder to work in conjunction with main rudder to steer the vessel.
The Neptune Windvane Self Steering system has been designed with extremely low friction, incorporating a laminar flow airfoil and rudder. After considerable testing, the first production model was purchased by Clyde and Desne Cole for their 35 ton, 51 foot, concrete ketch. The price was negotiated and payment was only on condition that Trenchard skippered their yacht some 400 miles from Durban to East London (South Africa). The arrangement was that if the Neptune was successful they would pay in full, plus his airfare back to Durban. Despite winds from all directions and strengths, the Neptune steered the vessel for the entire trip – read the conclusion in “Neptune Customer Comments”.
The Neptune has proved very successful and first assemblies were marketed in 1994, with hundreds having been sold worldwide. Today we build four models, which have been tested on boats from 23 feet upwards. Since 2003 all have been assembled and marketed in Britain. We pride ourselves in spending as long as it takes to assist the yachtsman in selecting the correct equipment and accessories for individual vessel, so please feel free to contact us with any queries you may have.