Since I have owned my Alberg 30 Jean-du-Sud , I kept improving the way it is rigged and equipped to make it as easy to sail as possible. 44 years later, I claim: "Mission accomplished!"
My boat is strong enough to sail around Cape Horn, but small enough to be hauled on its trailer to the body of water I want to cruise for the season. I climb easily up the mast; I step or unstep it single-handed, without a crane. I have two parallel headstays, one with a furling genoa, the other with whatever sail I want to a hank on, plus a removable inner forestay for the storm jib. I take two reefs in the main from under the dodger.
My boat steers itself, I never steer by hand.
Windmill, solar panel and towed hydro-alternator for feeding batteries. Yet, electronics are kept to a minimum: combination log and depth sounder, radar for Maine or Newfoundland waters and laptop for navigation.
Has cruised under sail more than half a century. Purchased a 24 ft sloop in 1967, built a self-steering gear for it and sailed it single-handed to Magdalen Islands.
Acquired Alberg 30 hull 399 in 1973, named Jean-du-Sud , built another self-steering gear and sailed to the West Indies. Made a few voyages between Québec and the WI, some of them single-handed. 1977, sailed across the Atlantic, wintered in Brittany, sailed to Sweden.
Back in Brittany, designed a definitive self-steering gear to be used in and a single-handed voyage around the Great Capes.
1981, sailed from Saint-Malo France, headed for the Gulf of St. Lawrence the other way around the world, via the Southern Ocean. Rounded Good Hope and Cape Leeuwin, was capsized and dismasted in the Pacific, reached Chatham Islands under jury rig. Spliced and re-stepped the mast, sailed around Cape Horn and reached Gaspé after 28 200 miles in 282 sailing days.
Shot a 100 minute film of the voyage; Jean-du-Sud won Gold in all the Film Festivals it entered and has become a classic.
Recounted his voyage in the book Jean -du-Sud et l’Oizo-Magick , published in Québec in 1988, in France in 1996.
1989, launched Cape Horn Marine Products to offer his self-steering gear to fellow sailors.
2001, sailed across the Atlantic back to St-Malo twenty years after having left. Spent 7 summers cruising between Scotland and Italy; 2008, sailed back home. Cruised East Coast. 2015, sailed from Chesapeake to West Indies, returned via Cuba.
2017. Fifteen hundred yachts now steered by a Cape Horn Gear. Thirty years after it appeared in French, Jean-du-Sud and the Magick-Byrd translated and published in English.