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Old 17-03-2010, 16:03   #16
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Too many people that I respect love the simplicity of the Aires and simplicity is always good at sea. This unit seems to be the gold standard for all of the other makes so it's got to make you wonder ... why not buy the standard.

I appreciate all of the wise references to setting the course with trim and not worry about the 6 degree setting - just a shame that I had to be hit over the head so many times to wake up (I didn't take any of the suggestions that way, just referencing my dense noggin). I imagine that if you had an exceptionally steady wind, you could use the wheel kit for fine adjustment between the vane gear and the helm, but I plan to cruise, not race.

When you watch the "Using Aries" video, it is just so simple to use and such a clean setup. Same goes for the installation. I found this article helpful for tips on adjusting the Aries: Tips on sailing with a wind vane | Articles & Archives | Ocean Navigator: The magazine for long-distance offshore sailing and power voyaging - Essentially, navigate with the sails, not the rudder, just using the wind vane to maintain the course relative to the wind.

I may look at the isolation of the stainless steel from the aluminum metal to see if this could be improved. Recommendations? Maintenance required?

Any thoughts on using the Aries universal block and/or any other components that could be improved with a third party product (Harken sheaves, etc.)? I hesitate to go there, but thought I would throw it out for comment?

I would also invite recommendations on minor improvements to fix known issues. For instance, even the Aries website mentions how the plywood vane typically is broken in high winds. In the article above it mentions: On my Aries model, the mounting clamp for the plywood vane is quite narrow, and it was not uncommon for the vane to break at the clamp in heavy winds or seas. I eradicated this problem by bolting small pieces of aluminum angle to the plywood next to the clamp. When making spare vanes from quarter-inch-thick plywood, it is important to make sure they are not top heavy.

I guess the US dealer doesn't have a website, only E-Mail. The UK dealer does have a website with info on the Aries: Mactra Marine Equipment - Aries Vane Gear - Introduction
They do mention that: The Aries universal block is optional. You can also use normal blocks. Also, to give optimum performance on both sailing tacks it is essential the the vane is positioned on the centre of the transom.
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Old 17-03-2010, 16:11   #17
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The continuous line course control on my Fleming works perfectly AND I dont have to climb over the stern to adjust it.

There seems to be some confusion betzeen course control lines and steering lines:

The click course control on the Aries has nothing to do with the tension and adjustment of the steering lines

All servo pendulum vanes have steering lines to either the wheel or the tiller

If your steering lines jump off the drum they are either too loose and / or not lined up correctly with the drum ..... on ANY vane

Aires has a reputation because it was the first reliable solid servo pendulum ... doesnt mean its the best

The aluminium / steel interface on the Aries is its Achilles heel
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Old 17-03-2010, 17:16   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Albro359 View Post
...
Aires has a reputation because it was the first reliable solid servo pendulum ... doesnt mean its the best
...
Yep

Paul L
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Old 17-03-2010, 20:06   #19
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We had an early Aires that we bought directly from Nick Franklin so assume there have been a lot of changes. The stainless to aluminum interface needs some maintenace but very little. We never had a problem with the steering seizing or anything that affected the actual functioning of the vane because of the stainless/aluminum interface. There is a problem with the stainless set screws, axles, etc. on the fixed pieces that don't have a plastic bearing to insulate them.. If I was buying one new or just getting one, I'd disassemble it and put it back together using Lanocote, TefGel or some other antiseize to make it easy to disassemble in the future.

The one problem we had with ours was the plastic bearings in the pendulum rudder shaft expanded binding the rudder shaft. This wasn't a Galvanic problem but something weird to do with the plastic actually expanding. I had to take the Aluminum rudder arm off and loosen up the bearing tolerances with a file. This happened after the passage to the Marquesas. Did it once in 2 years and many thousands of miles of cruising. Also had the same problem with the wind vane pivot on my WPPP vane so it must be something with this slippery plastic bearing material.

The Aires vane was functioning just fine 20 years after we installed it and probably did more than 40,000 miles with us and the 2nd owner of our boat. The third owner used the boat for a dinner cruise business and took the Aires off and sold it. It's probably still out there steering some boat around the Pacific.

There were a lot of changes to the Aires when Nick was still alive. The latest version that I saw last year had a lot more changes. In fact, I had to look twice to recognize it as an Aires. Looks like they changed every piece on the gear to make it beefier than the already beefy construction of the original.

In my last post I was talking about the windvane steering adjustment lines. I call them the steering lines. The pendulum lines that pull on the tiller or turn the wheel, I've always called the control lines. In any case the infinitely variable windvane positioning lines are a pain in the butt. On the Monitor, the line would jump the sheave if the line wasn't in a near parallel relationship to the horizontal axis of the sheave. On the WPPP, have to be very close to the centerline of the boat or the line binds. On both of them, steering takes two hands, one on each side of the line coming off the sheave because you have to keep tension on the line so there is enough friction on the sheave to turn it. Also have to be careful of where the lines join to make a continuous loop. On the Monitor, the control line would jump the sheave if I inadvertantly allowed the join to slip around onto the sheave. On the WPPP, the line jams. With the Aires, just ran one line down each side of the boat. Just had to pull on whichever one controled the direction I wanted to go. No worries about it jamming, jumping off the sheave, or simply not working cause I didn't have enough tension on the line.

If you are sure you want to go with a Servo Pendulum gear, might want to look at the SailOMat. They supposedly are the most powerful gear there is. It's a simple 4 bolt Installation on almost any transom. In operation, really easy to swing the servo rudder out of the water when not in use. The rear sloping angle of the servo-rudder should shed most any junk that you pick up. The vertical shaft rudders are prone to collecting hitch hikers, btdt. They are definitely built hell for stout. Of course the Aires and WPP are also.

In any case, buy good quality bearing blocks for the control linesl I'd go at least one size larger than the line requires. The control lines really give these blocks a workout and you don't want to waste energy overcoming block friction or have one blow up on you in the middle of a passage.
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Old 18-03-2010, 07:43   #20
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Sailomat

Introduction & Overall Description - Sailomat

Well, the Sailomat looks like a heavy duty unit, but they only show it bolted with 4 bolts (their standard) and tube platforms are considered custom design (though it could be set up that way). Mount = 200 mm width, 240 mm height

I'm a little concerned about the new base design. From the link above:
The new and unique mounting base of the SAILOMAT 700 is already positioned to one side (port or starboard) of the SAILOMAT main body, making off-center mounting even more feasible and attractive.

Everything that I've read has suggested that off center mounting is not a good idea.

From the link above:
Large blade swing ability to the side and out of the water means overload safety and simple 'parking' of the servo blade when not in use.

They note elsewhere a blade side-swing ability of 148 degrees to the side.

The newer Aries models limited the swing to avoid the "bad weather" problem described at: Bad Weather.

Aluminum construction with no welding appears to be of high quality and they even have a zinc sacrifice anode to deter corrosion.

Slanted servo blade (34 degrees) makes practical sense. Overload safety is a plastic shear pin - Isn't that too weak? Photos of the components: Component Photos - Sailomat

Would anyone with experience with the Sailomat share thoughts on the new design? What material are they using for the bearings - I don't see this on the website? What about the danger with the wide swing and the plastic shear pin?

I'm just trying to fairly, but critically size up this wind vane ...
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Old 19-03-2010, 07:00   #21
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I just spoke to a buddy of mine that sailed around the world and recommended the Columbia 50 to me years ago. He said he had the Aries and that the 6-degree adjustment on it was no problem since the boat would wander along the course fine. As has been said, you have to trim the boat to get the heading you want as with all wind vanes.
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Old 19-03-2010, 09:40   #22
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Aries VS Monitor

We had an Aries on our last boat and loved it. The 6 adjustmaent is awesome.
The vane was not working great in light air until and old and wise cruiser told me to scrape the bearings with a straight knife until the vane was totally free, and then oil cpiously. After that it worked flawlessly. That boat had a tiller.

We now have a Tartan 37 with a Monitor and it works great too, though I hate the Wheel attachment mechanism. It is hard to undo under load, and not always easy to engage either. I think it works a little less well than the Aries in really light conditions though that may be the boat which is a lot faster = less apparent wind. We have a tillerpilot hooked up to it which copes fine though and we use that under power too.

On the whole I think that the Monitor is just a direct copy of the Aries with more modern materials.

One really neat solution that I have seen is to have a permanently attached emergency tiller facing aft to connect the steering lines to, means you don't have to cross them.

As to the size of the boat I think with any vane it is more about setting the boat up to be balanced. Any windvane will struggle with too much helm.

Your mileage may vary. Charlie
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Old 19-03-2010, 22:07   #23
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A Monitor? No alloy parts, proven. Have you thought about one?

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Old 20-03-2010, 21:58   #24
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From what I now understand, the adjustment on the monitor is not as easy as with the Aries. There is also insinuation that the stainless steel is not made as strong as the Aries as it would be cost preclusive in the design. This is why Aries uses both aluminum and stainless steel to achieve strength at lower cost. I'm still not convinced of this, just repeating what I'm reading. Combining stainless and aluminum certainly isn't a selling point for Aries, but it seems to handle a larger vessel based on cruisers that have chosen it that have been pleased with it.

I'm not writing anything off completely just yet, but am looking for specific pros and cons so I'm open to hearing more about the Monitor or any other wind vane produced by a widely known and proven manufacturer. I don't have a good Internet connection here on the boat so I'm going to post this without checking, but doesn't the monitor have a wide swing, which is why the Aries reduced the swing for the bad weather event Aries describes on its web page? It's a catch 22 because this prevents the top air vane from breaking, but it's better to replace the air vane than have the boat sent out of control. I'm still looking for specific feedback and/or experience.

One thing I'm trying to figure out is the speed of a vessel versus the speed required for the wind vane to start working. All have trouble down wind, but they do seem different in the speed required for them to work. Charlie makes a keen point in comparing the Aries and Monitor by mentioning that the new boat was faster so it's not a fair comparison.

Also, I have my forward/reverse control very close to the forward side of my Destroyer wheel so I'm probably going to have to put the wheel attachment mechanism on the aft side of the wheel and hopefully, it will not go through the wheel and hit the controls. Do the controls bulge out on both sides of the wheel with the various wheel attachments and if so by how much?
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Old 21-03-2010, 00:16   #25
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The 4 bolt mount with the Sailomat is plenty strong and much easier to mount than the Aries or Monitor. The other advantage of this mount is that the rudder does not get stopped on the frame. So it can actually drive all the way out of the water and thus take the pressure off the unit when at its extreme.

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Old 21-03-2010, 04:51   #26
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Gold Standard ??

Any thoughts on using the Aries universal block and/or any other components that could be improved with a third party product (Harken sheaves, etc.)? I hesitate to go there, but thought I would throw it out for comment?

I would also invite recommendations on minor improvements to fix known issues. For instance, even the Aries website mentions how the plywood vane typically is broken in high winds. In the article above it mentions: On my Aries model, the mounting clamp for the plywood vane is quite narrow, and it was not uncommon for the vane to break at the clamp in heavy winds or seas. I eradicated this problem by bolting small pieces of aluminum angle to the plywood next to the clamp. When making spare vanes from quarter-inch-thick plywood, it is important to make sure they are not top heavy.

Are you having us on or what ??..

My Fleming Global 501 has none of these issues...its much stronger than a Monitor and made from investment cast stainless steel...

Maybe we need to look wider ......with open eyes rather than historically closed ones !!
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Old 21-03-2010, 12:38   #27
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I think you are over thinking this. All the vanes work, some may work better than others, some may be stronger than others but they all seem to be adequately strong for the typical sailor.

Aires made a 'Mark II' vane that was an elegantly designed stainless and bronze design reminiscent of the SailoMat and CapeHorn in its bare bones simplicity. Unfortunately, It had problems with the servo rudder kicking up to the side out of the water in certain conditions and losing control. Nick abandoned that design and went back to the tried and true aluminum Aires. Don't know how much time and effort he put into coming up with a fix for the 'Mark II' as he also claimed it was too expensive to build.

I'm sure it is possible to break the plywood vane on any self steering but it's not a common thing. Just because Aires mentions it in their literature doesn't mean they are anymore prone to the problem. Some vanes offer smaller vanes for high wind conditions. Don't know if that is to prevent breakage or adjust the vane sensitivity for different wind conditions. BTW, some offer larger vanes for light air as well.

The Monitor is a copy of the Aires only in thin gauge, large diameter stainless steel tubing with a few other changes. I'm sure they used thin wall, large diameter stainless tubing because of the weight and strength factors. Thin wall, large diameter tubes are stronger or as strong but significantly lighter than thicker wall, smaller diameter tubing. That's why you see all the aluminum framed bicycles made from really large diameter tubes. The downfall of the thin wall tubing is it is not as strong on impact like accidentally backing into a sea wall. I've also heard of fatigue cracking at the welds on at least one vane after 50,000 miles or so of hard sailing. That's 4 or 5 lifetimes for most sailors. The people reporting the problem had the cracks rewelded and they and the vane soldiered on.

I wouldn't want the wheel mount on the aft side of the wheel. The Monitor wheel adaper, for one, is not all that easy to engage. I'd be afraid to engage it through the spokes of the wheel. Be sure that you can get at the wheel adapter by going around, not through the wheel. One big selling point for the CapeHorn is its easy direct attachment to the steering quadrant below deck. No worry about lines in the cockpit and mucking about engaging the wheel adapter.

I'd suggest you get on the web and download the manuals for all the vanes. The manuals give you a lot of information about installation and construction that aren't readily available from their sales brochures. Look at how you are going to get the vane control lines to the wheel, do you want the vane on the centerline or would it be better off center, how will you mount the vane on the stern?? All of the vanes will work to a point, it's just which will work the best on your boat.
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Old 21-03-2010, 13:49   #28
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I would not worry about light conditions downwind. You can always fire up the autopilot to help the vane in such a situation, or have the vane go by the auto.

I would rather pick up a vane that can do the heavy going downwind and broad reachin best - because that's exactly when you may need the "extra hand" to go out of the cockpit and sort out some issue or just go down and make a mug of hot coffee for yourself.

I like the Monitor - I have seen people sailing around the world with it and the mono-metal construction to me is a bonus. How I see the alloy+steel+salty water you can easily guess.

So if I were to go for alloy/steel I would rather look for alloy/plastic.

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Old 22-03-2010, 13:11   #29
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It sounds like uniform metallurgy, strength and bearings are the principle guidelines with course correction a minor issue since you set a "straight" course after aligning the vessel to wind on a desired course. The wind vane will auto-correct the course from this centerline setting.

TefGel is great stuff, but dissimilar metals will eventually corrode. I'm not so sure about the plastic bearings - Could be a plus or minus ??? Bulletproof construction and proven history are the Aries' plus sides. Still looking for the Aries manual online ...

I'm not sure I fully understand what the problem was with the Aries that caused the servo rudder to kick up to the side. It seemed like the fix was to limit the extent to which it could rotate. I guess I need to better understand this to figure out if the other models suffer from this as is indicated on the Aries website (Copies of Aries) and Bad Weather Problem (Forum). It seems that they would, but I'm not sure.

I appreciate the education on tubing. The way strength works with the larger diameter over thicker, smaller diameter wasn't intuitively obvious to me so thanks. I don't feel so afraid of the strength of some of the wind vanes that use this and then comment on damage due to impact. If I slam the unit into something, then the fault is not in my stars or my wind vane ...

Do you think that large diameter tubing in stainless steel is inherently stronger/better than aluminum?

The Sailomat appears to have built-in off-center mounting, which doesn't seem like a good thing. Perhaps I'm reading that wrong. I do like the slanted servo blade, no welding and zinc sacrifice anode. Still looking for an online manual ...

Monitor - Stainless Steel with less concern over the tubing now ... I'll just need to review the installation for improvements. This may be a good model to go with using a different installation technique than what they discuss. The Scanmar Monitor manual can be found at: http://www.selfsteer.com/products/monitor/index.php (link on the right)

I can customize the connections any way that makes the most sense for my boat so I'll read through all of the mounting available out there, go through manuals and read recommendations to see how to set it up. I'm not sure that I saw manuals for all the models, but I can always call for one, I'm sure.

This looks like the manual for the Fleming 501: http://www.fujiyachts.net/manuals/Fl...g%20Manual.pdf
- Why do they call this a Global Auxiliary Rudder on the products page: FLEMING Global Auxilliary Rudder - There and back for 40 years and only for boats up to 45ft?

Some have mentioned the Cape Horn as an excellent model. I notice that it rips on the Monitor specifically on its web page. Is it really that much better than the Monitor ???
Manual at: http://www.capehorn.com/sections/own...al_for_Web.htm

WindPilot manual: Kontakte (Click on Pacific on the left for this model) - Copy and paste "manual" from the web page.

Great point about not worrying so much about light wind operation. I'll use an autopilot for this so the focus is on smooth working bearings that work as long as possible worry free, a servo-pendulum unit that turns the main rudder for my boat, and a strong unit that will hold up at sea - not expected to hold up smashing it into a dock ... lol ...
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Old 22-03-2010, 13:34   #30
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>It sounds like uniform metallurgy,
There are plenty of 25 year old Aries around. And these pre-dated TefGel.
>The Sailomat appears to have built-in off-center mounting,
No, it was built with an easy to install bracket. It can be used off-center if you desire without any significant degradation. Mine is mounted off center of the ladder. If you want it mounted on the center line, then you mount it on the center line. Why would you think that shifting the vane 10 inches to one side would have a significant difference?

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