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