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Old 17-02-2013, 00:59   #1
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Aries Wind Vane self steering system

I have acquired a second hand wind vane">Aries wind vane for my Duncanson 34 yacht. The yacht is a fin keel 1980’s design IOR type, with tumble home sides and tiller steered rudder placed right at the back of the hull.

The Aries works very well upwind in varying wind strengths, but fails in conditions when the wind is abaft the beam. The problem seems to be, when sailing off the wind, the paddle swings to one side (especially on a port tack), and stops in that position, threatening to jibe the boat unless I take over the steering. There is no noticeable jamming in any of the mechanisms and the wind vane can be moved easily from side to side, however the vane lays over to one side and remains there for long enough to over correct the course, causing an involuntary jibe.

I have checked the orientation of the bevel gears (facing forward), the size of the wind vane, also ensured that the paddle is facing directly fore and arft when the wind vane is vertical and the paddle is centred under the frame. The height from the mid-section of the horizontal frame supporting the Aries to the water line, when the boat is fully loaded with water and fuel and myself standing on the stern is 860mm – the book states that the suitable range should be between 810mm to 1100mm. The stern of the boat no doubt “squats” a bit when moving forward and reduces this distance, but I imagine this has been taken into account. The problem seemed to get worse when I loaded the boat with fuel and water, reducing the height above the water from 890mm to 860mm. I have also noticed that the paddle is very buoyant and therefore resists moving back to the centre position.

I am considering adding weight to the counter weight under the wind vane to improve its righting moment and therefore response time to direct the paddle back towards the centre line.

Has anyone any ideas how to correct the above problem, is the extra counter balance weight likely to do any good, is the paddle too deep in the water, any advice would be gratefully received?

Peter
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Old 17-02-2013, 01:38   #2
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Re: Aries Wind Vane self steering system

Is your Aries an older, Nick Franklin (English) built one, or a newer. Peter Mathieson (Danish) version?

It sounds like the wind vane might not be balanced correctly against the counter weight. I wouldn't touch the counterweight, but the wind vane might need to be lighter.

You can get advice on the older Aries from Helen Franklin at Aries - Providing Vane Gear Spares and information

or for the Danish version from Peter Mathieson at Aries

Don't give up on it. These are great pieces of kit. We have had ours for ten years, with no trouble at all.
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Old 17-02-2013, 02:59   #3
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Re: Aries Wind Vane self steering system

Second the above, my counterweight corroded and cruising I just attached some stainless bolts to add a bit of weight, you could give that a go with tie wraps or pvc tape to see if it helps.
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Old 27-02-2013, 19:44   #4
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Re: Aries Wind Vane self steering system

I don't know if reason is the same but we had the same problem. Turns out the gears were out of sync or mesh. After a tear down and thinking everything through, it turns out the gears were 1 tooth off. We have a tilt up model.
Good luck getting it touch with Helen. I hear the phone is better than email.
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Old 28-02-2013, 03:38   #5
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Re: Aries Wind Vane self steering system

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I don't know if reason is the same but we had the same problem. Turns out the gears were out of sync or mesh. After a tear down and thinking everything through, it turns out the gears were 1 tooth off. We have a tilt up model.
Good luck getting it touch with Helen. I hear the phone is better than email.
Thanks, however the teeth seem to be in the right place based on the manual. I did add some lead roof flashing to the shank supporting the counter weight and this has improved the performance considerably - my wind vane may have been too heavy!!!!
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Old 28-02-2013, 04:29   #6
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Re: Aries Wind Vane self steering system

Hi RENE, we encountered a similar problem with our inherited Aries. At first I thought it was an out-of-alignment gear, but discovered the issues was with the Aries rudder. Turned out our rudder had become un-bonded to the shaft, and had changed angle.

I split the rudder, and found that salt water had intruded down the aluminum shaft. The internal ribs had actually corroded and fractured, leaving the rudder free to rotate on the shaft. It was a relatively easy fix to rebuild the rudder (greatly improving on the tiny rib-pins that had fractured). That was two seasons ago. Ours has worked fine ever since.
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Old 28-02-2013, 15:04   #7
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Re: Aries Wind Vane self steering system

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Originally Posted by Mike OReilly View Post
Hi RENE, we encountered a similar problem with our inherited Aries. At first I thought it was an out-of-alignment gear, but discovered the issues was with the Aries rudder. Turned out our rudder had become un-bonded to the shaft, and had changed angle.

I split the rudder, and found that salt water had intruded down the aluminum shaft. The internal ribs had actually corroded and fractured, leaving the rudder free to rotate on the shaft. It was a relatively easy fix to rebuild the rudder (greatly improving on the tiny rib-pins that had fractured). That was two seasons ago. Ours has worked fine ever since.
Thanks for the info, however I had the paddle re-built before fitting, but I was a bit concerned about how boyant it was - apparently this is not a problem.
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Old 28-02-2013, 15:45   #8
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Re: Aries Wind Vane self steering system

I should amend my comment about our gears not engaged correctly. Actually in the end, the stop pin was not indexed correctly. It does not take much but 1/2 of a hole was enough to make the vane jamb up on one side. I can only think that humans put these together so Sh:t happens. Its interesting to hear about changing weight to affect the sensitivity. Downwind is still a problem. Fishing weights?
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Old 28-02-2013, 16:53   #9
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Re: Aries Wind Vane self steering system

Made up a much larger wind paddle out of corrugated plastic for my pendulum servo vane. The plastic is very light, lighter than the stock plywood vane even though it's a third larger. Steers way better in light air and downwind. Was a little afraid it wouldn't hold up but still going strong after 13 days running DDW wing and wing to Hawaii.
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Old 28-02-2013, 18:13   #10
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Re: Aries Wind Vane self steering system

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Made up a much larger wind paddle out of corrugated plastic for my pendulum servo vane. The plastic is very light, lighter than the stock plywood vane even though it's a third larger. Steers way better in light air and downwind. Was a little afraid it wouldn't hold up but still going strong after 13 days running DDW wing and wing to Hawaii.
Do you know the dimensions of your plastic roverhi? Sounds like a good idea.

We have two plywood (~1/4") versions; one about ~3' tall and one ~2' (measures are from memory). I find we need about 8knts of apparent wind to steer effectively with the Aries. Doesn't seem to matter the direction, although obviously DW sailing demands higher true wind.
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Old 01-03-2013, 09:03   #11
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Re: Aries Wind Vane self steering system

The corrugated plastic was about 1/4" thick. It fit right into the mounts for the plywood paddle after I cut a notch for the tightening bolt. The plastic comes in 4' x ? something panels. Had 4 4'x8" lengths ripped for me at a plastics shop. Wasn't sure how they'd hold up so had extras cut. Am still on the first one and it really got a workout with the stern slewing around because of the following seas. Be sure that they cut the plastic with the internal ribbing vertical. My test piece was cut with the ribs horizontal. It worked great but bent at the mount after a short time. Proved the panels were a good idea so I went back and had the pieces with the opposite layout.
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Old 13-08-2013, 23:34   #12
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Re: Aries Wind Vane self steering system

dont add the weight it will be an assembly problem of some sort including those mentioned above. The rod if i remember can be put on one of two ways so check that. We have the lift up and the pre owner had added the weight. We took it off and found the rod was on wrong, I cant exactly remember how but it was and it has worked well ever since. All vanes have problems in low wind and you have to have boat speed of at least 2 knots.
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Old 16-11-2013, 14:43   #13
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Re: Aries Wind Vane self steering system

I have a used Aries also... Haven't tried to install it yet. Trying to read as much information as I can hoping not to have to patch a lot of unnecessary miss drilled holes.
It is missing the oar, so it is great to read some of the comments here as I may end up making one.
I have an Irwin 42 with a 3/4 keel with an aft rudder. I believe I have an option of either deck mounting or stern mount... The measurements are close. The issue I see off hand is the distance between the oar & the rudder. Is there a minimum clearance between the two as to avoid any disturbance from the rudder ?
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