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Sat, March 02 2024, 05:49Login ] [ Contact Forum Admin ] [ Main index ] [ Post a new message ] [ Search | Check update time | Archives: 12345678910 ]

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Date Posted: - Tuesday - 07/ 3/12 - 10:29pm
Author: Sietse (M32 #49 "Waka Irie")
Subject: Aries windvane and Wheel steering: is it possible?

Hi All,

We haven't had much "internet time" lately but that doesn't mean we keep checking the MOA website.

I should really sent Bill an email about the transfer and name change on "Blues Traveler" and seeing he's back on the net again i will try to take some more pictues and put some info together on "Waka Irie" the new name of the boat.

in the meantime anyone that's interested in the state and whereabouts of the M32 #49 (ex-Blues Traveler) now called "Waka Irie" can look on our blog:

One question for now:

Since the Monitor windvaine that used to be mounted on the boat was gone we ended up buying an Aries Windvane including the drum.

I had good experience with these before and the Aries itself seems to work fine.
The Servo rudder does it's job and when it swings around it pules the steering lines. but these don't turn the wheel over enough to keep the boat on course.

it's hard for me to explain the whole thing but we're looking for any ideas on how the aries could make the wheel turn over more.

the boat steers itself when close to the wind with the sails balanced right. but in any other wind direction the aries doesn't do enough to keep the boat on course.

Does any Mariner owner use the Aries Windvaine and can tell us there experiences?

Thanks in advance,
Sietse & Jennifer

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[> Monitor -- Bruce, - Friday - 07/ 6/12 - 12:37pm

I have a Monitor Windvane with the Edson worm gear wheel steering - it works great. I see no reason why an Aries would not also work since they both use the same servo-pendulum technology.

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[> Windvane -- Doug Wilson, - Friday - 07/ 6/12 - 12:53pm

I use a Norvane windvane, but went to a tiller, Easy to do and works great.

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[> [> Aries windvane and Wheel steering: is it possible? -- Sietse (M32 #49 "Waka Irie"), - Sunday - 07/ 8/12 - 8:39am

Hi Doug,

so you changed the whole steering system then?

is it easy to take the edson worm gear driver out and put a tiller on there?

to be honest, i don't like the small wheel on the Mariner.
our boat doesn't seem to steer at all.
it has it's own way of going where it wants to go.
but the main problem i think is that the rudder is to small for the boat.

i should have made it bigger when we we're on the hard and had taken it off because the bronze rods we're corroded.

i'm interested if anyone else has changed there steering system to a Tiller setup.


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[> [> [> Tiller conversion -- Doug Wilson, - Sunday - 07/ 8/12 - 8:53am

It took maybe an hour to pull the worm gear steering out.
If I had found a welder who was not having personal problems, I could have had the tiller parts made in a week or so, as it was, it only cost $350.00 to have beautiful stainless work done.
I still have the worm gear steering and the wheel.
Wish I could send pictures, but I am in Italy for a while, my boat is in Puerto Vallarta, and my PC died.
I do like the tiller far more than the wheel. I also use a Simrad tiller pilot for use while motoring.

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[> Aries didn't work all that well for us -- Jared Kibele, - Sunday - 08/19/12 - 8:25pm

Hi Sietse,

We sailed our M31 Architeuthis from California to New Zealand last year. We bought and installed an Aries in Mexico with the wheel drum (Doug was there when we did it - Hi Doug!). I had already installed a below deck raymarine autopilot that hooked to the wheel shaft so taking the worm gear out and going to tiller was out of the question for me.

The old bronze wheel drum that we got with the Aries was adjustable. You could move a series of screws around to basically change the diameter of the drum so that you could either get more turns of the wheel with less force or more force with less turns of the wheel. By mucking around with that we could vary the performance of the vane from not very good to really bad.

Depending on sea state and point of sail, we could sometimes get the vane to steer the boat for a whole day with only minor adjustments but, more often, it would require fairly constant supervision. Eventually, we kind of gave up on it and just budgeted our electricity so that we could run our autopilot all the time. The autopilot never let us down but it was nice to know that we had a semi-functional wind vane as backup.

I think the worm gear definitely makes things difficult for a servo pendulum wind vane. It seems like cable and quandrant steering systems are easier for the vane to deal with because the rudder gets more feedback. The vane on that system just has to pull in one direction against the weather helm that pulls the steering in the opposite direction but with worm gear steering, the vane has to pull the wheel both directions.

So, basically, I'm saying that I wouldn't try to use a servo pendulum vane with worm gear steering again. In fact, we sold our Aries as soon as we got to NZ. It worked - sort of - but not well enough to make me happy. If I wanted to put another wind vane on an M31, I'd either get rid of the worm gear like Doug did or I'd get an auxiliary rudder vane like the Hydrovane. We crossed with the Mariner 40 'Shalimar'. They had a hydrovane and had good things to say about it.


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[> [> Servo Pendulum on worm gear -- james (m-31" Pyxis"), - Friday - 09/ 7/12 - 1:27am

A few things to think about before deep six your aries. I have single handed my boat Pyxis for the last 3 years cruising a minimum six months a year and have been using an Aries Mark IV wind vane with a Monitor drum. I have a tiller pilot attached to the sensor paddle instead of a traditional auto pilot. The mark IV is a stainless and bronze Servo pendulum wind vane. "MY TWO CENTS" Once I have the sails trimmed well the Aries works great on all points of sail. Its only short coming is when running in light air. The monitor and aries work using the same principal so Randall is a good example of how well a servo pendulum can work on a worm gear.. They are not effected by rudder feed back like a human. The main trouble when using a wind vane with a worm gear is too large of a drum on the wheel a smaller drum means more torque and faster turning at the wheel. Another issue is not enough control line raps on the drum if you don't have enough line on the drum it can slip and be sluggish.
I have set my Aries for runs up to 189 miles with little to no changes. Some things that will effect the vanes effectiveness are Control line stretch, Wheel drum diameter, turning block diameter and movement and of course sail trim you may also have some worn bearing or sheaves on your aries or the pendulum could not mounted deep enough in the water.
I know of two other boats currently cruising full time with servo pendulums on worm gear that are quite happy with them. It may take some effort to get get everything tuned on your rig but after you do you will have amp free steering. It works for me.
The combo of the tiller pilot of on the wind vane is another reason to take the time to get it working. The tiller pilot controls the sensor paddle instead of the rudder it so draws almost nothing. It also is a fraction of the cost of a wheel mounted auto pilot. You can carry a spare tiller pilot and still be at a third the price of a below deck mounted auto pilot. I hope this helps.

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[> [> [> Sail Trim and worm gear -- Bruce, - Wednesday - 09/12/12 - 3:01pm

Thanks James - good information. I think the key is making sure the sails are trimmed properly, and to have the worm gear and steering mechanism adjusted and lubricated properly. The particular brand of servo-pendulum self steering machine doesn't matter as much. I can't say enough about taking the time to do a proper installation with all of the correct angles on the control lines and blocks.

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[> [> [> Rudder Feedback -- Jared Kibele, - Monday - 11/12/12 - 9:38pm

My point about rudder feedback is that, with worm gear steering, the vane has to steer both directions. With a tiller or cables and quadrants, the vane really only has to turn one direction (downwind if there's a little weather-helm) and then in the absence of steering input from the vane the boat will head up. Our vane seemed to have trouble right at that transition point and by the time a correction got transmitted to the rudder, it was often too late. We tried different arrangements of blocks, different wheel drum diameters, newer lower stretch lines, different sail configurations, and all manner of four lettered words. We got it to work but never as well as we wanted it to.

That presented a problem when sailing downwind in light-ish air (around 15 kts or so) and sloppy confused seas. Unfortunately, those conditions were extremely common on our crossing.

I suspect that our negative opinion of the Aries also relates to the fact that we had our below deck autopilot first and we got used to just pushing a button and having it steer perfectly for as long as we wanted it to. The Aries worked well enough to be useful and if I had the option to go out cruising with just the Aries or to stay home and save money for the autopilot, I'd go cruising.

On the other hand, the $2500 or so that I spent on the autopilot was well worth it. ...largely because we also spent a big chunk of money on solar panels that could charge it. We plan to go cruising again some day on another boat and I'll probably have a below deck autopilot again if there's enough budget for it but I'd never tell anyone that they "need" to have one. Getting going is the most important part.

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[> Monitor -- Bruce, - Thursday - 08/23/12 - 2:15pm

Based on what Jared said about his Aries, I recommend selling your Aries and buying a used Monitor. I know that Randall Reeves sailed Murre around the Pacific with a monitor, and swears by it.

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[> How to rig an aries windvane to a wheel steering using the aries drum -- Keith Sigler (Frustrated), - Friday - 05/ 9/14 - 8:02pm

I'm planning a trip from Oahu to Long Beach, California. I have an aries windvane. What I need is a step by step video (hopefully), or a seriously detailed description on how to rig the windvane to the steering wheel using the wheel drum.

Thanks, Keith

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[> [> Monitor install, probably similar -- Randall, Murre, M31, - Monday - 05/19/14 - 6:36am

Spend some time on the Scanmar International site for the Monitor. They go into fantastic detail re installations, and the Aries and Monitor is probably similar enough for you to figure it out.

Also note there you can download their entire install manaul, link here: http://www.selfsteer.com/pdfs/MonitorManual.pdf.

Good luck,


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