Aries Vane Gear Buyers Guide

Details to look for when purchasing a used Aries or a yacht with an Aires already fitted.

Despite its 30 year production run the Standard Aries has had quite small alterations. The most important change has been to the Main Rudder Spindle - No 63. For the first three years of production this shaft was a 1.5" diameter tube with stainless rings on the top and bottom to run in bearings No 53. If the bottom of No 63 is alloy tube and the bore in the Lower Bevel is 1" then you have one of these early shafts which should be scrapped. Buy a new hard Anodised Shaft No 63, a new Stainless Bevel No 49, two 53's etc. But with an old gear like this a rebuild kit as shown on the Parts List contains the Plastic Bushes and other small parts which would be the best bet.

From 1973 to 1980 shaft No 63 was a stainless tube which should be in good condition although the coupling No 68 tends to corrode solid to it.  From 1980 to 1990 shaft No 63 was a hard anodised alloy tube with a stainless Bevel gear No 49. The only other change of note was to the Lower Shell Casting - No 64. Earlier ones had two fixing screws - No 65. Later ones had four fixing screws.

  Rudder Couplings

The earliest Standard Aries had hinged Rudder Couplings which hinged aft but had to be discontinued due very high collision damage suffered by owners when their Servo Rudders were hinged up. Most Aries were supplied with fixed non hinged couplings as shown in the parts drawing.

In the late 1970's a sideways hinged rudder was supplied which worked well but tends to wear out before anything else. No spares are available for this coupling now.

The only solution to remove the free play from the sideways hinge coupling is to thread bolts into the lower spring loaded sleeve and lock it solid to the 1.5" shaft. Alternatively, scrap the hinge plate and its short upper tube and fit a standard non hinge coupling to the Servo Rudder stock.

The Servo Rudder in stowed position

The Servo Rudder Blade
This is foam filled with a G.R.P skin. They naturally get a bad hammering and are sometimes eaten by sharks. If the G.R.P has been repaired with more chopped strand mat they may well have become too thick in their aerofoil section causing cavitation underway with a loss of force when working and low power to the steering lines. Experience over the years has shown this effect quite clearly. Bear in mind the Servo Rudder is operating at many times over it's displacement speed. At six knots aft side is in clean air and ten knots you can see down the entire rudder with only its leading edge touching the water.

Depth of the Servo Rudder in the Water
When supplied new, every Aries would have had the correct length rudder stock supplied. The G.R.P was the same length only the 1.5" tubing coming out of it was changed. The projection from the G.R.P was either 10" short, 16" standard or 20" long. Sometimes even longer ones were supplied.
The larger the yacht the higher the transom above the water the longer rudder stock. As a general guide you want to have a small amount of the rudder above the water when stationary. If the yacht is heavy on the helm then have the rudder longer and deeper, giving more power.

Things to Look for on a Used Aries
Apart from the points already mentioned, the most obvious thing is the general condition of the gear. It will probably have a lot of surface corrosion but experience has shown this should not prevent the rebuilding of it. If it has not been used for some time it will be most likely stiff or seized up in its vane linkage and must be taken apart. (If it is quite old it would be a good idea to take it to pieces anyway - see rebuilding hints). Most Aries were supplied for wheel steering and used a wheel drum. New wheel drums are available if required as well as a tiller clamp and chain for tiller steering. Mounting clamps and bolts are also available if lost.

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