The Lift-up design was a development of
the original Aries which was in continuous production from 1970-1992.
I feel the main the design problem with
vane gears in the world up to now has been the difficulty of
fitting and removing the servo rudder in the water (or the auxiliary
rudder on the direct acting types). Quite a few designs allow
the servo rudder to hinge out of the water but this is not good
enough as there is still the problem of fitting the rudder on
its shaft low down the transom from deck level.
Experience has shown that another major
problem and worry to owners is collision damage to the vane gear
when in harbour. It only needs a small mistake when manoeuvering
to smash the gear.
Both these problems were solved with the
Lift-up design. You can hinge the servo rudder up to vertical
within seconds standing at deck level and only using one hand.
A quick release plunger allows instant removal of the servo rudder.
Operation of the two knurled collars on the hinge pin enables
the mainframe to be lifted off the crosstube casting. The crosstube
and mounting tubes are released from the four transom brackets
by pulling the quick release plungers with one finger.
When aboard, the two rope take-off
tubes can be removed from the mainframe casting which makes this
part of the gear stow flat. The entire mechanism fits into the
bottom of the small cockpit seat locker.
I believe the only practical design of
vane gear capable of controlling a yacht at high speed in heavy
weather is the servo pendulum type such as Aries which operate
the tiller or wheel via ropes. In fact a yachts main rudder is
astonishingly efficient when you consider that a small amount
of force on the helm will control a hull weighing perhaps 20
tons in large seas. The servo rudder only has to develop a small
force equal to that of the helmsman.
David Cowpers 41ft
sloop 'Ocean Bound' heads for Cape Horn
I feel that any other vane system such
as locking the main helm and using the vane gear to steer the
boat directly cannot offer the same steering control especially
in heavy weather. The vane's rudder would have to be large enough
to redevelop a sufficient force but you would then be faced with
severe structural problems transmitting this to the transom.
The vane can be operated entirely from
the normal steering position in the cockpit by use of the two
course adjusting lines and wheel drum unit or tiller clamp and
chain. One pull of the course adjusting lines theoretically alters
course 6° but this depends on the amount of weather helm
present. Very small course alterations can be made by adjusting
the tiller clamp or wheel drum clutch but this is normally not
required. I much prefer this method of course adjusting lines
as compared to a wormwheel and line as you can tell exactly how
much adjustment you are applying. This is especially useful at
6mm marine plywood is used for the wind
vane. I tried other materials but none of them compare with plywood
for this particular purpose. The size is not important but the
vane must always slowly rise to vertical when released from full