Aries Vane Gear Products

Aries No1 - The first Aries Vane Gear

This is the First Aries Vane Gear produced in 1968. Built of bronze and stainless. Featured bevel gear transmission between wind vane and servo rudder to prevent 'oversteer.' The bevel gears have been used on every Aries produced since then. Forty of these models were during 1968 and 1969.

Spares availability is rather limited. You can use present production servo rudder blade but needs adaptor bush made to bring the 1.5'" bore on the new rudder coupling to fit the 1" diameter on this model. It's suitable as an exhibit in maritime museums and is very beautiful. Count yourself lucky if you have one.

Aries No 2 - The Aries Horizontally Pivoted Vane Gear

This set a new world standard in performance especially sailing down wind. Many parts of the linkage between the wind vane and servo rudder are the same as the later Aries. You can use the present production servo rudder blade with adaptor bush as mentioned on the first model. There were approximately 75 built.

 Aries No 3 - The Standard Vane Gear (1970 - 1990)

It was never discovered why this version acquired this name but some 8,000 were produced and sold all around the world and can be seen in every harbour. They have a very strong brutal construction and has no other purpose in life but to steer an ocean going yacht in all conditions including survival. All were sold on recommendation with almost no advertising.

If you buy a used Aries it will probably be one of these although the rebuilding hints still apply to the other models as shown in this information. The assumption in this website is that you have an Aries between 10 and 30 years old and wish to rebuild it and sail around the world. This is a very practical matter which most owners should be able to supervise or do themselves. (If you are not capable of doing this you should not be in charge of the boat anyway).

Spare parts are available from Helen Franklin (Nick Franklin's daughter) who has been selling the spare parts since 1990 when Nick retired.

Aries No 4 - Stainless and Bronze Model Aries

Produced in 1975/76 the stainless and bronze model works the same as the Standard Aries. There were 400 made but manufacturing stopped due to production difficulties, therefore spares are very limited. However, you can use the present servo rudder without adaptor sleeve needed in coupling. It is a very beautiful product and again would make excellent maritime museum material.

Close up of First Aries Vane Gear - Nov 1968.

 Aries No 5 - Lift Up Vane Gear

Produced from 1981 - 1992. 2,500 sold. Complete break through in design. Has a 'sub frame' bolted to the stern or deck upon which the mainframe part of the Gear hinges on making it easy to swing the servo rudder up to vertical from deck level. The entire Vane Gear can be quickly removed leaving the sub frame in place.

Most installations were fitted to the transom with four mounting tubes of which the forward ends were bolted to the transom skin with universal brackets. The earlier brackets were a hard anodised ball and socket arrangement. Later ones were a stainless toggle design. If buying a Lift Up you may have to either shorten the tubes or buy longer ones to suit your transom angle. Spares still available standard rudder and coupling fits. Very strong. Hinge part between sub frame and main frame does not wear out.

Aries No 6 - The Circumnavigator

Produced from 1988 - 1992 the Circumnavigator was designed for large 'difficult' or hard to steer yachts. There were 400 made and they had a stronger servo rudder shafting, with four tube mountings as with the Lift Up. The most important feature was the introduction of needle roller bearings on rudder spindle giving improved performance (these are impossible to fit to any other Aries). Spares are still available as for Standard Aries.