Wind vane on a Badger

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  • 10 Jan 2020 14:19
    Reply # 8534694 on 8528652

    There's a kind of crank mechanism on each side, somewhat like the escapement in a clock. A line is attached to each, and a pull on it will advance the vane turret by that 6˚, then hold it there. The real disadvantage comes when tacking - the only way is to stand there jerking the line like a maniac 15 or 16 times, fast enough that you don't get into irons.

  • 10 Jan 2020 13:00
    Reply # 8534222 on 8528652

    Hi David, that's great info and exactly why I posted.

    I see the Aries has a toothed cog that I assume is the course setting mechanism and that you can't make those teeth any smaller so you get 6 degree course changes.

    You also point out the gear is mounted well aft and hard to access.

    That leads me to I have to access the gear to change course or can I do it with remote strings which is the entire point of a badger IE the ability to control the steering from the hatch.

    If an Aries requires me to touch it to change course then we have a problem.



  • 10 Jan 2020 09:30
    Reply # 8533029 on 8528652

    I can't address the combination of a Benford Dory and vane gears from personal experience, but I do have a long history of using vane gears on other vessels.

    In general, trim tabs don't steer as well as pendulums, but are adequate on long keeled boats. Pendulums will steer anything but even they will struggle with modern fin keel/ balanced spade rudder underwater profiles, and it takes the extra little twist of inclining the horizontal axis of the pendulum and sweeping the blade aft, as on the Windpilot, to cope with these.

    But given a broad-ish keel and a rudder without too much balance, an Aries will cope. Nick Franklin made several different designs of Aries, but only one of them was manufactured in large numbers, and I guess the one available to you is one of those. They were all intended to steer boats of about 30 - 50ft LOA. It's not the only gear with the configuration of inclined-axis vane and vertical pendulum, the Monitor and others will steer as well. I don't particularly like the course setting of the Aries, which works in 6˚ steps rather than being continuously adjustable, but in open sea passage-making conditions, that doesn't matter too much. The only problem with a Benford Dory is fitting it to a stern that doesn't have the width of a transom, and fitting it aft of the outboard rudder. These problems are soluble, with long enough mounting tubes, but it does put the gear rather out of easy reach.

    But to address the immediate question: if there is an Aries going for next-to-nothing, seize it with both hands before someone else does! If it's old, the bearings may need sorting out, but otherwise it's worth pursuing.

  • 09 Jan 2020 21:04
    Message # 8528652

    Final question for now I promise.

    The new boat has no wind vane self steering.  I am eager to fit one ASAP as it is the whole ethos of this boat.

    I believe I have an opportunity to purchase an Aries that was fitted to a 37 foot Roberts Spray at a next to nothing price.

    The original Badger had a trim tab on the rudder, but in later pics I see a servo pendulum type (IE a paddle in the water).

    Zebedee also appears to have an Aries(?).

    The rudder looks to be an updated shape with some balance area forward of the pivot point.  The keel on my boat looks to be the same ferro keel as Badger's original but the builder modified by lowering the center of gravity with lead.  So it is a moderate keel, not the short wing keel or the long shallow draft version.

    I would prefer not to be doing rudder mods immediately (end plate, trim tab etc).  So the plug and play (to a certain point) Aries seems a no brainer.  A few bolt holes above the water and some control lines and away we go.

    Will the Aries work?

    Is it the right size (does one size fit all)?

    And will the Aries work better than anything else?  It is supposed to be the Roll Royce of wind vanes.

    Thanks again,


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