Steering By A Star
While Roy attended fittings, fellow cruisers tossed a few skeptical looks our way, which we refused to catch. “You think the Aries will steer a 51’ boat?” Admittedly, a Toredo of doubt had wormed its way into my thoughts. The enigma compounding these concerns was connecting the Aries to hydraulic steering and operating the vane from the centre cockpit.
Noel had pondered the problems of the cockpit position and hydraulics and dialled up his ingenuity. Many moments I caught him gazing at the back of the boat trying to join the dots and ultimately creating an interesting overture. After many hours of internet searching, hoping someone had simply written up the answer, it seemed the emergency steering was the way to go. It meant much welding; weighing up the cost of paying a fabricator and buying a welder resulted in a new crew member in the form of an 110v/240v arc welder.
The Aries can easily be attached to the ‘wind vane tiller’. The ropes that run from the Aries are attached to chains, which in turn, slip over the tabs welded on the arms of the wind vane tiller. It is recommended that where the Aries ropes connect to the tiller in use, they should be 600-900mm from the rudder stock. The distance on our set up is only 450mm, in order to clear the life raft. Adding a block roved to advantage on each line has halved the effort and in effect, lengthened the tiller.
Incidentally, the worm of doubt turned into fish bait. So far, we have successfully tested Roy in 8 to 40 knots of apparent wind. We are in no hurry to try him out in stronger winds and we are confident he will cope admirably as the Aries generally works better in stronger winds.
So, now we steer by a star as the romantics prefer. However, our ‘star’ is the wonderful Roy.