Aries Vane Gear

Aries steering vane

Westsails are made for offshore sailing and because an electric or hydraulic tiller draws amps to operate, many of the boats came with an Aries steering vane. This enables the boat to steer itself on a bearing that you decide and then maintain that course without needing any extra energy. The compromise is only the bulk and weight of the vane which I’m guessing adds another  70 – 80 pounds of weight to the stern of the boat and additional length. It’s essential equipment offshore because it’s very dependable steering. However, while sailing and harboring for local cruising it’s completely useless and in the way. This is mainly due to the additional length and bulk that it takes up while mounted and also because an electric tiller for daysailing is a much simpler, lighter and more compact self-steering mechanism. Nonetheless the vane will need overhauling to make it usable and fits nicely in a small mooring closet. I began disassembling it but unfortunately many of the parts are seized together or do not come apart very easily. I began finding every screw I could and pulled as many as I could yet nothing was coming apart aside from a few pulleys and the housing that protects the paws in the upper drum. The pawls look pretty old so at least I can start by finding replacements but I also need to be able to remove all of the gears and the center pole to get it operating smoothly again. I’ll need to consult someone who can offer advice on anti-seizing the pole sleeves from the poles as well as removing the machined pins that hold the inner geared mechanism together. I have plenty of time to get this project completed but I’m still going to try and get it working as good as it once did so I can use it when sailing offshore.

The original steering vane in dire need of an overhaul