Ease of installation

Conventional servo-pendulum systems often require the mounting components to be customised

Installing a conventional servo-pendulum gear is a substantial project. The major complication is that, as transom designs are so different, most boats will need the mounting components tailor-made - something of a headache for the DIY skipper. Faced with an outboard rudder or extreme sugar-scoop stern, the classic mounting arrangement of a traditional Aries or Monitor has little to offer. An elaborate and heavy tubular construction is the only solution, although the actual forces acting on a servo-pendulum gear transom bracket are surprisingly small (as we shall discuss later on).

Modern systems come with a variable mounting flange which can be adjusted to fit a wide range of transom angles without any special adaptor, rendering installation much more straightforward. It should be borne in mind in respect of boats with a forward-raked transom that most servo-pendulum gears only function properly with the pendulum arm vertical; the system may have to overhang aft by some distance to ensure that the rudder shaft clears the bottom edge of the transom.

Servo-pendulum systems with a vertical pendulum arm may need extended mounting brackets on modern forward-raked transoms.

In the raised position, the pendulum rudder of the Windpilot does not stick out beyond the stern because of its angled shaft

The overhang, of course, adds further to the weight of the gear. Almost all servo-pendulum systems have vertical pendulum arms. The only exceptions are Windpilot Pacific and Sailomat, on which the pendulum rudder axis is angled aft by 10° and 25° respectively. The significance of this for forward sloping transoms (by far the most common design) is that even with the system mounted close against the transom, the pendulum rudder shaft will still clear the bottom or aft edge. Mounting the system right up against the transom also means that when the pendulum rudder is pivoted up out of the water it no longer sticks out beyond the aft edge of the transom. This is a considerable advantage for manoeuvring in tight harbours or landing stern first in the Mediterranean, as no part of the gear sticks out beyond the outline of the boat.

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