Ease of use Removal

The ease with which a servo-pendulum gear can be removed seems fairly irrelevant for a blue-water voyage. In other situations, for example if a protruding gear is likely to be hit or to prevent theft during winter storage, it is helpful if the system can be removed without too much trouble. With the Pacific and Sailomat 600 models this can be accomplished by undoing just a single bolt. Most other systems are retained by several bolts.


Rudder blade not in use, Monitor.

A good servo-pendulum system should be simple to set up and, most importantly, should permit the user to raise the pendulum rudder up out of the water very quickly. Operation should be straightforward enough that a helmsperson will engage the system even for short absences from the helm, for example during a quick trip to the nav-station. Along with their visual drawbacks, the difficulty of operating conventional servo-pendulum systems is probably the main reason why many sailors initially opt for an autopilot.

A pendulum rudder cannot be prevented from moving around. Consequently, unless raised before motoring in reverse it will interrupt the manoeuvre as soon as the flow from astern is sufficient to deflect it.

Rudder blade not in use, Monitor.

Rudder blade not in use, Aries Lift-Up Rudder blade not in use, Navik

Rudder blade not in use, Atoms.

Rudder blade not in use, Fleming

Rudder blade raised, Sailomat 601

Rudder blade raised, Windpilot Pacific

Space requirement of a Monitor

Space requirement of a Windpilot Pacific

Modern systems allow the pendulum rudder to be raised easily whenever necessary, the only proviso being that the boat must be slowed down enough to ensure the force of the water flowing by does not hold the pendulum arm in place. Conventional systems, in contrast, have a catch on the rudder which must be released before the pendulum rudder can be raised in the shaft fork or swung up to one side.

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