Frequently Asked Questions
WORM GEAR STEERING - My boat has worm-gear steering, and I've been told that a servopendulum system won't work on it. Is this true?
No - there are many working Monitors out there on boats with worm gear steering. There are two reasons why it's stated that servopendulum windvanes won't work with worm gear steering:
1 - The steering is too stiff. True, any servo-pendulum steering system is going to have a hard time working a stiff wheel, but so will the helmsman - you! The solution is to fix it! Worm gear systems are prone to binding and excessive back pressure when they are not properly adjusted and - very often - not properly lubricated. Check the bearings and/or bushings in your steering system, and keep it properly greased. You don't want to have to fight the wheel, and neither should your windvane.
2 - The wheel has too many turns lock-to-lock. Many worm-gear steering setups give the wheel six, eight or even more turns lock-to-lock. This fosters the assumption that a Monitor and wheel adapter, that turns the wheel only about 1/2 turn each way off dead center, will not be able to steer. The question, though, is "how much wheel do you normally use to steer with?". If, when under way, you use only 1/4 to 1/2 turn each way to control the boat, the extra movement is superfluous. You may use that much movement when docking or maneuvering in harbor, but you won't be using it when under way. Too much wheel often causes the rudder to act like a brake - the boat doesn't turn easily; it just slows down - with a lot of strain on the steering tackle. If you normally need more than 1/2 turn of the wheel either way off-center to steer with, you can rig a reverse-purchase system to the operating lines.