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Aries Source
I have a Seafarer 38 yawl with an Aries windvane self-steerer. The vane needs parts, some special bushings, bearings and so forth. I have been trying to locate a current parts source without success.

Are you up to the challenge of finding an Aries parts source?

Howard Weinstock
St. Thomas, Virgin Islands

Recently we heard that someone had bought Aries and moved it to one of the Scandinavian countries, but we haven't been able to confirm this. Nor can Cruising Gear, which is a source of bushings and moving parts for the Aries. Cruising Gear, 2747 SW 27th Ave., Miami, FL 33133; 305/854-7600. e-mail: sailgear@icanect.net

Wiring 6-Volt Batteries
In previous issues you have discussed the use of 6-volt batteries in place of 12-volt batteries. Each year the 12-volt batteries get heavier. I have two batteries for my house bank. What is the correct way to connect the four 6-volt batteries?

Rick Noorman
Grand Rapids, Michigan

We think youve made a good decision switching to 6-volt batteries. We did this about four years ago and think it was one of the better decisions weve made regarding the boats systems.

The schematic shows the difference between parallel and series wiring. You want series wiring. On our boat, we have two banks, each consisting of two 6-volt batteries rated at about 215 amp-hours (there is no dedicated engine start battery; instead, we switch from one bank to the other each day). But if you want all four batteries to make up one 12-volt bank, then wire the two series-wired pairs in parallel.

Note in the example that two 105AH 12-volt batteries wired in parallel have the same capacity as the four 105AH 6-volt batteries. The advantage to using the 6-volt batteries is that each one would be much smaller than the 12-volt battery. If you buy a 6-volt battery of the same approximate size and weight as a 12-volt battery, it will have about twice the capacity, say, 210AH instead of 105AH. In the example, four 210AH 6-volt batteries would total 420AH.

Practical Sailor has been independently testing and reporting on marine products for serious sailors for more than 45 years. Supported entirely by subscribers, Practical Sailor accepts no advertising or any form of compensation from manufacturers whose products we test. Testing is carried out by a team of experts from a wide range of fields including marine electronics, marine safety, marine surveying, sailboat rigging, sailmaking, engineering, ocean sailing, sailboat racing, and sailboat construction and design. This diversity of expertise allows us to carry out in-depth, objective evaluation of virtually every product available to serious sailors. Practical Sailor is edited by Darrell Nicholson, a long-time liveaboard sailor and trans-Pacific cruiser with more than three decades of experience as a marine writer, photographer, boat captain, and product tester. Before taking on the editor’s position at Practical Sailor, Darrell was the editor of Offshore magazine, a boating-lifestyle magazine serving the New England area. Darrell has won multiple awards from Boating Writer’s International, including the Monk Farnham award for editorial excellence. He holds a U.S. Coast Guard 100-ton Master license and has worked as a harbor pilot and skippered a variety of commercial charter boats.