Superior Steering and Autopilot System

A superior steering system for blue-water cruising

We never use cable or hydraulic steering. We only use a premium JEFA shaft and rotary gear systems.  Every Antares is equipped with the best components, and the steering system is no exception.

The gearbox converts rotary motion to transverse motion, which moves the tiller arm. This shaft and gearbox system is superior to other steering systems such as wire or hydraulic steering in terms of precision, feedback and integrity.

Here is a summary of the main features of our JEFA steering system.

Shaft and Gearbox Steering

Antares uses a shaft and gearbox system. This shaft steering system can withstand the heaviest water conditions, making steering more responsive under any circumstance and is ideal for a blue water cruising yacht. Unlike wire and hydraulic systems that require frequent inspection and maintenance, the robust shaft system require virtually no maintenance.

Less Drag Friction

The mechanical gearbox produces much less drag friction than other steering systems. Less friction means easier steering and less load on the Autopilot. Adding a hydraulic cylinder to the rudder/steering system is like adding a big damper. Hydraulic autopilot rams tend to back drive very with difficulty as the cylinder has high pressure seals that brake the piston heavily and the oil has to be pressed from one side to the other through a small bypass valve causing a high friction.

2-3x Lower Energy Requirements

Energy consumption is important on a sailboat. Most of the time when using the autopilot, the vessel is under sail, and needs to conserve power (unlike power boats, that typically use hydraulic steering).

There are two factors that significantly reduce energy requirements.

1. The mechanical gearbox produces less friction and back drive, consuming less energy for the autopilot.

2. JEFA uses a flat-wound pancake motor that is 70-80% efficient, vs. the standard-wound DC motor that is almost half as efficient.

Jefa Steering System
Jefa Shaft Steering Diagram