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post #20 of Old 05-08-2013
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Re: changing helm style

I feel like a wheel eliminates one of your senses, sort of like losing your hearing or sense of touch, but I fully understand that some boats are simply better sailed with a wheel than a tiller.

The best way that I've seen, to overcome the loss of feedback from a wheel, is to tie 3 colors of shock cord onto the wheel:

Black (on top)- Rudder amidships
Red- Rudder at 45 degrees on stbd tack
Green- Rudder at 45 degrees on port tack.

Now you have a visual indicator of how much weather helm you have, to aid in your main sheet trimming. If the red or green shock cord is at the "top" of the wheel, you'd better start thinking of dropping the traveler, or easing the mainsheet.

On some boats, there is also an audible indicator of rudder cavitation when the boat heels over to far, and much of the rudder is out of the water.

None of this changes my opinion about wheels and pedestals on small boats, but if you simply must have it, at least do it right, and sail well.

Alacrity, 1981 Tartan 33 #168
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