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post #1 of Old 08-31-2013 Thread Starter
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Weather Helm

I sailed about 20 miles today from Point Orient NY to Clinton Ct.

Boat is a Bristol 32, cutaway full keel, center board.
Barn door rudder.
BRISTOL 32 sailboat specifications and details on

Wheel model
Center board stuck up.
Rigging recently replaced due to a dismasting a few years ago.
Crisp full battened main, with lazy jacks
Crips genoa I'm guessing 150
No boom vang
Traveler not really operative.
I was able to get the luff moderately tight but not as tight as I would have liked.
No tells on the main so I had a hard time knowing exactly how to trim it.
The backstay seems very tight.
I'm guessing that the rudder and 3 blade prop are very fouled

Wind was about 10 knots gusting to 13 apparent.
Close hauled to close reaching.

I was surprised at how much weather helm the boat had.
I had to really let out the main to the point where the first foot or so of the luff was luffing before it was reduced enough to be tolerable.

Interestingly if I locked the helm it would track for quite a long time without adjustments with only 3 or 4 degrees of rudder.
Genoa is roller reefing type with two marks. I reefed to the first mark and as expected the weather helm was worse.

I don't have a lot of confidence in whoever did the re-rigging as the mast is particularly noisy at anchor because the internal wires are not captured in any way which seems pretty sloppy to me on a re-rig job.

I haven't check mast rake yet, don't know what it should be.
I don't know if it is tall or short rig.

Maybe their are just so many things out of spec on this boat that they just all add up to the behavior I experienced.

Anyone with one of these beasts that is tuned well? Do you have to reef the main in 15 knots of wind?
Or maybe the helm on this kind of keel and rudder is just very heavy.

The lesson from the Icarus story is not about human failing.
It is a lesson about the limitations of wax as an adhesive.
If you have an engineering problem solve it.

Last edited by davidpm; 08-31-2013 at 10:09 PM.
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