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Old 11-04-2013
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Re: i NEED HELP/Training weather?

Getting some weather helm on a gust is normal. It's what you want as long as it's not excessive. Excessive would be if you have to exert a lot of force and put the rudder hard over to bring it back. The worst situation is lee helm, whereby the bow falls off in a gust. Lee helm is dangerous because wind pressure is not relieved and you can get knocked down.

I've found that the things which reduce weather helm are 1. mast position: If your headstay is too long, it shifts the center of the sail aft, leveraging the boat around the mast when a gust hits. Tensioning the head and backstays correctly and getting the mast rake set where it should be seems to make a huge difference. 2. Moving the pocket of the sail forward with a cunningham makes a surprising difference with minimal effort. 3. Avoiding having those "racing" sails on. Rarely do I ever hoist a 160 genny or the maxxed out racing main that came with the boat. They just tend to overpower as soon as the wind gets > about 10 knots and are really best for light wind. It seems to me that for all around sailing, 100% sails are where the most stability can be found.
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