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Old 11-23-2003
aflanigan aflanigan is offline
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heeling, weather helm and rudder control

Dear cmanto,

Randolph Bertin asked for help in "better understanding the mechanics of sailing", and said he is "trying to figure out exactly what is going on". I think that''s what most posters were trying to respond to. There probably isn''t a simple, straightforward answer to the question "why do I have excessive weather helm" any more than there is a simple, straightforward answer to the question "why won''t my engine start?" For example, some responses on this topic over the years deal with changing the amount of sail area you have (main vs. jib) on a sloop rigged boat, but this doesn''t apply to a catboat rig, for example. Some responses talk about raking the mast (angling it back or forward), but this obviously won''t work for a boat like a Laser which doesn''t have this capability.

Randolph mentioned angle of attack, so most responders probably assumed he knew or could look up on the internet the meaning of any "technical" words (like stall, drag, torque, etc.) used, and the responses offered look like they give a mix of more technical answers with "bottom line", straightforward advice that doesn''t rely so much on the "why" but gets right to the "how" of dealing with the problem.

I''ll bet a lot of people have posted basic sailing questions on this board in search of answers in simple layman''s terms (what brand of Champagne should I christen my boat with?), and hopefully what they ask for is what they''ll get. Hopefully, Randolph got the answers he was looking for.

Allen Flanigan
Alexandria, VA
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