Join Date: Mar 2004
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heeling, weather helm and rudder control
Excessive mast rake can also increase weather helm. Conversely, too little rake can increase leeward helm, which is dangerous. Rake is a fairly easy adjustment to make provided you have a sail plan. Hang a weight just off the deck from the main halyard. Measure the distance between the halyard and gooseneck.
Note the sailplan does not show the underbody of the boat; it shows the designed float line. Using a square, place one side of the square on the float line and the other on the backside of the mast head. Using dividers, pick off the distance between the side of the square and the gooseneck. Scale it up and you have the designed rake. Adjust accordingly.
Remember, at all angles the rudder is nothing more than a brake.
You have received excellent advice from the other posters. My post may or may not be one element toward reducing weather helm on the First. It is worth checking.