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post #9 of Old 07-11-2011
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I totally understand that you are not interested in racing, but if you intend to sail at all, then you should care about sail shape. It's like saying "I'm interested in driving a car, but I'm not interested in ever changing the oil" and then complaining when the engine fails on you.

Nevermind the condition or age of your sails. As was said previously, if you have a masthead rig, and you're sailing on main only, the "center of effort" (where the wind is pushing against) is aft. CoE aft, creates bad weather helm, and reduces your ability to point. If you only want to use one sail, use the jib alone.

But really, a reefed main and a small jib in stronger breezes will give you the best helm balance and control. Then comes all of that fine-tuning stuff like tugging on the corners of the sails to flatten them or change their shape.

Hey, for what it's worth, I didn't know this a year ago. I went out in a stiff breeze, with main only any my weather helm was so bad that the boat just kept auto-tacking on me until I was nearly blown ashore.

1981 Tartan 33 #168
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