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post #5 of Old 02-01-2012
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Other factors:

a. Sail selection. Did you reef the jib first, or both together?
b. Are the sails blown-out? Has the point of maximum draft moved aft?
c. Trim. All sorts of possibilities.
d. There is a difference between helm feel and helm angle. 2-4 degrees of helm angle generally helps a boat get to weather by providing lift. For this reason (and others) lee helm is always bad; it drags you to leeward. However, feel is also very much about rudder balance;how does the shaft location relate to the COE on the blade? I've had boats with adjustable rake and I would always adjust for a light, finger tip feel. Personal preference.
e. Speed. On many high performance boats the helm goes light as the boat accelerates, if everything is trimmed correctly. This is generally over 10 knots and is a result of increased water flow.
f. Course. Some boats will have strong helm if close-hauled, very little beam reaching, and more broad reaching. Some of this is speed, some of this is COE sail location vs COE foil location (changes when the sails are eased).

So, it is many things, even on one boat.

One problem with heavy helm is what happens if the rudder ventilates in fast running; A boat with helm--either way--will be uncontrollable and will broach fast. Something to think about when going fast deep. If you're pushing hard, aim for reasonable neutral helm.

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