Join Date: Sep 2008
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Rep Power: 0
The weather helm is a function of the steeply raked rudder post and old-style rudder shape. There are several quick things you can do to help, and a few more major ones.
Reef/ease/flatten the main before the jib. When it's time to reef, I find the boat behaves much better with a reefed main and full jib than the other way around. I have a furling jib so it's easier to just roll up some of the jib but it usually results in more helm.
If it's windy enough to just use one sail, DON'T try sailing with just the main! The boat won't do it. It will, however, sail just fine with the jib only. You won't point terribly well but it can make for a pleasant sail. Try it on a day when it's not too gnarly to see how the boat does. You'll point better the windier it is, if the wind drops to a speed where you need the main, you'll know because you won't be able to sail upwind at all.
More major things:
Shorten the foot of the mainsail...essentially does what putting a reef in does, as far as moving the center of effort further forward. The standard boat has a very long boom as it is (the foot of my main is 11')
Bowsprit...my boat has a 2' fixed bowsprit to move the jib tack forward. Not exactly an overnight project but certainly not beyond the abilities of a good do-it-yourselfer. I can send you pics of mine if you want. I have not sailed a Marlin without a bowsprit so I can't tell you exactly how much of a difference it makes. I do still have a lot of helm sometimes even with the sprit but never so much that the rudder stalls or the boat rounds up. I just heel a lot and slow down if I don't have the boat trimmed properly with the sails.
I suppose the ultimate fix would be to build a new rudder with a more vertical rudder post and more modern shape, but that would be a serious project. I'd love to see what difference it made, though!