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Re: Wind Direction Question from Noob...
The jib car is the block that the line coming from the foresail passes through to redirect toward the cockpit. It's placement will affect the angle at which that line pulls on the foresail. The further forward, the more it pulls down on the sail. The further aft, the more it pulls across. On some boats, this car is adjustable underway, on some it is set once.
As for heavy helm, Faster is referring to heavy weather helm. Meaning the boat wants to turn toward the wind. This is generally good, but the boat sails best with a modest amount of weather helm. Think of your boat essentially pivoting side to side on its keel. Since the main sail is furthest aft, wind pushes the aft away and, therefore, the bow pivots toward the wind. The opposite is generally true for the foresail. When flying both sails, these are trimmed to be in balance with a modest amount of weather helm. Without a foresail, you'll get more 'heavier' weather helm.
Heavy weather helm is inefficient because you have to deflect the rudder more to overcome it, which creates more drag and slows you down. It can also be exhausting over a long period to hold the helm with excess pressure against it.
Edit: I just noticed you are sailing a dinghy, that may not have a foresail, so this could all be academic. In that case, the single sail is generally placed to allow for the balance alone and there is no jib car.
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Last edited by Minnewaska; 09-18-2013 at 06:21 AM.