Join Date: Sep 2013
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Rep Power: 0
Dinghy helm issues
I've got some issues with the helm of my small dinghy.
First issue - has anyone found that their rudder lets go when running dead square? Mine likes to do that and it's pretty disconcerting when it's windy, especially with the spinnaker up.
I've had it happen whilst coming into a confined boat harbour dead square (no spinnaker) in 20 knots of wind with idiots in motor launches coming past at full-throttle. Not really an ideal place to have to 'roll steer' the boat to say the least.
I've tried different rudder blades but it just keeps doing it. Any thoughts?
Second issue - upwind the helm is really heavy. Even if I get a 5 degree heel on the boat I'm immediately struggling to steer - often I have to throw the mainsheet at my crew so I can grab the tiller with both hands. The boat doesn't seem to have weather or lee helm, it's just heavy and the second it heels the boat rounds up & I can't stop it. Given I sail on a river where it's really gusty, even the best sailors can't keep their boats dead flat all the time. I really don't believe it should be that heavy but I can't figure out what's going on. I've checked the mast rake & it seems fine (and it doesn't improve or worsen if I change the mast rake) & I've checked that the centreboard & rudder line up (which they do).
We came extremely close to running up the back of a moored yacht recently (15-20 knots) because of this. I was flat hiking but the second the boat got a tiny heel it just went out of control rounding up straight for the yacht. I ended up with both hands hauling on the tiller extension & flat hiking with one foot under the hiking straps & the other foot under the tiller so I could use the strength in my leg as well as my arms to stop us hitting the yacht. It worked but was extremely close. I really shouldn't have to resort to steering with both hands & my foot should I? That just seems pretty ridiculous to me.
I am trying to get stronger but I also don't believe I should have to be a tank to steer a small dinghy. I have no clue what is going on in either case so some thoughts/tips would be much appreciated.
Last edited by black_roses1; 09-14-2013 at 11:44 PM.