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Old 08-11-2006
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Can't come about/rudder extension?

Hi, folks. I have a beautiful whitehull sailing ketch 19.5 feet with a steel centerboard. It does not come about worth a tinker's damn. If I put a metal extension on the rudder will this help? would a bow sprite help too? William Taylor, Gloucester, Ma.
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Old 08-11-2006
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Are you sure you're carrying enough momentum when you try to come about?
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Old 08-11-2006
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A mizzen, main & headsail, all on a 19.5 ft boat ?? It dosen't sound like she's underpowered. But could it be unbalanced, with too much sail aft?

Perhaps extending the bowsprit would help, but providing more info on the boat could offer more clues to the problem.
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Old 08-11-2006
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How far down is the centerboard? The first time I sailed my V-21, the keel winch was frozen and I couldn't drop the keel. She would turn up wind at all. Now the keel drops, it isn't a problem.
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Old 08-11-2006
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The other problem could be that your sails and centerboard setup aren't properly balanced. That can often cause the boat to not come about properly. The Center of Effort (COE—from the sails) and the Center of Lateral Resistance (CLR from the centerboard/keel and rudder) should be relatively close to one another.

Does your boat have significant weather or lee helm when you're sailing it?? or is the helm relatively neutral?
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Thank you all. I changed the centerboard from one that slid down on both ends to a single forward pin and I am not sure I let it down enough. I do have enough momentum and the mizzen is a tiny bit of fluff. I get almost about but end up in a luff. I think I will put on a small bowsprit and see if that helps. The easy cure is a rudder extension if it works. I once saw a photograph of a rudder that had a piece that flipped out when you put the tiller hard over. It was on an English boat and I have never seen it used in this country and don't know what it is called but it really turned a boat.
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You may also have to ease the mainsheet a bit to get the boat to come about.
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Old 08-11-2006
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OK, maybe your comment on your centerboard is a clue. If you've recently made changes to the CB, did your problem appear before the change? Is that why you changed the CB in the first place? Or did the problem appear right after you made the change? I'd make the CB the focus of my efforts until I'm absolutely certain the problem lies elsewhere. The centerboard/daggerboard is the pivot for any turning you do. Without that pivot, you will easily lose way when you come about.

Adding headsails and bowsprits may help, but you should be looking for the root of the problem instead of masking it over.
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Thanks. It seems to be worse after changing the centerboard. I don't want to lower it too much as the pivot point is only about three inches up from the bottom of the skeg and I am afraid of twisting it off.
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From your description of the change to your centerboard, did you change the shape of it at all?

If it was previously sliding down forward and aft, and is now pivoting from a forward pin, then the center of the area exposed may have moved aft, shifting the Center of Lateral Resistance aft, which should make it easier to tack, not harder...but if you've made other modifications to the centerboard design, you may have upset the sail vs. water balance of the boat.
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Telstar 28
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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.

—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)

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