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post #1 of 6 Old 02-17-2013 Thread Starter
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Roberts 38 pointing

I have an Offshore 38 cutter that I have only sailed a couple of times and without the staysail. It had a strong weather helm when the wind blew from 60 degrees off the bow, but won't point unless the the rudder in cranked all the way to keep the bow up. But then the boat loses speed and blows off.

The man who built and sailed it for years says the staysail balances it well, and I can see that that would compensate for the weather helm, but I can't easily see that a staysail would help it point.

Does anyone know why a staysail might help it point? Or have any other ideas about sailing into the wind with Roberts Offshore 38 cutter? Thanks.
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post #2 of 6 Old 02-17-2013
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Re: Roberts 38 pointing

Sounds like either the mast is raked/positioned too far aft, or the main drastically oversheeted, or there may be other more fundamental balance issues with that hull and rig. Most of these are homebuilt projects... did you build it? Do you know it was built to spec?

Other issues could include headsail sheeting track layout/position, sail trim issues themselves, etc. You need to find an experienced sailor to take for a ride and see if there are any easily addressed issues at play.

Ron

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post #3 of 6 Old 02-17-2013 Thread Starter
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Re: Roberts 38 pointing

The mast has almost no rake. It is most likely postioned to the Roberts specs. (I didnot build it, but I trust the builder to have slocely followed the drafts.) I don't know how old the sails are. We probably had it sheeted fairly tightly. The boat has a reputation of being bad to weather and fast downwind, but she really doesn't point well. We haven't played with it enough to adjust all the tracks. We didn't use the staysail.

Is it possible that a staysail will help bring the bow up to the wind?
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post #4 of 6 Old 02-17-2013
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Re: Roberts 38 pointing

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Originally Posted by Chas. View Post
I have an Offshore 38 cutter that I have only sailed a couple of times and without the staysail. It had a strong weather helm when the wind blew from 60 degrees off the bow, but won't point unless the the rudder in cranked all the way to keep the bow up. But then the boat loses speed and blows off.

The man who built and sailed it for years says the staysail balances it well, and I can see that that would compensate for the weather helm, but I can't easily see that a staysail would help it point.

Does anyone know why a staysail might help it point? Or have any other ideas about sailing into the wind with Roberts Offshore 38 cutter? Thanks.

I'm not entirely clear on the behavior of the boat. You say it has "strong weather helm" which means that it wants to round up to weather, and then you say you have to "crank the rudder all the way to keep the bow up" which would indicate that the boat has severe LEE helm not weather helm.

Lee helm occurs when the sail plan center of effort is too far forward of the keel, in which case more headsail is going to make it worse. Weather helm is the opposite; too much power aft making her round up, in which case more headsail might help.

Any time you have to use more than a few degrees of helm just to keep a boat going straight you have a poorly balanced sailplan. If you have to "crank" the helm over to keep it going straight you have a severe imbalance. As Faster suggests, it is likely that your mast rake is wrong. If the problem has always been there as the PO implies with his tips, then you could be dealing with an incorrectly positioned mast.

You need to clarify whether you have weather helm or lee helm, and what sails you are flying when you have the problem.

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post #5 of 6 Old 02-18-2013 Thread Starter
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Re: Roberts 38 pointing

The boat rounded uncontrollably once for certain when I had a full 90% jib up and a full medium loose main. It was nothing to slack the main and let her round out again, but it was what I call a weather-helm-like motion. I assume that was a result of a large main and having no staysail up.

On the other (contradictory) hand, she won’t point. She’s known to be slow to windward and to not point well, but she does seem to have a significant lee helm when pointing. Another way of saying it may be that, as we try to point, we keep bringing in the sails. And eventually, we are turning the rudder some trying to get the bow a little higher, and bring in the sails more, and when most boats would respond and point higher, this boat requires more rudder to keep her bow in.

The sails never rattle or luff. The builder, who “raced” her for years said that the boat was well-balanced with the staysail up.

I need to replace the running rigging so I can’t sail her out now to see all she can do and what sails she likes, but I was just wondering how a stay sail might make her point better.
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post #6 of 6 Old 02-18-2013
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Re: Roberts 38 pointing

Chas, every boat is different, but here are a few things I've learned from my cutter. In light airs I will have a full main, 110% genoa and the staysail up in any wind on the beam or forward of the beam. As the wind picks up I start to feel a bit of weather helm. I always start reducing sail starting with the main and will go to a second reef on the main before I start to reduce any headsail. I find the staysail helps to balance the boat a bit, but its main function is to provide more drive. You haven't mentioned in your post what wind speed you were sailing in, but it may be a simple case of being overcanvassed for the wind speed. Try putting a first reef in the main next time and see if it balances the helm better.

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