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  #11  
Old 03-13-2013
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Re: Weather helm question

Quote:
Originally Posted by RichH View Post
With the mainsail fully eased, and a jib 'drawing' it is quite possible to develop what can be 'felt' as 'weather helm' under the following conditions relating to the jib --- jib 'shape'.

1. if the forestay is slack, the jib will develop a hooked-up leech and deeper draft toward the leech. .... a luffing or fully eased main 'can' supply the opposing or additive balancing force.
2. if the jib is 'overtrimmed' ... such as by a gorilla on the jib lead winch that causes the forestay to stretch/sag due to undue sheeting force and which results in a severely 'hooked up to weather' leech. --- this will/can induce the boat to 'skid' to leeward and the side pressure of the skid impacting on the side of the rudder can be erroneously 'felt' as weather helm .... only way to tell the difference is to look to see if the wake/turbulence from keel/CB/rudder is coming 'straight back' off the stern, if the wake is at a noticeable angle, you're probably skidding off to the lee. The overtrimmed portion = yellow; the unattached/flogging = pink .... in the below pic.
3. Jib foot too close to the boats center line and with the head of the sail 'tripped' with unattached flow and the head of the sail flogging .... usually happens if you forget to move the jib's fairlead car back FORWARD when at less than 'beating' and the jib becomes grossly 'over-twisted'. The foot of the jib is 'backwinding', the head is flogging, and only a small narrow mid-panel section is 'drawing' correctly.



The only way to keep this 'all straightened out' is to use a FULL set of tell tales .... and watch the angle of the stern's turbulence wake.

All the relationships between CE and CLR go out the window when you develop undue 'dynamic' forces caused by 'cross control' or skids, etc. The CE vs. CLR is great ... for 'heaving to'; but, can be unduly influenced by 'developed dynamic' forces, especially in 'cross-controlled' situations.
That almost looks like a dangerous case of lee helm. The main looks like it has dumped most of its air and the rudder is mostly out of the water at that extreme angle of heel. She should be heading up all by herself and is not. North Sails has a good sail trim page.
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  #12  
Old 03-13-2013
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Re: Weather helm question

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Originally Posted by smurphny View Post
That almost looks like a dangerous case of lee helm. The main looks like it has dumped most of its air and the rudder is mostly out of the water at that extreme angle of heel. She should be heading up all by herself and is not. North Sails has a good sail trim page.
Look at the tiller position in that pic .... a wee bit to windward but quite near centerline - balanced helm!!!!! Also, look to see that he's dragging his boom in the water !!!!!
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Old 03-13-2013
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Re: Weather helm question

I'm new to this so here's a chance for me to learn. I thought that boats could be over-powered by the wind if you had too much sail up. The stanchions get near the water, the LWL is now shortened, and there is so much weather helm the rudder can no longer control the boat. This generally requires a heave to and reefing in the sails.

I was in a Bavaria 44 today with sustained winds of 15+ and gusts to 20-25. With full sails up inc a jib I was unable to steer the boat once pointing into the wind and stalling. Reefing in the sails fixed the problem for awhile until the wind increased again requiring more reefing.

So what else could I have done and are there really mast tweeks yade that would have eliminated the problem? The standing rigging was surveyed a few months ago.
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Old 03-13-2013
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Re: Weather helm question

Rich,

With so much superior knowledge up here, I should not have even attempted the comment that I made above. Although I will stand by my prior statement that zero weather helm might be unsafe, if only because any minor perturbation to sail trim could put you in a situation of lee helm in dangerous conditions. If that statement is naive or overly cautious, feel free to correct me.

With respect to this statement that you made, I am going to sound very naive, but I need to ask:
Quote:
Originally Posted by RichH View Post
Look at the tiller position in that pic .... a wee bit to windward but quite near centerline - balanced helm!!!!!
...are you serious that the helm is appropriately balanced, or are you cracking a joke but forgot an appropriate emoticon? Because although the tiller is close to centerline, it certainly does not look like a balanced helm. And lifting your rudder out of the water is never a good thing, right? And if you lose rudder control and the boat still won't round up, I'd think that you're in for a world of hurt, right?
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  #15  
Old 03-14-2013
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Re: Weather helm question

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Originally Posted by TakeFive View Post

...are you serious that the helm is appropriately balanced, you're in for a world of hurt, right?
Well first of all, this guy in that pic is dragging his boom and clew section through the water, so he's pinned from 'rounding up' and his only 'out' from 'anything' is to bear off and go down ... and then try to keep the boat directly 'under' the mast when he drastically accelerates. :-o

Most times and no matter how far a boat is heeled over (and not skidding off to the lee) if the helm can be held 'easily' to no more than 2-3° off of the centerline to control a straight course; there in no weather helm nor lee helm - perfect !!!!! The BIG planing hull sailboats do this all the time and as a matter of course - ILYA Scows, the Ozzie skiffs, ... as well as most 'symmetric hulled' boats, etc. You can sail such boats over onto their beam ends --- and usually never feel any change in the rudder pressure ... all depending if the boat and sail 'shaping' and sail trim are set up well !!!!!!!

First, The question of rudder ventilation is important, especially on rudder systems that aren't flooded or totally submerged - such as stern hung rudders. Such a rudder with its top out of the water and held turned at wide angles against the apparent oncoming flow can easily 'ventilate'; if not held over beyond those few degrees usually wont ventilate. Have a LOT of adverse helm on such a rudder ... and expect a 'pirouette' when the rudder loses 'bite'.
Obviously in those conditions such a boat should be steered by sail shape as well as by trim (ie. slightly hooking up the leech by aggressive mainsheet pressure, or unloading the mainsheet to 'trip' the leech a bit, etc. etc. etc.) so as to get CORRECT rudder/helm pressure. What I mean by correct helm pressure is when I completely let go of the helm the boat, the boat VERY SLOWLY heads up ... and you usually get that when the boat needs no more than 2-3° of rudder offset to hold a dead straight course when on a hard beat.
FWIW - On the newer maxi-boats, etc. its good to see the acceptance of twin submerged rudders ... the big ILYA scows and 'skimming dish' hulls have been doing such for almost 120 years to prevent ventilation. Such however doesnt totally prevent rudder ventilation, just lowers the possibility, .... so does not having large or undue amounts of weather or lee helm which require dragging the rudder through the water sideways to keep a course !!!!!!!

Second. If the mast is properly raked, and the sails are correctly raised, most weather or lee helm problems will be sail SHAPE problems --- most times weather helm is because the position of where the maximum draft occurs is all WRONG - too far aft in the sail; or, the leeches are hooked up to weather or are tripped, etc. .... all sail SHAPE problems that lead to dynamic imbalance ... and should be corrected long before you get down to 'trimming' errors. You change the Position of Max. draft - POMD, fore or aft in a sail by adjusting halyard or cunningham tension ... doing so will change the DYNAMIC CE of the sails.
Additionally, Skidding to leeward problems are usually rig tension (backstay tension) error problems - a skid can 'feel' exactly like a weather helm problem; and, only your stern turbulence wake can tell you the difference between the two.

As far that pic ... that tiller is held certainly along near the centerline by just a very few degrees offset (not much danger of the rudder ventilating, .... yet) which kind of indicates not much in 'helm problems'. The helmsman 'looks comfortable' (but, he really should be using his FINGERTIPS on that tiller instead of his whole hand - Id feel better and know more about his adverse 'helm pressure' if he did have any). Other than being pinned from turning into the wind by that dragging mainsail boom, and forgot to move the fairlead car forward for the jib when he went onto a reach, Id say he's doing a good job for being overcanvassed for the current wind speed .... and as from what I can see as his 'helm balance'.

I think to better clarify 'my' approach to reefing and 'weather helm' is I usually dont care how far the boat goes over ... as long as I dont develop adverse helm pressure in doing so. If I do develop adverse pressure then Im first going to look at the stern wake to look to see if its a skid; and if not, then secondly look for the usual sail SHAPE error thats causing weather helm (and its usually mainsail halyard/cunningham tension OR jib halyard tension or a fairlead error ... or forestay/backstay tension if Im skidding) .... I do prefer to sail symmetric hull forms; my 'sport boats' are ILYA Scows and my crab-crusher is a "Perry boat" ... and they all 'love' to be sailed over on their 'ears'.

I most humbly think that 'the bulk' of all the weather helm & Lee helm problems is simply because 'sailing books', etc. etc. usually totally avoid or entirely omit how to SHAPE a sail to obtain the best DYNAMIC combined CE vs. CLR of a boat. That, plus the usage of 'furlers', especially in-mast and in-boom furlers ... where just about all you can do is make those white triangular things 'bigger or smaller' and which leave one with almost zilch possibility of shape control.

hope this helps. Sorry for being so long-winded.
lancelot9898 and luck66 like this.

Last edited by RichH; 03-14-2013 at 02:07 AM.
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  #16  
Old 03-14-2013
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Re: Weather helm question

Quote:
Originally Posted by RichH View Post
Look at the tiller position in that pic .... a wee bit to windward but quite near centerline - balanced helm!!!!! Also, look to see that he's dragging his boom in the water !!!!!
Yes, I did notice that but thought the rudder was probably being used as just something to hold onto at that point, doing essentially nothing significant. The fact that the boom is being buried probably supports what you and I are saying: he's being slipped leeward, probably mostly because the boat is past the point of rounding up, pushed mostly by that blown jib which appears uncontrollable and useless at that point. The guys look as if they are at the point of aw $%^T, just holding on.
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Old 03-14-2013
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Re: Weather helm question

Quote:
Originally Posted by jobberone View Post
I'm new to this so here's a chance for me to learn. I thought that boats could be over-powered by the wind if you had too much sail up. The stanchions get near the water, the LWL is now shortened, and there is so much weather helm the rudder can no longer control the boat. This generally requires a heave to and reefing in the sails.

I was in a Bavaria 44 today with sustained winds of 15+ and gusts to 20-25. With full sails up inc a jib I was unable to steer the boat once pointing into the wind and stalling. Reefing in the sails fixed the problem for awhile until the wind increased again requiring more reefing.

So what else could I have done and are there really mast tweeks yade that would have eliminated the problem? The standing rigging was surveyed a few months ago.
With no disrespect intended, controlling some boats to not increase weather helm at greater heel angles is perhaps a long process based on the continual accumulation of more experience and expertise. Being 'new' your learning curve will be quite high, especially on a 'cranky' boat that develops more helm as its 'goes over'. The natural tendency for 'newbies' is to luff up during overwhelming wind conditions ... losing all sail flow and resulting in shaking and fluttering ... and slowing down of the boat. Just continue your 'learning curve' by taking this all one-step at a time, such as using a full set of tell tales on the sails, get lots of 'sail trim', etc. books and articles, etc.
To rapidly accelerate the learning curve, consider to get yourself an inexpensive and disposable small lightweight and 'fast acting' sloop rigged sailing dinghy to 'practice' on. Most 'pilots' usually dont 'start' by flying a 747 but rather begin in small aircraft because of their 'rapid response', etc. Novice and beginning skiers dont learn much by jumping off of cliffs, they usually start on the 'bunny hill'. And, no matter the boat size, keep 'testing' your rapidly increasing expertise in higher and higher wind ranges until you master and become 'comfortable' ... keep going out in increasingly 'uncomfortable' conditions until you do become comfortable and do master the hundreds of options that lead to safety & control, etc. .... until you become supremely confident in yourself.
Normally, if you dont do such a forced learning program, youll possibly wind up with a 'floating dockside condominium' that rarely goes out even in 'moderate conditions'.

A good place to start, and which applies to all sailboats would be very simple and straight forward & elemental 'entry level' how-to book such as: Sail Trim Chart and Sail Trim Guide
.... just remember that sailing is a continual skill learning process that will never end.

Welcome to the 'addiction' and do expect that this addiction will deepen as you progress along that learning curve, albeit somewhat of a high learning curve at first.
Read all you possibly can, then DO, and then read again. Mastery comes from 'doing'. ;-)
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Old 03-17-2013
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Re: Weather helm question

Quote:
Originally Posted by RichH View Post
With no disrespect intended, controlling some boats to not increase weather helm at greater heel angles is perhaps a long process based on the continual accumulation of more experience and expertise. Being 'new' your learning curve will be quite high, especially on a 'cranky' boat that develops more helm as its 'goes over'. The natural tendency for 'newbies' is to luff up during overwhelming wind conditions ... losing all sail flow and resulting in shaking and fluttering ... and slowing down of the boat. Just continue your 'learning curve' by taking this all one-step at a time, such as using a full set of tell tales on the sails, get lots of 'sail trim', etc. books and articles, etc.
To rapidly accelerate the learning curve, consider to get yourself an inexpensive and disposable small lightweight and 'fast acting' sloop rigged sailing dinghy to 'practice' on. Most 'pilots' usually dont 'start' by flying a 747 but rather begin in small aircraft because of their 'rapid response', etc. Novice and beginning skiers dont learn much by jumping off of cliffs, they usually start on the 'bunny hill'. And, no matter the boat size, keep 'testing' your rapidly increasing expertise in higher and higher wind ranges until you master and become 'comfortable' ... keep going out in increasingly 'uncomfortable' conditions until you do become comfortable and do master the hundreds of options that lead to safety & control, etc. .... until you become supremely confident in yourself.
Normally, if you dont do such a forced learning program, youll possibly wind up with a 'floating dockside condominium' that rarely goes out even in 'moderate conditions'.

A good place to start, and which applies to all sailboats would be very simple and straight forward & elemental 'entry level' how-to book such as: Sail Trim Chart and Sail Trim Guide
.... just remember that sailing is a continual skill learning process that will never end.

Welcome to the 'addiction' and do expect that this addiction will deepen as you progress along that learning curve, albeit somewhat of a high learning curve at first.
Read all you possibly can, then DO, and then read again. Mastery comes from 'doing'. ;-)

Thanks for the response. I have no problem with saying I'm not a sailor yet. I'll try to follow your advice. Right now I need time on the water. Lots of it.
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Old 03-17-2013
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Re: Weather helm question

Quote:
Originally Posted by RichH View Post
With no disrespect intended, controlling some boats to not increase weather helm at greater heel angles is perhaps a long process based on the continual accumulation of more experience and expertise. Being 'new' your learning curve will be quite high, especially on a 'cranky' boat that develops more helm as its 'goes over'. The natural tendency for 'newbies' is to luff up during overwhelming wind conditions ... losing all sail flow and resulting in shaking and fluttering ... and slowing down of the boat. Just continue your 'learning curve' by taking this all one-step at a time, such as using a full set of tell tales on the sails, get lots of 'sail trim', etc. books and articles, etc.
To rapidly accelerate the learning curve, consider to get yourself an inexpensive and disposable small lightweight and 'fast acting' sloop rigged sailing dinghy to 'practice' on. Most 'pilots' usually dont 'start' by flying a 747 but rather begin in small aircraft because of their 'rapid response', etc. Novice and beginning skiers dont learn much by jumping off of cliffs, they usually start on the 'bunny hill'. And, no matter the boat size, keep 'testing' your rapidly increasing expertise in higher and higher wind ranges until you master and become 'comfortable' ... keep going out in increasingly 'uncomfortable' conditions until you do become comfortable and do master the hundreds of options that lead to safety & control, etc. .... until you become supremely confident in yourself.
Normally, if you dont do such a forced learning program, youll possibly wind up with a 'floating dockside condominium' that rarely goes out even in 'moderate conditions'.

A good place to start, and which applies to all sailboats would be very simple and straight forward & elemental 'entry level' how-to book such as: Sail Trim Chart and Sail Trim Guide
.... just remember that sailing is a continual skill learning process that will never end.

Welcome to the 'addiction' and do expect that this addiction will deepen as you progress along that learning curve, albeit somewhat of a high learning curve at first.
Read all you possibly can, then DO, and then read again. Mastery comes from 'doing'. ;-)
Good advice. If you can get into something like a Bluejay or a Lightning...something with a headsail and a real centerboard/keel, it will be very instructive as to how any larger boat will handle. Sailing a boat like these in an area protected from large waves but in winds 20-30 knots will really make you aware of the things to do and not to do, such as ripping the gooseneck right off in an unintentional jibe. Don't ask me how I know.:-)
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Old 03-17-2013
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Re: Weather helm question

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Originally Posted by smurphny View Post
Good advice. If you can get into something like a Bluejay or a Lightning...something with a headsail and a real centerboard/keel, it will be very instructive as to how any larger boat will handle. Sailing a boat like these in an area protected from large waves but in winds 20-30 knots will really make you aware of the things to do and not to do, such as ripping the gooseneck right off in an unintentional jibe. Don't ask me how I know.:-)

LOL. Well I've not done that yet but I've come to understand why you jib slowly. :O

We're looking at purchasing a 38-40 foot cat vs a 40-44 foot monohull. I'm leaning towards the latter and looking at some IPs. I like the livability of the cat and the sailing of the mono.

We did discover the Admiral does not get seasick easily and she loves to sail. In fact she is probably going to be a better sailor than I am. So I have a partner. She also happens to be the greatest wife a man could ask for.
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