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jrwright 05-23-2004 06:27 PM

rounding leeward
Length overall: 25''0"
Waterline: 21'' 5"
Beam: 8''
Weight: 3750
Ballast: 1250
Draft (Deep keel): 4'' 7"

I was out on the water sat 3 miles out when the wind changed from about about 10knts no white caps to about 18 to 20 with a few large gusts and lots of white caps and swells.

I was on a close reach tack but I was not making the headway I needed to get back to the marina. I tried to head up but boat would round to lee. The boat wanted to sail on a beam reach or broad reach, but this was the wrong way. I tried to come about but had a hard time getting the bow of the boat through the eye of the wind. Even when sailing on a beam reach I had to keep the tiller hard to the lee side.

I was not healing and reefing gave alittle more control but did not change the pushing to starboard (lee helm).

Was my main under powered and jib(100%) overpowered.

I finaly had to motor up wind to get home because tacking would have taken all night to get a mile.

Where did I go wrong. I have been in the position where boats round up when healing but I was to healing (much) and the boat was pushing to lee.


Silmaril 05-23-2004 06:49 PM

rounding leeward
You pretty much summed it up when you stated that you were underpowered on your main and over powered on your jib! Lee helm is caused when there is greater force pushing the bow down then there is force pushing the bow up.

If you think of it as a balancing act, and the mast/keel as your balance point, when you have Weather Helm, your main is forcing your bow up into the wind, you would then try to de-power the main, flattening reef, drop the traveler to leward, etc. When you have a balanced set of forces, you will have little or no weather helm.

When you have Lee Helm, your jib is overpowering your balance, and the main is not generating enough force to counter it. You need to then power up the main, get the sail fuller, move traveler to weather, etc.

In your case you were probably not interested in powering ANYTHING up due to conditions, and maybe should have thought about dousing the jib and sailing under main alone. You would get a good deal of Weather Helm, but that is preferable to Lee Helm in almost any conditions.

You may also want to look at your rig tune. As the wind built, you may have had excessive headstay sag or your mast may have begun to fall off more than is desireable to leward, also causes of Lee Helm, as the shift of your center of effort moves to leward.

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