sailing in circles! please help - SailNet Community

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  #1  
Old 10-14-2002
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sailing in circles! please help

Hi, I am fairly new to the world of sailing and have just recently bought a Hutton 24, a little known boat based on the Dufour 24 hull but with more accomodation. I have taken it out a few times and I have one problem that with my limited sailing experience I am struggling to work out. My boat has a tendency to go in cicrles! Better put whenever I try and tack the tendency is once into the tack for the boat to gain momentum and bear away on the new tack, with the boat almost pointing downwind, or indeed gybing back onto its original tack. During this process any effort to try and correct with the tiller seems hopeless. With a little caution and subtlety on the tiller I am learning to avoid it, however it still seems like something isn''t quite right, I have sailed other boats (J24''s) and haven''t had anything like this problem. I have noticed and the yacht broker I bought the boat through also remarked that the jib is quite large, could this be part of the problem?? I also have a spade rudder and im not sure if this could also be part of the problem, however going downwind, or under power the boat steers like a charm, its only upwind that it likes to do this little dance.
Any suggestions ????
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Old 10-15-2002
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sailing in circles! please help

It sounds like lee helm, a tendency for a boat to fall off to leeward, which can be dangerous. Weather helm, the tendency to round up into the wind, is safer because when the tiller is unattended, the boat will stall out by pointing into the wind. With lee helm, the boat will accelerate as it falls off the wind.

Does your boat have a centerboard? If it does, you may need to lower it fully when going to windward to have more control over the helm. The oversized jib could be contributing to the problem. Can you reduce it by reefing or rolling it up (if a roller furling jib)? If not, try sailing under mainsail alone.

Suggest you speak with the former owner, the boat manufacturer, or someone with the same boat or a Dufour 24 to see what they say, and if possible, get someone with experience with the boat to come out for a sail with you.

Good luck!
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Old 10-15-2002
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sailing in circles! please help

I agree with bmcald that it sounds like lee helm. If that is the problem, you should re-adjust the mast stays so that the mast tilts slightly more aft than at present, and then test-sail the boat to see if the problem has improved. You might have to re-adjust them two or three times, until you get the right amount of weather helm.
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Old 01-26-2003
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sailing in circles! please help

It sonds to me as though you have no boat speed after you have gone head to wind. To help keep your speed up fall off a little befor the tack and get as much speed before the tack as posable. Once you go past head to wind over sheet the main and leave the jib out just a little. Try to drive the boat with a small luff in the jib for a few boat lenghts and then bring it in tight. With out boat speed after the tack the boat will fall off no matter what the ruder position.
hope this helps.
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Old 01-26-2003
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sailing in circles! please help

Ahoy Chall03 ...

Here''s what I see, see if I''m close. The winds are sort of light, around 3 to 6 mph. Your sails are sheeted close,(your main is up right?) things feel stable the boat if let got might want to fall off but you are correcting with rudder, which more less feels normal. You tack, the rudder responds slowly but positively and then after getting through the wind you sheet the jib and find the rudder can no longer hold the course. You''ve lost rudder effectiveness you''ve lost steerage. You''ve lost control. Your boat is now taking you for a ride. No problem happens to all of us from time to time for various reasons. Remember if you can''t steer with the rudder the only thing you have left are the sails.

Quickest solution out is let the jib out immediately and sheet the main this should stop lee helm and increace weather helm, the boat will pick up speed the rudder effectiveness will return and you regain control. Re-trim the sails and sail away on your new course.

The biggest tendency for a new sailor is to over sheet the sails, careful not to over sheet. Let them out ... let them breath If in doubt let them out until they luff then sheet them in until they stop luffing. Anytime the wind changes or you change course the sails will need re-trimmed.
If the wind changes you can also change course and leave the sails where they are. A balanced boat will if allowed change course on its own. Stay loose on the tiller, feel the boat. Not getting zen on you here.

Just a note sailing in light air 5 mph or less isn''t easy, mistakes are exaggerated and things happen slowly. 5 to 10 is a bit better and anyone can sail from 10 to 20.

Your sails are out of balance, the jib has more pressure on it than the main. Like feathers on an arrow the jib is turning you down wind especially after the tack. This is called lee helm. What you need is a better balance to produce a nuetral helm or a little weather helm which gives the boat the tendency to turn into the wind.

Try this or have you noticed? If the main is sheeted in and the jib is out the boat will tend to turn up wind or head up.

And if the jib is in and the main is out the boat will fall off or turn away from the wind.

Weather helm is the boats tendency to head up, lee helm is the boats tendency to fall off. Heading up depowers or puts on the brakes and falling off powers up the boat or puts on the gas.

Work with sail trim and sail balance and you''ll find things will settle down and behave the way you like.

There is a slight possibility your rigging is out of adjustment which could aggravate this situation and older tired sails make things a little hard at times too but you can cross that bridge when you come to it.

I highly recommend Sail & Rig Tuning by Ivan Dedekam. If I were to only have one book on sail trim and tuning this would be it.

Fair winds Eric Jon

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Old 02-15-2003
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sailing in circles! please help

Delaying the sheeting in of the jib after the tack, until the boat as started off on the new tack and is beginning to round up again can be a temporary solution...
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Old 07-22-2003
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sailing in circles! please help

Chall03

I did search on Hutton24 and came up with your very old message.

I would appreciate you contacting me at jones_ak@optusnet.com.au to discuss the Hutton24.

Cheers

Andrew
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